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Dublin: 18°C Monday 18 October 2021

Don't ban crosses from schools, put other religious artefacts with them

That is the recommendation of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector.

Image: Religious

THERE SHOULD BE no ban on crucifixes in Irish schools, but other religions’ iconography should accompany them.

That is the suggestion from the progress report from the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector.

The report says that including the artefacts would ‘celebrate diversity’.

It says that “the display of such artefacts is a legitimate expression of the historical and cultural values of the school as well as its religious ethos.”

However, the reaction of parents was strongly divided on the plan in the report. It quotes two parents in particular.

I want crosses and catholic statues to remain in pride of place in my catholic schools, not gathered in a dedicated space along with Buddha.
This notion of having symbols and statues of other beliefs and religions in a Catholic School is ludicrous.

Some schools already use certain other religious artefacts to teach students about other religions. This is suggested as a template for schools in the future.

Banning the display of religious artefacts is not suggested. Rather, it is suggested that other artefacts reflective of other traditions could be displayed in a school as part of a process of celebrating diversity and educating pupils about the existence of other religions, beliefs and traditions.

“[I]n some schools there is a particular time of year set aside to mark interculturalism and the display of artefacts is an integral part of this celebration.”

The report, which was drawn up by the Department of Education received 434 submissions in total and said that the divestment of patronage “has not been as rapid as originally envisaged”. It also called for a clearer system to allow children opt out of religious education.

Read: Educate Together appointed patron of new schools in Dublin and Galway

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