: Still sectarian…

WE’RE more sectarian than ever, reported Suzanne Breen on Sunday (although the research she quotes has been challenged). Anyone who watched the Northern Ireland episode of I Predict a Riot on Bravo TV the other night might be inclined to agree that political peace doesn’t equate to an absence of tribal hatred. UPDATE: A major campaign to prevent violence on the streets of north Belfast this summer and stop children engaging in ‘recreational rioting’ has just been launched.

  • shamo

    Unfortunately, it may be even easier to slip into the intellectually vacant trough of sectarian bigotry in peacetime. During the conflict, people were often forced to think more deeply when confronted with the logical outrolling of their prejudice in blood on the streets. Sadly, the sectarianism of the present is also evident in rising levels of racism towards immigrants.

  • DK

    Quote from article:

    Shirlow says Belfast has undoubtedly become “more chic” in recent years with the development of luxury apartments, business premises, restaurants, and bars.

    “But it’s those who suffered the least in the conflict – the middle-classes – who are benefiting the most from this. Those who suffered the most – the Catholic and Protestant working-class – are benefiting the least. The irony is that, if they came together, they’d access far more than by standing separately.”

    Start with the schools. All the fuss over the 11+ pales when we notice that the schools are organised on sectarian lines.

  • kensei

    “Start with the schools. All the fuss over the 11+ pales when we notice that the schools are organised on sectarian lines.”

    Oh fuck, do we have to go through this again? Except religious education plays an important role to practicising Catholics. Catholic ethos, etc etc etc. In a sense, it’s like saying going to differnet Churches is sectarian.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why do some people feel religion should be kept out of politics, yet be integral to education?

  • Philip McNeill

    Putting to one side the sectarian divide i belive that there is a now evident a social divide that has sprung from 1998 and froms those who have taken advantage of the more stable society that we live in and those who relied on other: i.e. the political classes for guidance.

  • The Beech Tree

    Belfast gonzo

    Perhaps because the input of religion tends to make Education better, and Politics worse?

    TBT

  • kensei

    “Why do some people feel religion should be kept out of politics, yet be integral to education?”

    I don’t believe that religion should be kept out of politics, I just don’t believe it is either a good basis for division, or heaven forbid law. But your religion and moral outlook should inform your view of the world and your judgement, which is integral to good politics. How many politicians have been influenced by say, Catholic social teaching? The Protestant Work Ethic?

    As a practicising Catholic I would like any children I have to have a Catholic education, in the same way I did, in order to learn and appreciate their faith. I also, in retrospect, value the ethos of my school and it’s focus on teaching people rather than subjects.

    None of the above means that I want to exclude any children I have from meeting people of other religions (and beyond Christainity too), but that can be done by formal links with other schools and indeed outside it. Nor I am opposed to anyone having a Catholic education if they like, but it might be a bit odd.

    Just wailing sectarianism is ignorant of the important role of Catholic education plays in Catholic life.

  • DK

    Philip said: “Putting to one side the sectarian divide i belive that there is a now evident a social divide that has sprung from 1998 and froms those who have taken advantage of the more stable society that we live in and those who relied on other: i.e. the political classes for guidance”

    Spot on Philip. Those who are obsessed with the sectarian divide will be consumed by it. Heart and Soul.

  • idunnomeself

    So countries like France that have secular education systems obviously couldn’t be Catholic then..

    Could they??

    Northern Ireland’s Catholic education system is not necessary to the Catholic church, and the church is far more involved in education here than in Ireland. So your point is nonsense, sorry!

  • fionn

    Should the taxpayer pay for separate religious education?

    I believe a modern, democratic state should be non-religious in order to be fair to all citizens.

    If a person wishes their child to have a religious education they are free to do so, if they pay themselves imo.

    For those who do not have the option of private education, I believe their respective Churches should take up the burden, in parallel to the state schooling.

    I myself was educated in a religious school, but not in a school of my religion. There was a nun who used to come in and give us the religious education separately. Making it a subject taught in the school, rather than an ethos.

  • Scipio

    “Why do some people feel religion should be kept out of politics, yet be integral to education?” – Kensie as a practising Catholic I can see no reason for my children to be educated seperately – I know my education in one of NI’s best Catholic Grammar Schools left me breathtakingly ignorant of my Protestant counterparts – Why not shared schools but specific religious education?

    Here is a radical thought why don’t parents take on the role of ensuring our children have a proper understanding of their parents’ religious denomination(s) and task the schools with ensuring our children may actually meet some of them’uns on a regular basis where (shock horror!!) they may even find that they have something in common

    BTW I have worked with both Shirlow and Shuttleworth. Pete talks well but I would have much more faith in the thoroughness of Ian Shuttleworth’s work.

  • DK

    “BTW I have worked with both Shirlow and Shuttleworth. Pete talks well but I would have much more faith in the thoroughness of Ian Shuttleworth’s work.”

    This is good news – the sectarian divide is not increasing – but it is not contracting either.

    On religion in schools: Go to Sunday School.

  • kensei

    “So countries like France that have secular education systems obviously couldn’t be Catholic then..

    Could they??”

    Never said that, Straw Man.

    “Should the taxpayer pay for separate religious education?”

    Practical result. Catholic schools will remain Catholic, charges fees (as they did to an extent when I started), and the option is to pay the fees or in all liklihood, go to a worse school. Congratulations! Your policy has only one benefit: pissing people off.

    “Kensie as a practising Catholic I can see no reason for my children to be educated seperately-”

    I fully respect your choice. I’d wager more Catholics would come down with me, though.

    “I know my education in one of NI’s best Catholic Grammar Schools left me breathtakingly ignorant of my Protestant counterparts – Why not shared schools but specific religious education?”

    Except the ethos is important. I would be all for some shared classes or sports days, or the like. Regular contact, but the thos of the school is maintained.

    “Here is a radical thought why don’t parents take on the role of ensuring our children have a proper understanding of their parents’ religious denomination(s)”

    In a religious sense, that is a very Protestant view.

    “and task the schools with ensuring our children may actually meet some of them’uns on a regular basis where (shock horror!!) they may even find that they have something in common”

    Or shock! horror!! ensure they meet Protestants outside of school?

  • lib2016

    Until very recently the pervasive attitude in the upper reaches of Northern Ireland society was anti-Catholic and anti-Irish nationalist. Those ideas are still extremely common and will be for another generation at least.

    In the circumstances the idea of doing away with church schools is absurd. When the State schools at least and preferably also the state itself become more inclusive then perhaps there might a case for full integration. Til then there is no possibility of it.

  • Stephen Copeland

    idunnomyself,

    So countries like France that have secular education systems obviously couldn’t be Catholic then..

    If you think France is Catholic in any meaningful sense (i.e. other than the purely nominal), then you just don’t spend enough time there.

    Whether secularism in education has contributed to the eradication of religious practice in much of Europe is an open question. Personally I think that religion simply couldn’t compete with education, full stop.

  • Jo

    “the pervasive attitude in the upper reaches of Northern Ireland society was anti-Catholic and anti-Irish nationalist”

    Really? How many senior members of the judiciary are Catholic? How many Permanent Secretaries in the NICS are Catholic?

    I think you will find the answers somewhat surprising.

    “As a practicising Catholic I would like any children I have to have a Catholic education, in the same way I did, in order to learn and appreciate their faith”

    Then educate them in their relgiion in the evenings. Or..”shock, horror,” send them to Sunday School.

    Then when they are 15, 16, watch them walk away in disgust and marvel at the ordinariness of the Prods that they hadnt seen since Day Nursery.

  • DK

    “In the circumstances the idea of doing away with church schools is absurd. When the State schools at least and preferably also the state itself become more inclusive then perhaps there might a case for full integration. Til then there is no possibility of it.”

    This is probably as much a function of location. Not many Catholics would go to Boys Model state school on the Ballysillan Road; or protestants to St. Louise’s on the Falls.

    But some state schools (e.g. stranmillis) are almost 50:50 due to the integration of the surrounding area. I don’t know if any Catholic schools in mixed areas have any significant numbers protestants in them or not.

    So, as long as schools are surrounded by kids of one religion then they will end up of one religion themselves. The only solutions are to move the areas, or move the schools. Neither of which are likely to happen. Bussing in students would also be resisted.

    It’s probably going to be a case of softly-softly: ensuring that new housing is mixed and new schools have an even catchment. This will take decades.

  • Greenflag

    ‘We’re more sectarian than ever’

    What a surprise 🙁 How can it be otherwise .The very State of NI was based on a sectarian head count and can only continue to exist on that basis. Because of the very strong link between religious denomination and constitutional allegiance and/or aspiration it’s not possible to ever see an end to NI sectarianism as long as the NI State exists in it’s present 6 county form. A Repartition of Northern Ireland might well alleviate sectarian tensions in that it would reduce the number of alienated people on both sides of a new border .

    It would probably help if religion as a subject was taken out of the schools and those parents and clerics who truly believe in the benefits of a Free P/Protestant or an RC education should organise the religious instruction outside of normal school hours -Saturday School for RC’s and Sunday school for Prods . Taht way the Taigs can play golf on Sunday without having to be bothered with Prods cluttering up the fairways and vice versa for Prods on Saturday when Taigs will be too busy seeing their children indoctrinated in the traditional manner .

    Could even reduce the number of street fights , gang violence etc etc?

  • TAFKABO

    So countries like France that have secular education systems obviously couldn’t be Catholic then..

    France is not a Catholic country, it’s a secular republic.
    90% of the population may well be Catholic, but they feel strongly about keeping church and state separate, including education.

  • lib2016

    Jo,

    “How many senior members of the judiciary are Catholic?….”

    I agree completely that our society is changing very quickly, much more quickly than many members of both main communities accept. As the Equal Opportunity people have pointed out this is the last decade in which senior management in any sizable area will be mostly Protestant.

    The majority of management at both junior and middle levels already comes from a Catholic background except in the security and manufacturing industries. The security industry is changing fast and manufacturing industry is contracting even faster.

    A unionist majority based on old age pensioners living in Rathcoole may need to reappraise it’s position. 😉

  • Stephen Copeland

    lib2016,

    A unionist majority based on old age pensioners living in Rathcoole may need to reappraise it’s position. 😉

    You may joke, Lib2016, but the time really is coming when the unionist majority will be based upon the gross imbalance amongst the over-65s, while the working population will be majority nationalist. We will then have a situation of the tail wagging the dog.

    What consequences that will have I cannot tell, but outside of the electoral sphere there are other very important ‘stakeholder’ groups, including employers, unions, tax-payers, and so on. If they are at odds with the electoral majority then the outcome may well be a weakening of the political side of governance and a strengthening of the economic side.

  • lib2016

    BTW I’m in favour of state schools but not at the expense of my children’s happiness. When my children were at that age I looked at sending them to the local grammar but there had been mini-riots amongst the pupils and we decided against it.

    It will come in time but surely it is reasonable to worry about the situation in the particular school one’s children would attend. I’ve seen children bullying each other and it is no nicer than the equivalent behaviour in adults.

  • Jo

    TAFKABOOBOO

    ..the French are no less Catholic for wanting that separation. Such has been the brainwashing here on the other hand that the melding of Church with branches of the State such as education has been so successful that its almost impossible to prise them apart…an attack on sectarian education is seen as evidence of the Godless/secularist/Communist/(fill in derogatory blank)

    LIB:
    Indeed, and the replacement senior management will be less concerned with ensuring a replacement sectarian domination than ensuring meritocracy, thanks to competition/globalisation, something that SF seemed to forget when pointing out how few local Catholics worked in bus production in Ballymena…

  • The Beech Tree

    The European Convention on Human Rights

    First Protocol

    ARTICLE 2
    No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

  • lib2016

    Stephen,

    It was no joke. My constant refrain on this board is that this society faces major change including British withdrawal in the near future.

    Within five years we will be beginning serious talks on the Constitution for a 32-county republic and yet we still have people posting about 30 years or even ‘Nevair!’

    The emerging evidence on the number of Catholics attending state schools make it plain that the demographics are changing faster than most people believed.

    The election next year, if it comes, may well be the last time that a unionist party can confidently predict taking the position of First Minister.

  • Jo

    BT

    Parents aren’t qualified to take such decisions for their children.

    Except of course the enlightened ones.

    Like me, for instance. 🙂

  • kensei

    “Then educate them in their relgiion in the evenings. Or..”shock, horror,” send them to Sunday School.”

    Nah. Because shock! horror! I would have hated Sunday School, any child I have no doubt will and it is counter productive.

    How about you just stop your tedious social engineering? Because as we all know, a lack of segregation sorts all the problems out, just like the Comprehensives in Enlgand.

  • m

    The piece below covers the history of education post partition and continual efforts to seemingly Protestantise state education – a perception that clearly continues to this day.

    Highlights:

    The Catholic Church was not represented on the Committee. ..‘in view of pending changes in Irish education, we wish to reassert the great fundamental principle that the only satisfactory system of education for Catholics is one wherein Catholic children are taught in Catholic schools by Catholic teachers under Catholic auspices’. In other words they opposed any alteration to the existing situation.

    The Minister was still faced with the problem of non-recognition of the authority of the northern ministry by the managers and teachers of the Catholic elementary schools. However, in the autumn of 1922, the Dublin authorities announced that the payment of salaries to Catholic teachers in Northern Ireland would cease and the campaign of non-co-operation collapsed.

    The religious instruction clause in Londonderry’s 1923 Education Act drew fierce criticism from Protestant church leaders and the Protestant community in general. They wanted it clearly stated that religious instruction would be given in all primary schools that came under the control of local authorities, and that teachers would be permitted to teach religious instruction during compulsory school hours…

    The Protestant clergy and politicians were also unhappy concerning the method of appointing teachers, that is, by school managers and not by regional education committees, fearing that Catholic teachers would be appointed to Protestant schools, thereby influencing the religious instruction given to the children in their care. This opposition was spearheaded by a pressure group known as The United Education Committee of the Protestant Churches, a pressure group, founded in 1924.

    By 1928 its demands were three-fold: that bible instruction be given in primary schools; that the perceived preferential treatment meted out to Catholics in the primary education system cease and that ministers of religion be appointed to sit on regional education committees. The Education Act (NI) 1930, while not mentioning the clergy directly, allowed the Protestant clergy to maintain a share in the control of the local elementary schools although these were ostensibly under local civic control….. It also obliged teachers to give simple bible instruction, and removed the prohibition on inquiring into a teaching candidate’s religious background.

    The government’s attempt to satisfy Protestant conscience brought Catholic intervention into the education arena for the first time around this time. The Catholics sought government grants towards voluntary schools on the grounds that they had lost out financially under the terms of the Act, that is, when they changed to the voluntary school system. Under the national school system, they had received two thirds of the total amount of building and equipment costs. The government, anxious to quell further agitation, agreed in the 1930 Act to the payment of 50% grants for building expenses of privately managed schools. Catholics continued to be dissatisfied with this arrangement. However, the 1930 Education Act remained unchanged until after the Second World War.

    in 1944, proposed an increase in capital grants to schools managed by the four-and-two committees, (mainly Catholic), from 50% to 65%, and to raise heating, cleaning and maintenance costs from the previous 50% to 100%. He also proposed the provision of books free of charge, and free school milk and lunches to those children whose parents could not afford to pay. Far from being grateful, Catholic leaders had profound misgivings insisting that these proposals were further evidence of pressure being brought to bear in order to force their privately managed schools to join the state system. They demanded 100% funding for their schools on the grounds that the state schools were Protestant schools, and that they were subsidising these through the payment of 100% taxes, while receiving only 65% of the capital expenditure leaving them to raise the remaining 35%..Nor were Protestants particularly happy with the Ministry of Education at this time. Once again the United Education Committee of the Protestant Churches was lobbying for an act of worship to be introduced at the beginning of each school day, and for the provision of religious instruction for all children regardless of the type of school they attended

    Thus the government was caught in the middle of two opposing sides. Protestant education campaigners wanted state schools to be Protestant in staffing and curriculum but would not admit the principle of denominationalism, while the Catholic campaigners would not settle for anything less than the principle of denominationalism.

    More in the report

  • Jo

    ..and it isnt “social engineering” to integrate the teaching of superstition with History, Geography, Maths and Chemistry?

  • The Beach Tree

    Jo

    Oh contraire, parents are the only people who ARE qualified, since it’s their human right to choose.

  • lib2016

    Jo,

    Anti-Protestant bigotry is wrong and Sinn Fein have consistently condemned it as they have also consistently condemned racism.

    On this topic they have it right, and maybe this would be a good time for me to pay tribute to the great work being done by the Protestant churches in the South in the fight against racism.

    If I’ve caused offence to decent Protestants by condemning bigots who hide behind the Protestant churches then blame my clumsy arguments. I’m well aware and willing to admit that bigotry exists on all sides.

  • kensei

    “..and it isnt “social engineering” to integrate the teaching of superstition with History, Geography, Maths and Chemistry?”

    Nope.

  • Bill

    “Within five years we will be beginning serious talks on the Constitution for a 32-county republic and yet we still have people posting about 30 years or even ‘Nevair!’”

    Indeed, it will amusing from the point of Andrew Mc Cann suffering a heart attack! 😉

  • Crataegus

    Beech Tree

    It doesn’t say you have to provide merely that you shall not be denied the right and equally respect the right is very different from providing a system for every group imaginable.

    Also there is nothing there to say that such education cannot be within an inclusive system and I would imagine that it assumes reasonable requests from parents. Do we for example teach children that the earth is flat because some religious sect believes it to be the case?

  • Zorro

    Northern Ireland’s Catholic education system is not necessary to the Catholic church

    Wrong. The Catholic Church strongly believes that it is the combined duty of the Church, Parents and Schools, working together, to pass on the faith.

  • Jo

    ..because Zorro, were it not for the early brainwashing of children, the system of beliefs would not be deemed credible by someone immunised from it until, say, 18 or so?

  • Yoda

    Genuine question:

    If there was no religious sectarianism in schools, would history and geography lessons also be free of sticky political differences?

    A NI friend of mine (prod background) told me that she used to draw maps of NI as if it were an island, and Derry the western seaboard.

  • SlugFest

    What about the integrated schools? don’t most of them (well, the few that exist in NI) allow for religious education? have any long-term studies been done on their students (i believe the first one was started at least 20 years ago — could be wrong), as far as whether or not their graduates turn out less prejudiced?

    as an american, i just can’t see why religious education (and the myopic view of local history that goes along with the religion) in schools is so important. in fact, if it didn’t exist i truly think there’d be much less secterianism — just mix the kids together and keep the already-prejudiced parents out of it.

    i went to a catholic primary school not because my parents wanted me to learn about catholicism, but because the education was supposedly better (much smaller class sizes, etc.) i then went to a public (american public — as in state school, not eton) high/secondary school. turns out my education there was much better both from an academic point of view and a social one: i was forced to go from a tiny school where everyone had the same faith and, for the most part, had the same socio/econimic background to a huge school where all religions (okay, i admit it was mainly christians and jews), all races (egads! i had black people in my classes!), and all strands of financial backgrounds learned together — it was the best thing that could have happened to me, both as a student and a human being.

  • Realist

    Maybe someone has already asked this, but is sectarianism solely along the lines of Protestant/Catholic; doesn’t this also evolve in the Nationalist/Unionist side of the divide? I’m sure the majority of the strife could be based on religious lines, and therefore discussion of other aspects maybe moot, as certainly the two opposing sides are not mutually exclusive, but there is some grey area there. Just from personal experience I have Protestant friends (though only a hand full) who are currently supporters of, or have at least voted for, SDLP candidates. I don’t have any empirical data, but I would assume that there must be at least a single Catholic who has not voted SF or SDLP, even if it was for Alliance and not a Unionist party…

  • Zorro

    Jo,

    …were it not for the early brainwashing of children, the system of beliefs would not be deemed
    credible…

    Rightly or wrongly, the fact remains that this is view of the Catholic Church. You may disagree with the Catholic Church or any organised religion for that matter but I fail to see the logic in your argument.

    Are you suggesting our children should be educated on principles based around Relativism? Like it or loath it organised religion sets out it’s stall and offers a list of rights and wrongs. The alternative, which I feel you might be suggesting, is where each individual forms their own list of rights and wrongs. In this case, there is a different list for as many people on the earth! I would disagree with this and prefer to favour an argument based around moral absolutes.

    The organised religions may have their faults I don’t think brainwashing is one of them.

  • Jo

    Zorro

    Aint nuthin illogical about it and no, my comment wasnt aimed at one relgiion in particular.

    Either teach all religions or none at all.

    My preference is for the latter. You want a child to share your religion? Do it in your own time. If I want my child to share my interest in politics, I talk her through the news items.

    The Catholic Church believes in the “Trinity” you mention precisely b/c it is the form of social engineering which it monopolises amongst its faithful brethren, whatever they might think.

    You are as well aware as I of the Jesuit saying “Give me the child at 7 (or whatever) and I will give you the man.” A clearer statement of intent to brainwash I couldnt imagine, quite frankly.

    The hynotized never lie…(P. Townsend)

  • Sean

    Very few SF supporters transfer vote to SDLP.

    The middle ground SDLP vote is more likely to transfer to SF.

    I know many SDLP voters who let SF have the lend of their vote but now feel let down by the unwillingness to get the job done. Instead I think the next round of elections will show middle ground parties voting SDLP-UUP

    I, as a Nationalist, would rather be represented by the likes of Drmot Nesbitt than I would Catriona Ruane and I know I am not alone in that way of thinking.

  • Yoda

    I was just doing research…(P. Townsend)

  • Greenflag

    ‘The organised religions may have their faults I don’t think brainwashing is one of them. ‘

    Wrong thinking. How else can you get people to believe that cows are sacred and cannot be eaten or that we are all reincarnations of hundreds of previous lives . Just like the RC doctrine of Transubtantiation or the Free P belief that salvation cannot be achieved by good works but only through grace, organised religions have their individual credos which when raised up to the mirror of rational thinking reflect back mythical darkness and too often irredeemable ignorance .

    Man and especially woman is not always a rational animal. Religion has it ancient roots in man’s eternal quest to understand from whence he came and to where he’s going . Religion’s other contribution has been to help societies maintain social order as mankind developed complex societies.

    Science in it’s own way is a kind of religion . The difference being it relies on material evidence and objective proof for it’s credos. And it’s credos are more amenable to change based on the latest scientific discoveries .

    However all the psychiatrists in the world cannot remove the paranoid illusions of a human being whose whole basis for existence and meaning is rooted in ‘illusions’ .

  • Jo

    “Man and especially woman is not always a rational animal”

    GF, You were doing well til you came out with that….

  • Jo

    Sean
    No, you are not alone in that. Long Live Eddie!

  • Zorro

    Jo,

    Either teach all religions or none at all. My preference is for the latter

    Even in a secular society, moral education needs to be taught. Children need to learn right from wrong. With the absence of religion, who decides what is right and what is wrong? Is it left to the individual? This is Relativism. The flawed results of such an approach have left society in tatters and are all to evident when you see neighbour fighting with neighbour (one not wishing to be told by the other what is right and wrong).

  • Jo

    Zorro:

    Im sorry I cannot believe you are for real or that you do not see the irony of what you have just typed.

  • Sean

    Science and Religion are surely two sides of the same coin.

    Science asking how? Religion asking why?

    Science and Religion both help us in our understanding, but they are coming from different angles. You are wrong to suggest that religion is not rational. In my opinion, it does not require a huge leap of faith to hold the view that a higher form of non-carbon based intelligence is the “Cause” and we are the “Effect”. The intricate and complex order which binds the universe, our planet and even ourselves together, seems to suggest logic and pre-ordered design. This, for me, is easier to believe than the cosmic explosion 10 or 20 billion years ago was a simply random event. Religion is rational.

  • Zorro

    Jo,

    Please explain.

    Are you one such person who doesn’tlike to be told you’re a failing parent, or you’re wrong to drink and drive, or your music is disturbing the neighbours?

  • Jo

    Zorro:

    …*takes your hand*…ahem, in case you hadnt noticed, this society was somewhat in tatters, despite 2 groups of people being educated thoroughly in moral matters, more or less pertaining to the teaching of a man who taught that we should all love one another.

    The sacrifice of that man was invoked to justify the sacrifice of certain events 90 years ago and 25 years ago respectively. The moral absolutes taught and followed by parties to our conflict and others did not appear to reduce the tendencies to “fight and be right.” 🙂

  • Zorro

    Jo,

    I am not arguing for any one faith system in particular, indeed not all faith systems are theistic in nature. Clearly the dominant Christian religions here have failed to convey their message of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation etc. However I believe society is better for the role organised religion possess and the guidance it gives.

  • Greenflag

    ‘However I believe society is better for the role organised religion possess and the guidance it gives. ‘

    So the wars of religion which killed millions in Germany and central Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries not to mention the earlier Crusades, or the conflict between Islam and Hinduism all gave ‘guidance’ ? Even the Japanese had a civil wars based on conflict between Shintoism (animism) and Buddhism until they came to a somewhat rational economic solution which had the birth initiation rites performed a la Buddhism by Buddhist priests and the funereal rites performed by Shintoist shamen .

    It seems to me that ‘market share’ is ultimately what these wars of religion have been about . Having God declare your side the winner happens to be the first step needed for the political and economic subjugation of another tribe/nation or religion who have been unfortunate enough to have chosen the losing God.

    This aspect has been so much a part of the history of religion that we are all familar with the historical provision of indigenous peoples with bibles and crosses, in exchange for their land , lives and natural resources . In Ireland we should be particularly aware of this phenomenon.

    In Ireland the conflict for dominance between the main Churches essentially ended after the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland . From that point on the RC Church was in the ascendant at least until recent times. . Today the RC Church’s relative decline in Ireland is due to many economic and social factors not unlike those which accompanied the RC Church’s decline in France, Germany and Italy or the Anglican Church’s 20th century decline in the England .

    Call it secularism or indifference or perhaps for many if not most of us to be asked to believe that the Pope is the ‘whore ‘ of Babylon and anti Christ, or that only very good Protestants get to enter heaven whereas the majority are assigned to Limbo ? or that as a Brahman Hindu we are obliged to isolate ourselves from our family for 3 days and nights and perform various washing/cleansing rituals because a member of the Untouchable caste has inadvertently touched our body with his hand ?
    The above is just utter rubbish and ignorance disguised as ‘faith’ and given the cloak of social respectability by the ‘voodoo’ practitioners of the various religious arts.

    Stuff and nonsense may be what ‘religion’ is, but even I will admit it can have a positive influence in some lives . But there should be a constitutional ban on priests of any religion being members of Parliament . That is the path that Paisley and the Afghani and Irani Ayatollahs have trod and we can all see what their results have been ! More darkness than light IMO.

  • Nevin

    Presumably social control is one factor in the churches’ interest in the educational system.

    The current principal of Dominican College Portstewart is AFAIK the Clerk of Session in a local Presbyterian Church; many of the pupils and teachers are non-Catholic. Presumably this ‘flexibility’ is partly related to DCP’s status as a voluntary grammar school rather than coming under the jurisdiction of CCMS.

    Is it only a matter of time before the paramilitary godfathers insist on some ‘political’ education?

  • kensei

    “Is it only a matter of time before the paramilitary godfathers insist on some ‘political’ education?”

    So now, you are comparing CCMS education with that of paramilitaries. That’s a new low, even for you Nevin.

  • Jo

    kensei

    A low in the argument was previously reached when you denied that religion (your own religion, presumably) was brainwashing. Proof, I think, that the brainwashers were entirely successful.

  • Jo

    …sorry, for “brainwashing” substitute “social engineering” (Thats one for the pedants!)

  • Nevin

    Kensei, IMO religious and ‘political’ education are forms of social engineering. Some religious have certainly kept company with paramilitaries but I’d expect that the majority of them have been and are outstanding citizens.

    The impression I got from conversations with a number of Catholic student teachers down the years was that CCMS favoured students who’d been trained in Catholic institutions. As you can see, DCP has demonstrated that the sky didn’t fall in when ‘heretics’ joined the teaching staff.

  • kensei

    “A low in the argument was previously reached when you denied that religion (your own religion, presumably) was brainwashing. Proof, I think, that the brainwashers were entirely successful.”

    I don’t believe religion is brainwashing. Moral instruction and ethics is an important part of normal development. Religion is as good basis as any for it, and that goes beyong Christainity, nevermind Catholicism. If you happen to like and agree with the particular brand delivered by Catholicism, there is no reason why passing it on to your kids is a bad thing. That’s aside from any religious beliefs on salvation etc.

    My religious education covered other religions and some good and bad things about them. I think I’m right obviously, but there are other truths out there.

    Can it be bad? Of course it can when done wrong. But then atheism can be just as damaging, and I have to say there is one one thing I despise more tha crazy fundamentalists, which is atheists who must insist in going on and on and on and on and on about the evils of religion. The tradegy is they don’t see they are two sides of the same coin.

  • kensei

    “Kensei, IMO religious and ‘political’ education are forms of social engineering.”

    CCMS is not political education. The suggestion is an attempt to slur those that work in the sector.

    “Some religious have certainly kept company with paramilitaries but I’d expect that the majority of them have been and are outstanding citizens.”

    Replace religious with any other section of society and it would remain true. There is a hint of the dog whistle in your post.

    “The impression I got from conversations with a number of Catholic student teachers down the years was that CCMS favoured students who’d been trained in Catholic institutions.”

    Of course it does. People who have been through the system are more naturally likely to understand the ethos and ideals of a Catholic education, and therefore an advantage at interview. People who are Ctaholic are going to better understand a “Catholic ethos” and have an advantage at interview. And I believe here are certain requirements in terms of RE to do any teaching post at a Catholic school.

    “As you can see, DCP has demonstrated that the sky didn’t fall in when ‘heretics’ joined the teaching staff. ”

    Will having Protestant teachers cause the sky to fall in? No, and it would be a poor school that didn’t expose people to other points of view. But the danger is at some point you get a Tipping Point where the whole ethos of the school changes. Not better or worse, just different to what was originally intended.

  • Jo

    Well, I doubt that the last 37 years here would have seen hundreds killed because they were the “wrong sort of atheist” rather than “the other sort of Christian.”

    Passing what you learned on to your kids isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course.

    But as I said before, do it in your own time.

  • kensei

    “Well, I doubt that the last 37 years here would have seen hundreds killed because they were the “wrong sort of atheist” rather than “the other sort of Christian.””

    I disagree. It would have made it harder to pick people out to discriminate against them, but the difference in politics and nationality would have been enough, I think.

    “But as I said before, do it in your own time.”

    And as I said before, that’s a very Protestant view, and the only net result of the policy is to piss people off. Stop interfering.

    Though there is another point here under the surface. Catholics aren’t going to rush to dismantle the only part of the system here that has ever really worked for them – education.

  • Harry

    It’s not just religion which would be contentious here, it is control over the way history is taught too surely?

  • Stephen Copeland

    Jo,

    I doubt that the last 37 years here would have seen hundreds killed because they were the “wrong sort of atheist”

    Even though I’m a fairly militant atheist I cannot agree with that comment. Atheists are also capable of appalling behaviour – don’t forget that much of twentieth century communism was officially ‘atheist’, and that many of them killed other ‘heretic atheists’, like the Stalin-Trotsky problems.

    Think Soviet Union, think China, think Pol Pot ….

  • Jo

    Teaching right and wrong to your kids outside of school “is a very Protestant thing”?

    Wow.

    Stephen

    I didnt say atheists dont do terrible things, just that separating kids from age 4 to 18 by reference to their religion is not a good thing in a divided society.

  • kensei

    “Teaching right and wrong to your kids outside of school “is a very Protestant thing”?”

    Teaching it exclusively outside school with is a very Protestant thing. As as been pointed out numerous times on this thread, the Catholic Church lays the repsonsibility with the parents, the clergy and the school acting together.

    Nice wee bit of intellectual dishonesty, there.

  • Jo

    “the Catholic Church lays the repsonsibility with the parents, the clergy and the school acting together.”

    Nice little holistic piece of social engineering/brainwashing there.

    God forbid that parents could actually teach their kids that the Catholic Church is fallible. 🙂

    Oh and by your definition, the French education system is “Protestant.” Go figure, eh?

  • kensei

    “God forbid that parents could actually teach their kids that the Catholic Church is fallible. :)”

    So, you’ve nothing new to add, then?

    “Oh and by your definition, the French education system is “Protestant.” Go figure, eh?”

    It’s secular. It certainly isn’t Catholic and here’s the rub – doesn’t claim to be. Some advice: copying other people’s points that have already shown to be stupid is not a good idea.

  • Jo

    I didnt say it wasn’t secular, but I do think it is preferable.

    I said teaching morals and religion outside of school was preferable. You called that a very “Protestant idea.”

    I have pointed out that its the educational ethos of a country which is more than 90% Catholic.

  • kensei

    “I have pointed out that its the educational ethos of a country which is more than 90% Catholic.”

    But also fiercely secular. This has been covered.

    And if you wanted to get truly, truly anal about it, the secular nature of France stems from the Enlightenment, which stems from the Reformation.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Jo,

    I said teaching morals and religion outside of school was preferable …

    All schools teach ‘morals’ within the curriculum. What you want is for religion (i.e. the organised and systematised sort) to be taken out of schools. If a school removed ‘morals’ from its teaching, then how could it have a discipline code, respect for pupils and teachers, even a no-litter policy?

    Morals are not the same as religion. The difference I see is that many Catholics wish their children to receive their morals via their religion, whereas others (including myself) believe is a more universal moral code, which is wider in scope than any one religion.

  • Jo

    Stephen

    Yes, you and me both. Someday perhaps we may even see some Enlightenment in the Irish elite of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  • martin

    bring back the penal laws only this time make it any cunt who wears the “cloth” I for one would become a bounty hunter, and would even work weekends for nought. I would even be prepared to vacate my seat in kilkeel , when our lads have the return bout with those lithuanian, weemem stealers

  • Stephen Copeland

    Jo,

    … perhaps we may even see some Enlightenment in the Irish elite of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    I used to be C of I, and IIRC that is how they used to describe themselves as well.

    I’m less worried about the various branches of the ‘Catholic and Apostolic’ than I am about the multiple heads of the born-again hydra.

  • Nevin

    Kensie, I referred to two aspects of social engineering: religious education in, er, faith schools and political education by, er, paramilitaries. Is that beyond your ken..sie? 😉

    Around 1990 I assisted a young damsel with her GCSE Maths; I later offered to get her some past papers. I got the papers from a non-denominational voluntary grammar school; she attended a Catholic comprehensive. NI has an agreed RE syllabus but I found that both schools used London Board RE syllabii, one Catholic and the other Evangelical Protestant.

  • Jo

    Martin

    I think you must, like me, be a reincarnation of a French 1789 revolutionary. 🙂

  • kensei

    “Kensie, I referred to two aspects of social engineering: religious education in, er, faith schools and political education by, er, paramilitaries. Is that beyond your ken..sie? ;)”

    And in doing so, linked the two. There is a pile of dogs running towards your post. But I hope, were not refering to SF again anyway, otherwise we’ll to go through some rather familar “education”.

    “Around 1990 I assisted a young damsel with her GCSE Maths; I later offered to get her some past papers. I got the papers from a non-denominational voluntary grammar school; she attended a Catholic comprehensive. NI has an agreed RE syllabus but I found that both schools used London Board RE syllabii, one Catholic and the other Evangelical Protestant.”

    We did NI ones. The reason for doing London board is simple – everyone here is clued up on religion and subsequently get A* compared to the heathens in London :P.

    And talking about RE GCSE misses the point. Catholic education is about more than just exams. It’s take ethos, again.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    I’m not at all sure that the Enlightenment did not stem from the Reformation. Certainly Catholic conspiracy theorists at the time of the French Revolution thought so, but realistically it’s not the case.

    Jo, unfortunately I’m pedantic enough to point out that dechristianisation took place during 1793-4 rather than 1789. Not sure you’d wish to associate yourself with the Jacobins given your self-declared aversion to violence, although if it’s any consolation I now have an image of you as a fishwife.

  • kensei

    “I’m not at all sure that the Enlightenment did not stem from the Reformation. Certainly Catholic conspiracy theorists at the time of the French Revolution thought so, but realistically it’s not the case.”

    I can’t see how it doesn’t. I’m talking in terms of the type of ideas and thought. I don’t see how the removal of Church Authority and some of the ideas of personal conscience and exploration don’t flow directly into the Enlightenment.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    The Reformation didn’t remove church authority as such, just the authority of the church of Rome. Geneva was as harsh a theocracy as any. I agree some of the ideas of individual conscience flowed into the Enlightenment, but many of the themes of the Enlightenment were available from other sources, particularly the humanist tradition. There’s also the developments in scientific thought/natural philosophy.

    Also my personal opinion is that the Enlightenment is best seen as a response to the wars of religion. religious intolerance from all sects of Christianity had devestated Europe, and riven societies apart. In that context, ideas of individual conscience were a necessity.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, you seem to be responding to your own spin!!

    If you want to look at a potential link that might involve the Sinner paramilitaries you could do worse than look at this comment that Sean Brady identified with:

    [i]After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.[/i]

    The social control formerly exercised by the Catholic Church appears to be on the wane and the paramilitaries have picked up the baton, in a manner of speaking. Alec Reid and the Redemptorists IMO have helped shift the balance of control towards the paramilitaries in their ‘stepping stones’ proposals although that may not have been their intention.

    As the paramilitaries consolidate their power I suppose it’s conceivable that they might lean on the CCMS to incorporate ‘political education’ in the school syllabus. Is this the sort of linkage you’ve been hinting at?

  • kensei

    What the fuck are you on about? When you are actually coherent come back to me.

  • Nevin

    Chill, Kensei. The words articulated by Brady are fairly straightforward and the role played by Alec Reid is fairly well described by Ed Moloney in his Secret History of the IRA.

  • kensei

    Whoa. For a start, I never much doubt that Sean Brady is equating political nationalism with paramilitaries or indeed SF in the way you are doing. Indeed, for most of the time frame he is talking about, the leaders of Nationalism were the Nationalist Party or the SDLP. Moreover, that is true of all of Ireland, not just the North, and I further argue that there was no plan or intention in the way you are suggesting – it emerged naturally from the views and composition of the community.

    As for this:

    “The social control formerly exercised by the Catholic Church appears to be on the wane and the paramilitaries have picked up the baton, in a manner of speaking. Alec Reid and the Redemptorists IMO have helped shift the balance of control towards the paramilitaries in their ‘stepping stones’ proposals although that may not have been their intention.”

    Hardly. The IRA has moved on. The guns are gone, and not liking it doesn’t change the fat. SF as a political party has every right to be involved with the communities it represents and get this! is in almost all case MADE UP OF PEOPLE FROM THOSE COMMUNITIES. And to suggest that republicans could ever assert the type of iron grip the church did for years is frankly laughable. Oh and your are slurring Father Reid while you are at it. I believe he went mad and made some comment at the mere suggestion?

    “As the paramilitaries consolidate their power I suppose it’s conceivable that they might lean on the CCMS to incorporate ‘political education’ in the school syllabus. Is this the sort of linkage you’ve been hinting at?”

    A mad suggestion.

    So, barely coherent argument, twisted logic, baseless accusations, same endless repetition about the IRA and dog whistle accusations just the right side of libel. At least no “parapoliticians” bollocks. But hey! you know all that and are probably going for the wind up. Honestly, correcting you is a waste of my valuable, valuable time.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, when you mention ‘iron grip’ it conjures up images of iron bars being wielded by loyalist and republican paramilitaries as then enforce ‘justice’ in their fiefdoms. Now, isn’t that a lot more damaging than a bishop with a crozier?

    PS It’s amazing how you leapt from not understanding my comments to generating a vitriolic outburst!!

  • Jo

    Quite, Nevin. I’m still reeling from the absurdity of generalising that separating religious indoctrination from schooling is “a Protestant thing” not to mention the fact that Catholic education couldn’t, in a month of Sundays (?!) ever be conceived as “brainwashing.”

    Sure, only Prods are the brainwashed ones, right? 😉 As the title of the thread put it…

  • kensei

    “PS It’s amazing how you leapt from not understanding my comments to generating a vitriolic outburst!!”

    It took me resding it about ten times before I grasped that you were actually linking Catholic education with paramilitaries. I couldn’t actually believe it until your second post.

    PS As you did actually answer ab=nything I said and again just whittled on about the IRA, I assume you agree with everythijng I saiud. Ta.

    “Quite, Nevin. I’m still reeling from the absurdity of generalising that separating religious indoctrination from schooling is “a Protestant thing” not to mention the fact that Catholic education couldn’t, in a month of Sundays (?!) ever be conceived as “brainwashing.””

    Sigh. As not only I have pointed out, the responsibility of educating the child in faith lies with parents, clergy and schools which is unique to Catholicism. Q. Why did they introduce separation between Church and state in American schools? A. Prods in the US at the time didn’t want to give money to Catholic schooling.

    Of course, you think that all religion is “brainwashing”, which is fair enough, but an entirely different argument. I don’t view passing on my faith as “brainwashing”, and as plenty of similarly educated Caholics I know have become atheists, they couldn’t have done a good job.

    “Sure, only Prods are the brainwashed ones, right? 😉 As the title of the thread put it… ”

    A common tactic by you Jo, is ending you comments with “…but sure, it’s only the Prods” when I have said nothing of the sort. In fact nothing within the same planetary body. Weak.

  • Shirlow

    Belfast Gonzo states that the book I wrote with Brendan has been challenged by the work published by the CRC. This is incorrect. We do not state, and never have, that segregation is increasing. What we argue is that in certain places it has increased, that it is difficult to state that it has or hasn’t increased due to technical issues and that the terms segregated and mixed have multiple meanings.

    Please note that we have never stated otherwise and as the work published by the CRC notes the issue of increasing/decreasing segregation is too complex to call.

    There is a common misnomer that we have stated for several years that it is increasing. The reality is that some have used our work to state that we have made such a supposition. Please note that we have not.

    Gonzo, if you had read the book you would understand that our work has not been challenged by the CRC paper. Indeed this would be impossible as the CRC a) was published before our book and b) the authors of the CRC paper do not make reference to our work.

    Pete