Teach Don’t Preach – Thanks for Supporting the Campaign for Secular Education

Thank you for making a donation to producing a curriculum teaching primary and secondary school children in Ireland about atheism. We value your support.

The Teachdontpreach.ie website is published by Atheist Ireland as part of our “Teach Don’t Preach” campaign for a secular Irish education system based on human rights law.

The site includes information, resources and a discussion forum about secular education, education rights in the constitution, education and discrimination legislation, the denomination school system in Ireland and sample letters to help you to opt your child out of religious education classes whether primary or secondary.

Parents have the right for their children to be educated at school free from indoctrination contrary to their own religious beliefs. They should also have the right to be treated equally in terms of admissions policy. In Ireland, in practical terms, most non-religious, atheist or secular (and some religious) parents are denied these rights.

The vast majority of our primary schools in Ireland are church controlled, over 90% by the Catholic and about 6% by Protestant churches. The Irish State provides education through the Department of Education and Skills and most schools are publicly funded (teachers salaries, school operating costs, school transport, school repairs and building) but essentially privately (religiously) controlled.

The Irish Catholic Bishops say that “Catholic schools seek to reflect a distinctive vision of life and a corresponding philosophy of education, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Irish State is legally obliged (by statute, legislation, the constitution and international human rights agreements) to provide religiously neutral school environments if  continuing to provide education through denominational schools. The state is also legally obliged to ensure no religious discrimination in admission to schools and in places of employment. Claiming that denominational schools are inclusive while discriminating in access on religious grounds is absurd. Continuing to operate a “religious integrated curriculum” (because of the historic requirements of Rules for National Schools Rule 68) is a breach human rights law (the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of conscience).

Atheist Ireland believes that a secular education system is essential to the building of an ethical and secular society. One of the most powerful ways in which religion maintains its hold on society is by teaching children fantastic tales as truth when they are at an intellectually formative age.

Atheist Ireland is an advocacy group that promotes reason and atheism over superstition and supernaturalism, and that campaigns for an ethical and secular Ireland where the state does not support or fund or give special treatment to any religion.


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