Schools may not instruct a child in a religion not its own without parental consent
It is constitutionally impermissible to instruct a child in a religion other than its own without the knowledge and consent of its parents.
Despite the above, most schools and teachers instruct children in a religion not of their own. Curriculum religious education instructs children in religions not of their own.
Article 42.1 of the Constitution guarantees the inalienable right of parents in relation to the religious and moral education of their children.
Children have a right to not attend religious instruction that is against the conscience of their parents. Church and state, or teachers and schools, have no right to decide what is or is not against the conscience of parents and their children.
The inalienable constitutional right of parents and their children have taken second place to a political decision to evangelise minorities by ignoring their constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court ruling on the payment of Chaplains in schools
In the Supreme Court case on the payment of Chaplains in Schools, Justice Barrington stated that:
“Secondly while it is obviously right and proper that a Chaplain should counsel and advise any child who may consult him about its problems it would be constitutionally impermissible for a Chaplain to instruct a child in a religion other than its own without the knowledge and consent of its parent.” (Justice Barrington – Campaign to Separate Church and State – Page 28)
In the above case, the Supreme Court was referring to Chaplains, and there is a particular concern about Chaplains instructing a child in a religion other than its own. However, the constitutional principle applies to all religious teaching.
If it is constitutionally impermissible for a Chaplain to instruction a child in a religion other than its own without the knowledge and consent of its parents, then it is constitutionally impermissible for any teacher to do so.
In many schools, minorities are coerced or forced to attend religion classes against their constitutional right, and no other subject is offered if they do manage to ensure that their children do not attend religion.
These children are left sitting in the religion class, despite the right to not attend under Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution. They are taught religions other than their own, because parents are told by teachers and schools that curriculum religion is suitable for their child. No supervision is offered by the school or another subject if they insist that their child should not attend the class.
The Constitutional rights of some religious parents are protected and promoted by Church and State. Those religious parents belong mostly to the Catholic church or the Church of Ireland. When minorities try to invoke their Constitutional rights as expressed by the Supreme Court, successive Ministers for Education just ignore them.
Atheist Ireland will continue to campaign for the rights of minorities in the education system.