For many of us who have spent our entire life in Catholic schools, being forced to pray, being bombarded with statues of a dead man on an ancient torture instrument (A.K.A the crucifix) and that unavoidable annual church service is just something we must put up with. For years, I have sang hymns that question everything we’re taught about abusers (“lord I am not worthy”, “without you I am nothing” etc.), I have had to attempt to understand why an all-powerful, all-loving creator gave us free will yet punishes us for not doing what he wants. I have listened to talks of the One True God whilst keeping quiet about the fact that there are 3000 recorded gods in history, each with no more evidence than the last. I have donated money via cake sales so that we westerners can stamp out Indian traditions and build churches in poverty ridden countries rather than schools and hospitals, because if we pray to the same god who gave us malaria in the first place, he sure enough will cure us if we don’t annoy him. I have tolerated it through gritted teeth but there is one thing that I cannot ignore.
As it stands, some Catholic schools will only allow a member of staff to enter a senior position if they are Catholic. This means you can only prosper in your teaching career if you have the same religious beliefs as the people in higher power. Think about your best teacher, the one that you know you wouldn’t do half as well in their subject without. For purely discriminatory reasons, they cannot become head of their department purely because they don’t believe that a man named Jesus walked on water.
When investigated further, these Catholics tried to justify their view by asking “How can we promote the Catholic values if we don’t have Catholics in charge?”
Well let’s bring some facts and statistics into it. Hitler was a Catholic. He was also in charge. If what you say is correct, then the Holocaust was a Catholic value, yes? 0.07% of prisoners identify themselves as atheists and 24% are Catholics. The crime rate in the Vatican City is 133%- this means there are more crimes than there are people! Morality and being a good person is not determined by religion.
We could try to leave religion out of schools. The classroom is not a place to inflict your beliefs on others. It is where we go to learn maths, science, English, languages. It is a place where we sit and listen in hope of passing an exam. Do we have an exam in who is the best Catholic? No. Religion is for at home and in my personal opinion, the 10% of the day that is supposed to be spent doing “collective worship” is 10% I could be spending not having my pastoral tutor’s beliefs forced down my throat. I could be learning about why we pay taxes, why the decrease in the number of bees could lead to a worldwide famine or why I should recycle.
I don’t care whether my teacher believes in Allah, God, Yahweh, Neptune, Big Foot or any far-fetched myth written by people last week or 2000 years ago. I care that that I leave school at 18 with a good grade and if the teacher that can help me accomplish this isn’t a Catholic, that shouldn’t be relevant. Promotions should be given to the person with the right skills for a job- not the “right religion” for the job.