Teaching about Religions and Beliefs
by Jane Donnelly
The Mater Dei Institute is at it again.
In their Submission to the Forum on Education they again recommend the Toledo Guiding Principles but state that this education cannot be adequately described by the use of the terms such as “objective”.
These people even quote from the Toledo Guiding Principles but conveniently leave out Page 68 – State neutrality and opt out rights.
“Under International Standards, states have considerable latitude with respect to providing religious education but may not seek to indoctrinate pupils in a particular worldview through the educational system against the wishes of the pupils’ parents. The European Court of human Rights has made clear that:-
The State, in fulfilling the functions assumed by it in regard to education and teaching, must take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner. The state is forbidden to pursue an aim of indoctrination that might not be considered as not respecting parents’ religious and philosophical convictions. This is the limit that must not be exceeded.
The State may satisfy this duty of neutrality either by designing a curriculum that is itself sufficiently impartial and balanced or, in those instances in which the state provides instruction in a particular religion or belief, by granting rights to opt out on the ground of conscientious objection. This right must be realizable in practice, and not a mere theoretical possibility. Moreover, the requisite neutrality would be compromised if pupils were subjected to any disadvantage discrimination or stigma on account of the exercise of this right to be exempted from such classes, or elements of classes.”
What do they not understand about the words ‘objective’ and this is the limit that must not be exceeded. This is something that we must be very careful about as Atheist Ireland supports the Toledo Guiding Principles. We need to ensure that if the Toledo Guiding Principles are introduced it is not the Toledo Guiding Principles according to the Mater Dei Institute which is a foundation of the Archdiocese of Dublin.