Blog Post

Why Ticking “No Religion” Shouldn’t Matter in Schools

For people without a religion, the census always draws up conversation. Mostly, it’s to do with the position of the “No Religion” box on the form or the implication in the question that one has a religion. However, many people and organisations such as Atheist Ireland and the Humanist Association of Ireland use the census to ask people to consider their faith and to think hard about whether they actually practice the religion they almost automatically tick the box in. The reasoning given is that the census data will be used to establish and identify various public sectors including schools, which, as we know, are currently almost monopolised by one particular faith.

However, I don’t think any of this is necessary. Public services shouldn’t be established based on the number of people who tick religion boxes. Unless 100% of people ticked one of these boxes, public service should cater equally to all of its citizens. Despite all the effort and pseudo-evangelism from well-meaning groups, ticking “no religion” should have no impact on whether we have faith-based schools in Ireland or not.

The only question that should be asked of the Irish people to ascertain whether we should be in a situation where 98% of schools are run by religious orders is not on the census. It is: Would you like Ireland to be a country under Catholic law or would you like Ireland to remain a secular republic? The problem in Ireland right now is that we want the latter with a pick ‘n’ mix of the former. It’s confusing for people like me because one can never be sure which Catholic laws people seem to like, (e.g. having Catholic schools, making sacraments in schools) and ignoring the ones they don’t like (going to church, allowing gay people to marry, cohabitation, contraception…well a whole lot more)

The census is likely to show around 80% of Irish people identifying as Roman Catholic and No Religion may hit 7-8%. If the data is used to change school structures, this alone would have an impact if we were still working of the ridiculous Pluralism and Patronage agenda, which simply further segregates young children.

In reality, Ireland should cater equally for every citizen, including its children. It shouldn’t simply tolerate minorities. It needs to fully include them. Religion is not only a lousy way to exclude children, it’s unethical by both secular and religious law.

Ticking anything other the Roman Catholic box in the census should have nothing to do with schools, not should the “No Religion” box. The country must simply provide schools that cater for all of its pupils.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

What you might not know about the ETB Community National School model

With the news today that Richard Bruton wants the ETB to lead an “identification

What next for ERBE?

As part of the government’s Pluralism and Patronage Forum, which is supposed to ensure the

Diversity in Primary Teaching

The Teaching Council hold a conference every year called Féilte. One of the topics

Different points to enter Teacher Training College

RTE revealed that DCU’s newly formed Teacher Training course, which amalgamated 3 previous colleges of

Education Equality: Gathering for Change March

I was delighted and honoured to have had the opportunity to speak at the

What is the biggest issue for Community National Schools?

The Community National School model is being lauded as the ideal solution for primary education

What’s the difference between the CNS model and the Catholic model?

Another government, another disappointing day for education. Jan O’Sullivan has left her mark and I

How to make denominational schools more inclusive

Around 96% of Irish primary schools are under the patronage of a religious body,

Primary Schools: Inclusive or Tolerant?

As most people know, there are a number of parents in Ireland who have

Infographic of Survey on Inclusiveness

I developed an infographic based on the data received from my survey on how

How inclusive are Catholic Schools?

Recently, The Irish Independent carried an article with the headline, Catholic Schools are as inclusive

#GE16 and Primary Education: Religion in Schools

As we come up to the General Election, I’m looking at the various parties

The Mathematics of Patronage and Pluralism

Between 96% and 98% of Irish primary schools are denominational in patronage, which means

What will removing Rule 68 actually do?

One of the rules of National Schools that has been causing much debate over

Multidenominational: A long word, long-abused

The education landscape used to be an easy one to maneuver. Between the 1920s

Can the new NCCA Ethics Curriculum work in Ireland?

It always strikes me as odd the stories about primary education that get noticed

Why Pluralism in Education Doesn’t Work

I was listening to a debate on the radio about the Angelus last week.

Burren National School: A symbol of the divestment process

Today, Educate Together announced that the proposed new Educate Together school in Castlebar was

Where do unbaptised children fit in?

I’ve been following the recent discussions about unbaptised children accessing primary education over the last

Should schools be allowed to discriminate?

The headline grabber from the INTO congress was Jan O’Sullivan’s announcement that new enrollment

Ask Us A Question

You will get a notification email when Knowledgebase answerd/updated!

+ = Verify Human or Spambot ?