You’ve Heard of White Privilege. Well This is Catholic Privilege. And it’s Unfair.
Why You Should Tick “No Religion” on the Census Sheet.
An opinion piece by Nicole Buckler
We hand them in tonight, people. And you can do your share to make Irish society more fair.
We all know this issue. The Catholic Church has a hold on the vast, vast majority of our schools. While in my opinion religion should NOT be a school subject, even worse is the idea that schools which are funded by every taxpayer should be allowed to deny places to kids just because they are not baptised into the faith.
Ireland absolutely amazed the world when we voted with a very safe majority to give the LGBT community the right to legally marry. We are seen as a country who sports backward fiddle-dee-dee Father-Ted like ways. Across the world, many people accept a very stereotyped and rather insulting view of us. So when we voted to make Ireland more fair for LGBT people, this astounded many humans globally. And it corrected their view of us. But we need to correct it again.
Many see Ireland as a last bastion of true religious utopia: we talk the talk and walk the walk. We don’t allow abortion, we have a church on every corner, and religious speak in so entrenched in our vernacular that newcomers hit a word wall which needs to be translated. A lot… If newcomers have troubles, people offer to light candles for them (at first they might think Irish people want to burn down their house).
As the church’s grip upon us is dying a horrible, drawn-out death, in its death-throes, it is hanging on to the one area it certainly will not let go without force: that of its monopoly on school admission. While many people don’t agree with religion in schools, they find themselves baptising children so they can get their kids into their local school without a ridiculous traumatic hassle. They don’t go to church, they don’t call themselves religious, and they have no particular interest in putting their kids through the same level of ritual they they themselves lived.
And yet, they still baptise their kids. Because modern Irish society STILL isn’t fair.
But we know this about ourselves: The Irish people are kind like no other group of people that I have ever seen on the face of the earth. And I have covered a lot of territory on this beautiful little ball of rock circulating around the sun. Irish people would genuinely give you the shirt off their back and their pants too if you needed it. Some are just nudists looking for an excuse, but the vast majority of Irish people cannot help but to give you anything you need and more.
I need for these kind-hearted, family-oriented people to vote (symbolically) for a fair society in Ireland. The people who refuse to baptise their kids, deeming it to be an empty ritual for them, are now being persecuted for their brave stance: they cannot get their kids into their local schools. This is wildly unfair. These are the people who refuse to live an inauthentic life: they won’t jump through a hoop they deem to be unnecessary pandering. They want society to include them. But instead of rewarding their bravery, our system persecutes them and worse, it persecutes their kids.
I KNOW Irish people are very sensitive to unfairness. I know they hate injustice. Before the Catholic Church came along, we had the Brehon system of law. This system was like no other system on earth. It was mind-bogglingly advanced and even back then, and it was all about equality. Women were equal and could divorce their lazy-arse husband if necessary and keep any property they brought to the marriage. No one owned Irish women back then, and no one feckin owns us now. Including the Catholic Church, who spent many years controlling our bodies, keeping women at home without contraception, with their 12 kids and counting. This was unfair. So, things changed. Nobody owns our men either, including the Catholic Church. We are free and dammit, we want to be equal. We all have a right to be cherished. And our kids will be damned cherished too, whether the church likes it or not.
So again, society needs to change. We need things to be fair. If the Hindu dude up the road can’t get his kids into the local school because he isn’t Catholic, this isn’t fair. He isn’t asking for us to pay to build a Hindu school. He is just asking that his kids go to the same school as the other kids in his street. If the atheist who pays the same taxes as you can’t get their kids into the local school, because they won’t jump through a useless and out-of-date ceremony that means nothing to them, then that isn’t fair.
You have heard about white privilege in the U.S. right? Well this is nothing more than Catholic privilege. And it’s unfair.
In any other part of the world, if we saw a situation where kids were forced to accept a religion in order to get a government-funded education, we would call it a human rights abuse. Well, have a look around you. It’s right here, on your street.
So please, for a fair society, tick “No Religion” on your census form tonight, even if you are a practising Catholic. Because if you are a true Christian, you will want a fair country. It won’t change any laws that matter, but it will be an honest admisssion of the problem. The problem of Catholic privilege.
Make Ireland fair. Tick “No Religion.”
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