In Ireland, the Catholic Church controls 96% of the primary schools. They claim, as they must by law, that they show no favouritism in admissions, however they are entitled under the same law to prioritise families which share their “ethos” when dealing with over-subscriptions.
If you’re wondering why this is a problem, please refer to the first sentence of this post.
Inevitably, schools have been accused of under-resourcing their needs, and many non-religious parents have baptised their children just to make sure those kids can get into a school four years later. This has the effect of wildly exaggerating the number of “real” Catholics in the country, with knock-on effects for any public policy using those figures.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced that he planned to end what has become known as the “baptism barrier”. At the time, the church reacted with “a shrug”, but this week, they are threatening “a series of legal challenges from parents and religious bodies”.
Their argument is that other religions will not be subject to this secularisation, which is a fair point, but to see why it’s perhaps not as immediately relevant as they might think, I would again refer you to the first sentence of this post. The idea that the Catholic groups are suddenly interested in making sure all religions have the same rights and responsibilities, privileges and duties is ludicrous for obvious reasons.
You should have the right to adopt any religion you like, and teach your children about it any way you want, but keep it out of state-funded schools (and all other public institutions).
Atheist Ireland has been running a campaign for some time to make this happen. Help them out if you want to.