Working for an ethical, secular society: Atheist Ireland’s plans for next year

by Michael Nugent on October 21, 2012

Following our 2012 Annual General Meeting yesterday, these are the mission, aims, officers, committee members, and political and other priorities for Atheist Ireland for the next year:

Contents

  1. Mission Statement and Aims
  2. Officers and Committee
  3. Major Political Priorities
  4. Policy on Ethical Issues
  5. Making Atheist Ireland Inclusive
  6. Women in Secularism Conference
  7. Good Without Gods Initiative
  8. Organizational Priorities
  9. Prepare for our Fifth Anniversary
  10. Strategy Workshop 10 November

1. Mission Statement and Aims

  • The following are the first three lines of our constitution:
  • Mission statement: Atheist Ireland aims to build a rational, ethical and secular society free from superstition and supernaturalism.
  • Aim 1: to promote atheism and reason over supernaturalism and superstition.
  • Aim 2: to promote an ethical and secular Ireland where the state does not support or fund or give special treatment to any religion.

2. Officers and Committee

  • Chairperson – Michael Nugent
  • Secretary – Helen O’Shea
  • Finance Officer – Steven Duggan
  • Regional Officer – Derek Walsh
  • Education Officer – Jane Donnelly
  • Peter Burke (Good without Gods)
  • Leonie Hilliard (Women in Secularism)
  • Martijn Leenheer (Education)
  • Vivienne Trulock (Good without Gods)
  • More members to be co-opted on 10 November
  • Dublin Rep – Harry Guinness
  • Cork Rep – Joe O’Regan

3. Major Political Priorities

  • Promote the Dublin Declaration on Secularism
  • Promote the proposal Five Steps to a Secular State
  • Continue our dialogue with Irish Government
  • Start dialogue with local Councils
  • Promote a secular Irish Constitution
  • Lobby the new Constitutional Convention
  • Continue our campaign for secular education
  • Start dialogue with Educate Together
  • Start a campaign for secular health care
  • Lobby on religion question in census
  • Continue our dialogue with EU, UN, OSCE etc
  • Combat international blasphemy laws
  • Be active in Atheist Alliance International

4. Policy on Ethical Issues

  • Promote our policies for an ethical secular Ireland in a positive way.
  • Highlight incidents where religions are behaving unethically.
  • Promote specific ethical positions based on the following principles: that society should address ethical issues based on human rights and compassion, and applying reason to empirical evidence, and not on religious doctrines; and that individual ethical decisions should where possible be made on the basis of personal autonomy and individual conscience, while not infringing on the rights of others.
  • Respect that individual members are not required to agree with or support each policy position we take.
  • Support and work with other civil groups who are actively seeking ethical changes in society.
  • Promote discussion of the draft manifesto to promote ethical atheism published by Michael Nugent.

5. Making Atheist Ireland Inclusive

  • Be inclusive, caring and supportive of people of all races, genders, sexualities and abilities
  • Include people of diverse backgrounds on our organizing committees and event panels
  • In particular, aim for a reasonable gender balance in our activities
  • Host family-friendly events including museum visits, outdoor activities and brunches
  • Host our events in venues suitable for wheelchair users
  • Host our events in ways that accommodate people with other disabilities
  • Make our website as usable as possible for people with disabilities
  • Develop policies to help people to feel safe and enjoy themselves at our activities
  • Support the anti-harassment policy of Atheist Alliance International

6. Women in Secularism Conference

  • Organize an international Women in Secularism conference in Dublin
  • Invite speakers from Ireland, elsewhere in Europe, and other Continents
  • The theme of the conference is Empowering Women Through Secularism
  • Start promoting theme on UNSECO Philosophy Day November15
  • Support the CFI Women in Secularism Conference in Washington

7. Good Without Gods Initiative

  • Do good for community without religious influence
  • Raise money for Kiva and secular charities
  • Compile list of secular-safe charities to support
  • Support and promote charitable activities by members
  • Respond to requests for help where we can provide it
  • Visit people in institutions without preaching
  • Find out guidelines and vetting for visiting people
  • Share or donate secular books and DVDs etc

8. Organizational Priorities

  • Increase our active paid-up membership
  • Promote active membership among our online supporters
  • Contact lapsed members to find out why they left
  • Reduce or remove membership fees for students
  • Offer discounts for automatic fee renewal
  • Examine option of life membership
  • Promote our activities on other web forums
  • Expand our local groups in Dublin and Cork
  • Establish other local groups around the country
  • Local groups will lobby, monitor media and hold events
  • Create visible social alternatives in local areas
  • Host local meetings to set up local committees
  • Put in place operational budget for local groups
  • Arrange speakers for local groups
  • Enable other groups to affiliate to Atheist Ireland
  • Build on success of Secular Sunday newsletter
  • Consolidate and improve our online presence
  • Have same website design across all of our domains
  • Update back-end of website to be more functional
  • Put in place budget to do this
  • Promote and protect our name and logo

9. Prepare for our Fifth Anniversary

  • Atheist Ireland will be five years old in November 2013
  • Host a high-profile fundraiser to celebrate first five years
  • Review our constitution, structure etc before then

10. Strategy Workshop Sat 10 November

  • Host strategy workshop on Saturday 10 November
  • Examine how best to do all of the above in practice
  • Assign responsibility for specific activities
  • Co-opt new members to committee
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