Atheist Ireland is a political lobbying group that promotes “atheism, reason and an ethical, secular state”.
One of the good things about being a lobbying group is that you can use words like “reason” without giving a reason for the word. Never offer me a job with a lobbying group. I’d reduce your press releases down to emoticons, because all the words you want to use are too contested to mean what you want them to say.
My dear friend Eoin O’Mahony came to visit over the weekend. We drank tea and whiskey on sand dunes at 1am. We appalled some drunken Englishers with our lousy literate jokes. We butchered the Doge meme to within an inch of its life. Much laughter. Wow hilarity.
Over tea and cheese on Sunday afternoon, Eoin was explaining how even as Christianity collapses in the West, atheism as a “movement” has failed utterly to build momentum. I had a realisation. Atheist Ireland is the strangest lobby group in Ireland. It might be even more queer than the Iona Institute, to put an old word to fresh use. Allow me to explain.
We could imagine three major aims of Atheist Ireland to be as follows:
- The removal of reference to God from the Constitution.
- The removal of prayer from the beginning of parliamentary proceedings.
- The creation of a primary education system that is secular by default (and only faith-based by exception).
These are all clear, achievable aims for a lobby group. Even better news for Atheist Ireland, they are all distinctively atheist-y.
Or at least they appear that way.
The realisation I made, listening to Eoin, was that if the conversation went the right way, Evangelical Alliance Ireland would wholeheartedly support each of these propositions.
After all, the Constitution needs to be rewritten and reference to God has not made the interpretation of that text in any way more ethical. The same applies with prayer. Of course, worship is a good for Christians, but worship can be empty performance and when TDs pray before creating unjust systems of detention for asylum seekers, tolerate the transport of American torture victims through our airports or burden the next 50 years of citizenry with the private debts accrued by bankers, perhaps the TDs haven’t been praying to the God prayed to in the Magnificat. Finally, evangelical Christians very often forego the standard educational options because the watered-down be-nice-to-your-betters version of Jesus that is taught there leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
So they don’t care if God gets props in the Constitution. They are not impressed by clasped hands that turn immediately to writing venial laws. And they already embrace Educate Together schools.
What good is a secular lobbying group if the Born Agains would show up in support of its campaigns?
Maybe the world is not broken into those with “faith” and those with “reason” after all. Perhaps the world is more complex than Victorian polemics can account for?
Your Correspondent, Bronze Age Sky Fairies LOL