Future Ireland: Secular Education V Schools Controlled by Religion

Teach Don’t Preach is a positive campaign for a secular Irish education system based on human rights law. As an interim measure, we will help you to opt your child out of religious education classes in your current school.

But our ultimate aim is a secular Irish education system. Religious states promote religion. Atheist states promote atheism. We want a secular state, that promotes neither. Please join us and help to make this happen.

Education is a human right. According to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Irish State absolves itself of the responsibility to educate its children, and delegates that responsibility to private bodies and institutions.

The Irish State does this in a way that denies Irish parents their human rights. Catholic schools and indeed any school that operates a religious integrated curriculum breach the basic human rights of parents seeking a secular education for their child. A religious ethos is not in accordance with Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The education policy of Atheist Ireland is “secular education based on human rights law”. It is unacceptable in a democracy that, in order to access an education, our children leave their human rights at the school gate. We will not accept anything less than equality before the law and equal protection of the law without discrimination of any kind as this is our basic human right.


  1. Avatar
    Jon June 07, 2011

    Having just returned from the Atheist Alliance International Conference in Dublin and also having had the opportunity to have my worst fears confirmed, I can only say that there should be neither opting out nor opting in.

    My research for a submission to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector has categorically shown that recognised methods of mind control are being employed, by the Roman Catholic Church Inc. in their primary schools, to indoctrinate primary school children as young as four years old with a belief in God and with faith formation.

    Religious organisations simply cannot be trusted to protect children’s human rights not to abused either physically or mentally.

    Children have a human right not to be indoctrinated with any unproven theories as though they are fact. I sincerely believe that right extends to children of parents who may hold particular particular religious, non-religious or anti-religious beliefs.

    There is no reason for anyone to fill a child’s mind with anything to do with religion. It is up to a rational individual, with the ability to reason and having had all relevant information presented to them, including the philosophies of as many religions as possible – from animism through polytheism to monotheism along with the various cults/sects/denominations (e.g. creationist/catholic/orthodox/protestant/sunni/shia, etc., etc, etc.) – and, of course, an understanding of the scientific method and scientifically proven, relevant facts, to make their own mind up.

    The only ones who would fear such an approach are those without the faith that they profess in their religions… the religions that profit financially and politically from their nefarious activities.

    • Avatar
      Annette September 20, 2011

      Totally agree. I’m going to the school tomorrow to have my child opt out.

      We visited the Princapal to today, who tried to tell us that the religious studies in Junior and Senior infants is more about nature and the child’s self. That is was not really necessary for us to have him opt out/do other work in class, until later in his school years. However, he clarified, the choice was ours.

      So, we took the teachers religion book home and too our shock it’s full of “Thank you god for the seeds that grow”, “thank you god for my blue eyes” etc.

      Are they trying to insult us by playing down the signifance of this. “They don’t do much, it just a few prayers” Do they just not want us rocking the boat or upsetting thier system.

      Each session in the curriculum, starts with a a lovely story or art n’ craft, then is followed by blessing themselves and prayers. I cannot leave my child to sit in a class wondering why is not making a bird like the others or singing a song….this is like indirect brainwashing. So, I’ve no choice but to have him leave the room.

      Lets see what tomorrow brings.

  2. Avatar
    mags September 06, 2013

    hi, can i get a personal mail back as to how to get involved with the teach don’t preach campaign? regards, Mags (i coudl nto find an email address to contact)

  3. Avatar
    Homa Arjomand April 26, 2018

    Please join The International Campaign For One Secular School System. Together globally can make sure that children can learn together, play together without any discrimination and sagrigation.


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