Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik has said that she would approve of an Irish ban on ‘male genital mutilation’ an apparent reference to male circumcision which is carried out on Muslims and Jewish children and has been performed on millions of other babies for medical reasons.
She issued the call at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin at the weekend. Senator Bacik's comments come after a proposal to ban male circumcision was placed on the ballot in upcoming elections in San Francisco.
Speaking on Friday evening at the World Atheist Convention, Senator Bacik also said that there was a threat of a “a creeping fundamentalism in Irish life”, according to a report in the Irish Times.
‘Fundamentalism’ in Ireland, she said, was “perhaps more sophisticated, where columnists talk of choice, yet oppose change where Catholic schools are concerned”.
Senator Bacik did not cite any such columnists, however, and no public advocates for the right of parents to choose denominational schools have opposed in principle the need for change in the patronage system.
Senator Bacik suggested that the introduction by the previous government of blasphemy legislation, was a victory for the ‘fundamentalist’ lobby although there is no evidence of any religious group in Ireland seeking the law and the Director of The Iona Institute, David Quinn, has publicly opposed it.
She added that she was “the only ‘out’ atheist in the Oireachtas”, but said she knew “quite a few others who were either atheist or agnostic”, but who remain “in the closet for now”.
What she and others in Atheist Ireland sought was “a modern secular Republic where religions thrive side by side, with no dominant religion”.
She said atheism was “profoundly moral. Its central tenet is respect for others’ beliefs, with an emphasis on combining reason and compassion. Ground rules for human behaviour are not just the construct of religion,” she said.
Irish people, she continued, were “too slow to challenge orthodoxy, not quick enough to question”.