Created on Monday, 06 June 2011 08:00
DUBLIN DECLARATION ON SECULARISM AND THE PLACE OF RELIGION IN PUBLIC LIFE
On Sunday 5 June 2011, the conferees at the AAI World
Atheist Convention in Dublin
discussed and adopted the following Declaration On Secularism And The Place Of Religion In Public Life.
- Personal Freedoms
Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private
and unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others.
All people should be free to participate equally in the
Freedom of expression should be limited only by the
need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. There should be no
right ‘not to be offended’ in law. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit
or implicit, should be repealed and should not be enacted.
- Secular Democracy
The sovereignty of the State is derived from the people
and not from any god or gods.
The only reference in the constitution to religion
should be an assertion that the State is secular.
The State should be based on democracy, human rights
and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason, and not religious faith, to evidence.
Government should be secular. The state should be
strictly neutral in matters of religion and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.
Religions should have no special financial consideration
in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.
Membership of a religion should not be a basis for appointing
a person to any State position.
The law should neither grant nor refuse any right,
privilege, power or immunity, on the basis of faith or religion or the absence of either.
- Secular Education
State education should be secular. Religious education,
if it happens, should be limited to education about religion and its absence.
Children should be taught about the diversity of
religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith
formation in school hours.
Children should be educated in critical thinking and
the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.
- One Law For All
There should be one secular law for all, democratically
decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes.
The law should not criminalise private conduct because
the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral, if that private conduct respects the rights and freedoms of others.
Employers or social service providers with religious
beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.
Created on Friday, 25 June 2010 08:00
COPENHAGEN DECLARATION ON RELIGION IN PUBLIC LIFE
We, at the World Atheist Conference: “Gods and Politics”, held in Copenhagen from 18 to 20 June 2010, hereby declare as follows:
- We recognize the unlimited right to freedom of conscience, religion
and belief, and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be
limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.
- We submit that public policy should be informed by evidence and reason, not by dogma.
- We assert the need for a society based on democracy, human rights
and the rule of law. History has shown that the most successful
societies are the most secular.
- We assert that the only equitable system of government in a
democratic society is based on secularism: state neutrality in matters
of religion or belief, favoring none and discriminating against none.
- We assert that private conduct, which respects the rights of others
should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern.
- We affirm the right of believers and non-believers alike to
participate in public life and their right to equality of treatment in
the democratic process.
- We affirm the right to freedom of expression for all, subject to
limitations only as prescribed in international law – laws which all
governments should respect and enforce. We reject all blasphemy laws and
restrictions on the right to criticize religion or nonreligious
- We assert the principle of one law for all, with no special
treatment for minority communities, and no jurisdiction for religious
courts for the settlement of civil matters or family disputes.
- We reject all discrimination in employment (other than for religious
leaders) and the provision of social services on the grounds of race,
religion or belief, gender, class, caste or sexual orientation.
- We reject any special consideration for religion in politics and
public life, and oppose charitable, tax-free status and state grants for
the promotion of any religion as inimical to the interests of
non-believers and those of other faiths. We oppose state funding for
- We support the right to secular education, and assert the need for
education in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and
reason as a guide to knowledge, and in the diversity of religious
beliefs. We support the spirit of free inquiry and the teaching
of science free from religious interference, and are opposed to
indoctrination, religious or otherwise.