Seanad to vote today to add silent reflection before daily prayer

Irish Senators will be asked today to vote that they must stand for 30 seconds of silent reflection each morning, before they continue the current practice of praying to the Christian God, asking that god to direct their actions so that every word and work of theirs may begin and end with that god through Christ their Lord.

This is another ‘Irish solution to an Irish problem’, which avoids facing up to the actual issue (in this case, of whether the State should pray and enforce praying), and leaves it to future politicians to address the issue properly.

The objection to a daily State prayer is quite simple. Senators as individual citizens are perfectly entitled to pray as much as they want. But when a particular prayer is put on the formal agenda of the Senate, it then becomes the State itself that is both praying and enforcing prayer, and this infringes on both the concept of a modern secular Republic, and the human right to freedom of conscience of the Senators.

Surprisingly, the new proposal is being supported by Senator Ivana Bacik and Senator Ronan Mullen, and is being described as a compromise that includes everyone. Actually it is an entrenchment and endorsement of the concept of the State both praying and enforcing prayer. Also, the non-Christian Senators will still be obliged to stand for the Christian prayer, which is the only prayer or reflection that is formally read out publicly.

Senators Bacik and Mullen, as well as Fine Gael Senator Paul Coghlan, believe that the Seanad may adopt the new proposal without a vote, but Independent senator Fiach Mac Conghail has said that there should be respectful and healthy discussion on the recommendation which would reflect the divergent views of members.

Two weeks ago Atheist Ireland wrote this letter to the members of the Seanad Committee on Procedures and Privilege. This is the committee at which the compromise proposal emerged, which is now being put before the full Seanad today.

Please contact as many Senators as you can this morning to let them know your opinions on this issue before they vote today.

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4 Comments

  1. Atheist Ireland
    Posted 25 February, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    As expected, the motion was passed.

    Here is the debate transcript on the Oireachtas website.

  2. Sarah
    Posted 25 February, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Although I sent an email asking them not to waste time with this nonsene I do hope it backfires. Perhaps it could catch on . The state might provide sucular reflection spaces for us all to go to on Sunday mornings.
    We could=
    Demand funding for our spaces.
    funding for coloured windows.
    funding for seats
    funding for wall pictures.
    funding for scented candles
    funding for flowers
    grants for clothes for the day we celebrate Humpty Dumpty got put back together again.
    Grant for chocholate eggs to celebrate humpty dumpty falling off the wall.
    Funding of course must come from the Government coffers as they seem to be good at giving money to useless causes.
    .

  3. Sarah
    Posted 25 February, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I have just read that order of business. I see one of the senators is offended that myself and I believe some others referred to them discussing a fantacy. I am very offended that he cannot understand why I it is that I don’t believe in God.
    I have very good reason not to believe in god. It’s called The Penny Dropped.
    I used to get toys from Santa every year untill The Penny Dropped.
    I used to get money from the tooth fairy untill The Penny Dropped.
    I always believed that humpty dumpty could be fixed untill The Penny Dropped.
    I also used to think we could never get rid of places like the Seaned and guess what
    The Penny Has Dropped again.
    When is that wast of money up for discussion with the real people.

  4. Atheist Ireland
    Posted 27 February, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sending them the email, Sarah.