Lessons from the marriage equality referendum and five steps to peaceful secularism

by Michael Nugent on May 27, 2015

This is my talk to the IBKA International Atheist Conference in Cologne, Germany, last Sunday, the day after the Irish marriage equality referendum win was announced.

While I would have preferred to be in Ireland for the celebrations, it was invigorating to see the impact of the result on an international audience who had mostly seen Ireland as a purely Catholic country.

The result vindicates the argument that Atheist Ireland has made for years: that Ireland is no longer a Catholic country, but a pluralist country with Catholic laws, and that our task now is to get the politicians to catch up with the people.

Extract: Lessons from the marriage equality referendum

Full talk: five steps to peaceful secularism

The five steps that I propose we follow for peaceful secularism are:

1. Stand up to violence
2. Seek respectful dialogue
3. Start with human rights
4. Be proactive in politics
5. Establish secular schools

You can read the text of the talk here.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nialler May 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm

I see from a blo that a certain other blogger seems to have been present.

Did any rapprochement, discussion or likewise occur?

Were there talks about talks?

I’m not being entirely facetious here. Your inclusion on comments about respectful dialogue precisely echo my own feelings, but are they and the comments regarding the GFA not also applicable in the case of your conflict with that other blogger?

I know that you have made every effort – don’t get me wrong.

IF SF and the UUP and the other parties could all talk – despite all fiercely maintaining that they never would – it should be possible that two parties can talk. After all, in your case you made efforts to do so, even if now that offer is off the table.

None of this is to detract from the valuable work you do in representing secularism at conferences such as this. I guess it’s largely a sidenote.

2 Ewan Duffy May 27, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Michael,

With even the diplomat of the RC Church in Ireland (Diarmuid Martin) using words like ‘retreating into the trenches’ to describe their response to last Friday’s vote, is it not going to be a long and dirty war?

3 Saurs May 30, 2015 at 3:29 am

Ever gon’ answer Ashley Miller, Mick?

Where’d all your commenters go?

4 Carrie May 30, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I expect that Michael will answer Ashley Miller in due course, but as I understand it he has important things going on at the moment. In a short while Atheist Ireland (including Michael) is briefing “the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights before it questions the Irish State, and giving the Committee real-time analysis of the answers that the Irish State gives to its questions.”

As for the commenters, I for one am watching with delight as the hard work of Irish activists (including AI and of course Michael) pays off, and have nothing other than congratulations to offer.

5 Saurs May 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

Carrie, are these speculations, or can you point out where Mick has said or written any of this? For as long as I’ve read here, he’s been occupied by many other projects apart from regular blawgging, so your remarks don’t make sense to me.

Congratulations expressed here are normally explicit and require several paragraphs at a minimum. Again, I’m wondering where all those talkative people have gone to, and why aren’t they interested in all of Mick’s recent good works serving the secular community.

6 Carrie May 31, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Saurs, my apologies for not making sense. I do the best that I can with the minimal language skills that I have. Here are links which I hope will make things clearer:

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/04/20/response-ashley-miller-open-letter/

I’m not sure exactly when I will be able to respond, because we are in the middle of a very busy time in our work with Atheist Ireland, and because I am not yet sure what my response will include, and because I will have to articulate it in words that some people (not you) will pore through looking for things they can interpret in the worst possible light. But in the meantime, let me address some of the points that you make in your open letter to me.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/05/10/un-esc-rights/

Next month, on 8th and 9th of June, Jane Donnelly and I will represent Atheist Ireland in Geneva, when the United Nations will be examining the Irish State about its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

As for congratulatory comments, it looks to me as if sincere congratulations here are expressed fairly concisely. It is only when the poster has a point to add that the comment is longer.

7 Carrie May 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm

@Sau rs, my apologies for not making sense. I do the best that I can with the minimal language skills that I have. Here are links which I hope will make things clearer:

_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/04/20/response-ashley-miller-open-letter/

I’m not sure exactly when I will be able to respond, because we are in the middle of a very busy time in our work with Atheist Ireland, and because I am not yet sure what my response will include, and because I will have to articulate it in words that some people (not you) will pore through looking for things they can interpret in the worst possible light. But in the meantime, let me address some of the points that you make in your open letter to me.

_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/05/10/un-esc-rights/

Next month, on 8th and 9th of June, Jane Donnelly and I will represent Atheist Ireland in Geneva, when the United Nations will be examining the Irish State about its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

As for congratulatory comments, it looks to me as if sincere congratulations here are expressed fairly concisely. It is only when the poster has a point to add that the comment is longer.

I repeated this because I think the clickable links stuck the message in moderation. Sorry about that.

8 John Greg May 31, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Carrie, am I right in presuming that paragraphs 2 and 3 are quotes from Michael?

9 Carrie May 31, 2015 at 7:41 pm

@ John Greg

Yes, sorry about that; the blockquotes disappeared in the re-posted message dammit — thanks for pointing that out.

10 Carrie May 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Also for Saurs to read is this, at

_http://atheist.ie/2015/05/un-esc-rights/

Next month, on 8th and 9th of June, Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly will represent Atheist Ireland in Geneva, when the United Nations will be examining the Irish State about its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

We will be briefing the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights before it questions the Irish State, and giving the Committee real-time analysis of the answers that the Irish State gives to its questions.

Michael and AI are doing great work.

11 John Greg May 31, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Thanks, Carrie.

And yes, MN and AI are indeed doing great work. So much better than just angry hammering on a keyboard.

12 john welch June 1, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Oh my, heaven forfend that Michael actually spend more time on, you know, important crap than assuaging the feelings of a blogger.

13 Saurs June 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

So, Carrie, speculations and inferences from more than a month ago, then. The delay is striking, interesting, and revealing.

14 Saurs June 5, 2015 at 10:22 pm

So much better than just angry hammering on a keyboard.

Not a fan of Nugent’s then. Ah, well. Can’t win them all.

15 Carrie June 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

The delay is striking, interesting, and revealing.

Yes, it reveals that there are more important things on Michael’s mind just now than Internet squabbles amongst idle nit-pickers.

Not a fan of Nugent’s then. Ah, well. Can’t win them all.

It seems that you missed this part of John Greg’s post: “yes, MN and AI are indeed doing great work”.

Cherry-picking and quote-mining are tools used by creationists and by others who have no genuine points to make. As for off-topic snark, that is just a troll tactic. I wish that we could all take to heart — and perhaps even follow — Michael’s concept of steps towards peaceful secularism.

1. Stand up to violence
2. Seek respectful dialogue
3. Start with human rights
4. Be proactive in politics
5. Establish secular schools

_www.michaelnugent.com/2015/05/24/five-steps-peaceful-secularism/

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: