It would begin with children. Every child in Ireland would have equal access to his or her local national primary and second-level State-funded schools. None would be discriminated against because he or she was not baptized.
How shameful it is that in 21st-century Ireland that that still remains the case!
And, staying with children, in a Humanist Ireland, young children would not be taught to believe in deities simply because their parents or grandparents believed in them. The integrity of children’s minds would be respected. Children would not be taught as ‘fact’ something for which there is not one whit of evidence.
Warping children’s minds is intellectual child abuse. There was a time when lots of people got away with child sexual abuse because the wider community didn’t appreciate how shameful a thing it was to sexually abuse children. Or they didn’t realize how pervasive it was. Or it was just hidden and not talked about, so unlikely and outlandish did it sound.
Likewise, it’s not that long ago since corporal punishment was allowed in schools: physical abuse of children was socially acceptable. Now, thank goodness, neither child sexual nor physical abuse is tolerated.
So how long will it take before people realise that to abuse children’s minds is equally despicable? Why do we still think it’s OK to teach children that man-made deities exist, watch them, judge them and will punish or reward them?
I speak as someone who believed in a religion for years, who staked my life on that false belief and spent nine years studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood. I, more perhaps than many, realize the tortuous and difficult path from belief to unbelief. It is like casting off an addiction. It is to rethink everything.
Imagine if a society believed it acceptable to give alcohol and drugs to children as young as three and five and seven and nine and twelve? And yet, I submit, that is what we do in having children ‘imbibe the faith’. A nice word for indoctrination.
Religions indoctrinate children because if most sensible, rational and reasonable adults were to first encounter the crazy doctrines of religion as an adult they would laugh and dismiss them without giving them another second’s thought.
So what would a Humanist Ireland look like? Equal access by all children to their local State-funded primary and second-level schools, with baptismal privilege abandoned as not only discriminatory but abusive of children’s innocent minds.