List of things an atheist cannot do

General discussions
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by lostexpectation » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:09 pm

UDS wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:i would suggest that the atheist could fill all reality based issues in relation to the ethos,, and that's all that matters
On that view, there is no barrier to an atheist becoming a member of the Board of Management of a school with a religious ethos, is there?

well your presuming reason of people who have problems with it, thats why i was asking the op how hard he tried, we'll see what he says


can you really tell up to this day that religion or lack of it pays no part in who becomes a judge.
test
cymorg
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:42 am

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by cymorg » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:53 am

thanks to all the contributors so far. I was a bit flippant using terms like discrimination. perhaps what i should have said is... can we create a list of things that non atheists believe should not be performed by atheists with integrity. Making declarations or nominally subscribing to groups/roles/agreements etc. by taking oaths or giving a nod of the head may diminish an atheists integrity. I am looking for documented examples, the case of a judge or president being a good example. If we can start by creating a list then we can analyse the list in a structured manner. Perhaps there are undocumented social patterns waiting to be discovered, who knows where the research may lead.

i don't want to get into the symantics of this - let's keep it really simple... for example... [and i've no idea if these examples are true or not but they'll do for now]

the irish state explicitly excludes atheists, or only allows atheists to become judges by the atheists participation in a ceremony that may diminish their personal integrity
the irish state explicitly excludes atheists, or only allows atheists to become president by the atheists participation in a ceremony that may diminish their personal integrity
the association of catholic primary schools in ireland requires members of the schools boards of management to subscribe to a belief system that may diminish the atheists personal integrity

if i did not have to swear on a bible or support religious teaching in state funded but privately owned schools i could do any of the above. as integrity is important to me and i'm an atheist i cannot in good concience do any of the above. please help me expand this list and i'll try and make some sense of it all.
UDS
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:23 am

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by UDS » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:08 am

lostexpectation wrote: . . . can you really tell up to this day that religion or lack of it pays no part in who becomes a judge.
No, I’m not saying that. Religion does play a part; for instance, there’s a convention that at least one of the judges on the Supreme Court should be a non-Catholic. Currently, the non-Catholic judge is Mrs Justice Denham; when she retires, non-Catholics will be at a distinct advantage in the decision to appoint her successor.

But in general religion is not a big issue; certainly there are much bigger issues, like party affiliation, experience, expertise and standing in the legal community. An atheist or agnostic who was unwilling to make the constitutionally-required declaration would presumably let it be known that he did not wish to be appointed or, if offered the position, would decline. But if someone was willing to make the declaration, it would surprise me greatly if atheist, agnostic or simply indifferent religious views were a barrier. Although most of the judges come from a Catholic background (Catholic schools, etc), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a number of them no longer considered themselves to be Catholics or Christians since, let’s face it, most of the non-religious people in Ireland come from a somewhat religious background. But I don’t know for certain that any of the current judges is an atheist or an agnostic.
UDS
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:23 am

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by UDS » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:05 am

lostexpectation wrote: . . . well your presuming reason of people who have problems with it, thats why i was asking the op how hard he tried, we'll see what he says
That’s not really the point. Cymorg may not want to become a member of a school board – or, for that matter, a Supreme Court judge – but if there’s a rule which arbitrarily excludes him from the post, or a rule or practice which puts an unjustifiable barrier in his way, that’s still offensive.

The issue, though, is whether it a particular rule or practice is arbitrary or unjustifiable. It seems to me reasonable for a school with a Catholic/Christian/Jewish/Secular ethos to aspire to have a board of management made up of people who share, and subscribe to, that ethos. The problem for people of a secular outlook is not so much that religious schools exist but that, to a large extent, only religious schools exist, and they are effectively denied the education they want for their children. Analysing this problem in terms of the difficulty for an atheist in joining the board of management of a religious school is not helpful.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by lostexpectation » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:18 am

UDS wrote:
lostexpectation wrote: . . . well your presuming reason of people who have problems with it, thats why i was asking the op how hard he tried, we'll see what he says
That’s not really the point. Cymorg may not want to become a member of a school board – or, for that matter, a Supreme Court judge – but if there’s a rule which arbitrarily excludes him from the post, or a rule or practice which puts an unjustifiable barrier in his way, that’s still offensive.

The issue, though, is whether it a particular rule or practice is arbitrary or unjustifiable. It seems to me reasonable for a school with a Catholic/Christian/Jewish/Secular ethos to aspire to have a board of management made up of people who share, and subscribe to, that ethos. The problem for people of a secular outlook is not so much that religious schools exist but that, to a large extent, only religious schools exist, and they are effectively denied the education they want for their children. Analysing this problem in terms of the difficulty for an atheist in joining the board of management of a religious school is not helpful.

it is if there the only schools around and the school caters for most of the local people, not just religious people.

"For example I am excluded from being a member of the Board of Management of my childrens schools as I don't believe in the ethos of the school"
how hard did you try cymorg?


ms denham not catholic!!! , just church of ireland christian, and fully establishment.
test
UDS
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:23 am

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by UDS » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:18 am

lostexpectation wrote:it is if there the only schools around and the school caters for most of the local people, not just religious people.
Yes, that’s the problem right enough. My point is we don’t solve that problem by putting non-religious people on the boards of religious schools; we solve it by providing non-religious schools.
lostexpectation wrote:ms denham not catholic!!! , just church of ireland christian, and fully establishment.
I know. I mention her merely to illustrate my point that at least in some circumstances religion is a factor in the appointment of judges. As far as I’m concerned, Susan Denham is fully qualified to be a Supreme Court judge but, if she were a Catholic, she might not be on the bench today. But I doubt that religion is relevant in the sense of there being a rule or practice that only religious people will ever be appointed.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by lostexpectation » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:25 am

UDS wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:it is if there the only schools around and the school caters for most of the local people, not just religious people.
Yes, that’s the problem right enough. My point is we don’t solve that problem by putting non-religious people on the boards of religious schools; we solve it by providing non-religious schools.

you can't suggest we should leave these schools to the religious, there schools historical have been for everyone cos "everyone was catholic" (apart from the prods who had their own schools), so the schools aren't just for the religious they are for everyone, they key problem is the state not doings its job and they're the ones who have to solve it with the public. but we can't leave these schools to the 'religious' even now, theres still not enough other schools. the church always says its just responding to faithful community demand, but we all know how they inflate that demand, the local community is religious and non-religious and BOM should reflect that, there not religious schools theyre local schools. the bom should reflect the people that go there

while there has to be total reform of the the system, with vec, et and the church itself giving shcools away you can't say that these schools were ever exclusively for the religious. they were always for everyone.
test
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by MichaelNugent » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:39 pm

UDS wrote:The only constitutional requirement is that a candidate for office should be prepared to make the declaration, not that he should subscribe to its gratuitous theism.
All three references explicitly say "take and subscribe" or "make and subscribe".

The President and Judges must also include the request: "May God direct and sustain me."

Any judge who has not made this declaration within ten days of being appointed is deemed to have vacated his office.
UDS
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:23 am

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by UDS » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:46 am

MichaelNugent wrote:
UDS wrote:The only constitutional requirement is that a candidate for office should be prepared to make the declaration, not that he should subscribe to its gratuitous theism.
All three references explicitly say "take and subscribe" or "make and subscribe".

The President and Judges must also include the request: "May God direct and sustain me."

Any judge who has not made this declaration within ten days of being appointed is deemed to have vacated his office.
Sure, and I agree that the theism in this oath is inappropriate and offensive, and should be removed. I am not defending it; I am only making the more limited point that the sincerity of the expression of theism is self-policed. If I am prepared to make the declaration, publicly stating that I regard it's theistic elements, de Valera-like, as an "empty formula", then I can take office. It's bad, but it's not as though there was a law which said "no atheist may hold office as a judge".
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Re: List of things an atheist cannot do

Post by MichaelNugent » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:38 am

UDS wrote:Sure, and I agree that the theism in this oath is inappropriate and offensive, and should be removed. I am not defending it; I am only making the more limited point that the sincerity of the expression of theism is self-policed. If I am prepared to make the declaration, publicly stating that I regard it's theistic elements, de Valera-like, as an "empty formula", then I can take office. It's bad, but it's not as though there was a law which said "no atheist may hold office as a judge".
I take your point about de Valera, but that was in the 1930s. I'm not sure that would work today, with established institutions of State - and particularly for a Judge, whose specific function is to implement the law with integrity. In practice, I suspect such a move would either make his or her position untenable, or trigger a constitutional crisis, or both.

You are of course right about about the self-policing of the sincerity. In my opinion, a more likely outcome of that is that an atheist can become a judge (or President, or member of the Council of State) if they are willing to lie while making their declaration.

I've just compiled a summary of the various Oireachtas reviews in recent years of these religious declarations in the Constitution. It is about nine posts down on this thread:

Targets for Atheist Ireland Constitution Group
Post Reply