We don’t accept church and state claims that religious schools are inclusive and respect all
We don’t accept claims by church and state that publicly funded religious schools, particularly Catholic schools which are the majority, are inclusive and welcome and respect everyone equally.
The reason we don’t accept these claims is that the evidence of reality contradicts them, and we experience the injustice and hurt that legal religious discrimination causes.
There are of course some parents from minority backgrounds that don’t seem to mind, or even to recognise, that their children are discriminated against in Catholic schools and indeed all religious schools in Ireland.
We are not those parents. We see the religious discrimination that the state endorses in our publicly funded schools. We also feel the that hurt that it causes, and we are working to end the injustice.
The admission policies of publicly funded primary schools tell parents that they will refuse access to their child if their child undermines their ethos. That is religious discrimination, and it is even worse when it’s legal religious discrimination. We see this discrimination and we are hurt by it and we resent the state’s endorsement of it.
When second level publicly funded schools give preference to co-religionists, that is religious discrimination. That is what we see and we feel. Again, it is legal religious discrimination and that makes it worse because it is supported and sanctioned by our republic.
When schools refuse to supervise our children outside the religion class or offer them another subject, that is religious discrimination. It breaches our constitutional rights. We see this discrimination and are hurt by it. We resent the failure of our republic to protect our constitutional rights and to support religious discrimination against minorities.
When church and state, patron bodies, schools and teachers decide for us what is or is not suitable religious education for our children, we see that discrimination. It breaches our Constitutional rights, and church and state would never say that to Catholic parents.
When we see teachers in publicly funded schools legally obliged to uphold the ethos of the Patron body (mainly catholic), we see this as religious discrimination because it is.
When our children are forced to attend mass or attend graduation ceremonies in the local church, we see this religious discrimination. We are hurt by it and we resent it.
Church and state tell us over and over again that publicly funded religious schools are inclusive and welcoming. We don’t accept this. This is not our experience. We will never accept that religious discrimination is welcoming and inclusive and that we should just accept it.
We will never accept that publicly funded Catholic schools are inclusive and welcoming while they discriminate against minorities on religious grounds and indoctrinate and evangelise our children.
The state is complicit in this religious discrimination against minorities and the breaching of our constitutional rights, and we will continue to campaign against it.