Religion in schools. More than just Catholics

Peter Robinson’s comments on education have opened up a discussion that is solely focusing on the role of the Catholic Maintained Sector. While the discussion is worthwhile, having it without addressing other elements of religious involvement across education is dealing with less than half of the issue.

As noted in Tony Macaulay’s report on Churches and Christian Ethos in Integrated Schools:

The assumption that integrated schools would solve the sectarianism problem in Northern Ireland was a false one, a speaker told the Church of Ireland General Synod in Dublin yesterday. Canon Houston McKelvey, presenting the church’s Education Board report, said the reality of residential segregation in the North had to be acknowledged. In many parts of Northern Ireland pupils could not be integrated without a massive daily bussing operation, he said.’

(McGarry, 1999)

The segregated nature of many areas in the north would mean many schools would have single identity populations regardless of the Catholic church’s role.

However, the report refers to two other bodies with roles in bringing religion into schools; the Transferors Representatives Council (Controlled/State Sector) and the NI Council for Integrated Education.

The Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) is an unincorporated
Council with a membership from the three largest Protestant
Churches in Northern Ireland (Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and
Methodist). It was created to ensure a united voice representing
the churches
as former owners of schools transferred to the control
of the State. A statutory basis was provided maintaining the link
between the Churches and the schools
through transferor
representation on controlled school boards of governors.
This statutory representational role on boards of governors is
currently set out in schedules 4 and 5 of the Education & Library
Board Northern Ireland Order 1986. Under this Order, for example,
transferor governors comprise 4 out of 9 members on a controlled
primary school.
This right of representation on all controlled
primary and secondary schools
is now under serious threat due to
proposals arising from the Review of Public Administration.

So there is a statutory role for Protestant churches within the controlled sector and they see this role as part of delivering:

the Christian ethos as of right

It should also be noted that the Integrated sector is not a secular sector and while it educates children together it has a Christian ethos and facilitates religious instruction:

“Education together in school of pupils drawn in approximately equal numbers from the two major traditions with the aim of providing for them an effective education that gives equal recognition to and promotes equal expression of the two major traditions. The integrated school is essentially Christian in character; democratic and open in procedures and-promotes the worth and self-esteem of all individuals within the school community. The school as an institution seeks to develop mutual respect and consideration of other institutions within the educational community. Its core aim is to provide the child with a caring self-fulfilling educational experience which will enable him/her to become a fulfilled and caring adult.”

10. must seek to make them places where parents feel happy to send their children, where parents will feel secure knowing that the religious and cultural values and beliefs of their families will be respected in the school;
11. must ensure that they are founded with the consent of the parents, recognising that separate school systems for Catholics and Protestants are a basic right for families, parents and children who want them;
12. must ensure that there is opportunity for each child to be nurtured in his or her parents´ religious and cultural traditions;
15. must ensure that each integrated school community welcomes, respects and cherishes the children of parents having other or no religious convictions while remaining loyal to its own essentially Christian character;

RELIGION
The school shall provide a Christian rather than a secular approach and context.a) The children shall learn together all that we can reasonably expect them to learn together.
b) Where the school population includes significant numbers of children of a particular religious community, separate provision should be made to prepare such children for sacramental and liturgical participation in that specific religious community if their parents so wish. In addition the school shall encourage ministers of such religious communities to visit the school, take a pastoral interest in the children and get to know the parents and teachers.

So the integrated sector is commited to providing a Christian ethos in education and pandering to the wishes of those wanting religious instruction in classrooms. It also supports the right to segregated education for those that choose it.

As a final note one of only two exemptions to the European Council Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation is our education sector.

2. In order to maintain a balance of opportunity in employment for teachers in Northern Ireland while furthering the reconciliation of historical divisions between the major religious communities there, the provisions on religion or belief in this Directive shall not apply to the recruitment of teachers in schools in Northern Ireland in so far as this is expressly authorised by national legislation.

This was upheld by the courts in the case of two teachers against LAURELHILL COMMUNITY COLLEGE and SOUTH EASTERN EDUCATION and LIBRARY BOARD

Religion, specifically Christian religions, are ingrained across the entire education sector. Their influence so profound that they are permitted exemptions from equality law at European level.

If there is an examination of faith in schools, surely it must go beyond the narrow focus on the Catholic sector being generated as a result of comments from the DUP?

ADDS: Given the above I wonder if Richard Dawkins on Will Crawley’s programme was perhaps speaking from a position of ignorance on education here. He would hardly support a christian ethos integrated sector would he? I doubt Robinson was proposing secular education.

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  • Johnny Boy

    Taking religion out of state funded schools won’t sort out the segregation problem overnight, but it removes at least one impediment to integration in education and geography.

    Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church.

  • Alias

    Robinson is damaged goods after the Irisgate affair, wherein the government was able to use his Vulnerable Points to direct his party’s policy on the timing of devolution of policing and justice powers, so it isn’t coincidence that the viceroy started to play the changed tune that Robinson is now dancing to. They’re all puppet parties of the British state now…

    There isn’t any principle at issue here in regard to secular education since there isn’t even one secular school in the UK, and nobody is called for secular schools. They are calling for a continuation of segregated schools with the only change being that Christian denominations should be forced into sharing one segregated Christian schools. Since there is no principle at issue, the actual purpose of the proposed change is political.

  • Alias

    It won’t sort it out at all since the problem is separate national rights and not separte schools for the various Christian demoninations. It will, however, lead to fewer active catholics, and that is positive for the British state since the catholicism of its citizens serves to make then feel less British. It’ll be a small victory for the British state but not the wipe out of catholics that some would be hoping for.

  • Alan Maskey

    Johnny: Do you own a school? Or do the tax payers, many of whom are Catholic, own it?
    What are your views about Muslims attending your school? Muslims like to pray five times a day. If this school you own has a significant Muslim body and does not have a prayer rooom, you may probably be in breach of Equality legislation.

  • Alias

    The British state’s propaganda has always been that the problem in NI had nothing to do with national rights and the denial of them but rather that it was a religious problem and not a political problem wherein Catholics and protestants just couldn’t get along with each other.

    In promoting this propaganda, the puppet parties are now in danger of believing it. Since it is now presented again as a religious problem and not a political problem, the solution must presented along the lines of sorting out religious differences between catholics and protestants rather than addressing the issues of national rights.

  • pippakin

    If a young, five year old, child goes to school and plays and learns all day with those of any and all faiths, then even if he/she goes home to a household of religious bigots such a child would be learning all day that there is more than one faith and more than one way to live that faith.

    I’m not suggesting that any child goes home to religious bigotry I’m just pointing out the first obvious advantage of integrated education.

    It will take time but I believe it is the right way to move forward. For those who believe Irish culture and history would suffer in integrated education there is no reason for that to be allowed. It should be part of every schools curriculum to teach Gaelic sports, Irish history and Irish and Ulster Scots language. It is about inclusiveness and sharing.

  • Damian O’Loan

    It’s surprisingly necessary to point out that Robinson is not suggesting non-religious education. Someone should have told Richard Dawkins.

    It’s also not feasible to remove the Catholic schools sector against the wishes of the CC, SF & the SDLP. All of which are more conservative than the average voter. In that respect, it’s not such a progressive move from Robinson and it’s silly that it’s been depicted as such.

    The best that can be expected until those organisations regenerate is continued integrated housing increases – as parents choose results over religion – and more cooperation between schools.

    Republicanism would benefit though from seriously reconsidering its relationship with Catholicism. Aside from more secularism in the South, parties in the North should be working to make republicanism open to all religions. It’s foolish to tie yourself to a sinking ship that places a direct contradiction at the heart of your ideology.

  • So has religion got nothing to do with the question of nationality in Northern Ireland?

  • John East Belfast

    Keith

    There is no question that the Irish problem of today has its routes in the European religious wars of the 16th and 17th Centuries.

    Hence National allegiance was defined laregly along religious lines.

    However the conflict today is not about the mass, popery etc but purely about nationality and identity. The religious bit is largely irrelevant for anyone other than the Free Ps and certain “strange” catholics – Alan Maskey on this site gives us such noises every now and again.

    Nevertheless today’s national identity split still falls neatly along religious lines and hence religious schools – depending on your point of view – either reinforce or simply reflect that reality.

    Hence there are several arguments all going on at the same time on this issue. You have secularists who simply think that religion should not be “controlling” schools at all and the Catholic hierarchy who will have the opposing view.

    Then you have certain republican types who clearly see that the 6 county republican identity is kept alive via the Cathoklic School system. Any watering down of the latter will simply perpetuate a Northern ireland identity – which they fear most.
    Certain unionists agree with them and hence are happy for Robinson to make such mischief.

    Other unionists dont want a watering down of the State system as it largely reinforces at least a NI friendly identity if not a UK one and hence full scale integrated education and a resultant “neutral” environment with Protestants playing Gaelic Games etc could back fire – Martin McGuiness might be thinking along those lines.

    It is a can of worms.

    My view is we have enough problems at the minute – in terms of industry and jobs – to start letting Stormont screw up our education system anymore than they have done so already. After the 11+ shambles would you be happy with them getting involved in a massive socioal engineering project – especially as the Protestant Ministers in this thread have pointed out that our segregated living would mean a massive school transport problem.

    Robinson is clearly playing politics – he knows this will go nowhere and the Catholic Church are the ones being seen as intransigent and will be the fall guys. He will be seen as moderate and try and move onto the ground everyone is being told is being vacated by the UUP. The DUP is getting positive publicity whilst the UUP leader is being stabbed in the back By certain elements from within.

  • Alan Maskey

    John EB: Yours is not a bad post, all things considered.

    Please do not conflate Provosim and Irish Catholicism, as is the wont of certain Prods.
    One of the Provos’ biggest historical villains is Daniel O’Connell, who is a RC icon.
    The Northern Provos are territorial and want to rule their roost. Two of their biggest hurdles are the RC Church and the GAA Church, both of which dwarf them. This has been so all through the Troubles.
    There is no such thing as a Northern Ireland identity and there never will. At the Commonwealth games, NI had Irish Catholic boxers (one of whom won a medal with Ireland) and a Belgian cyclist. When the Irish RCs won their golds, they played Danny Boy.
    Mainland Ulster want that replaced with GTSQ and for it to be played at GAA and rugby matches. But the English have it already. The Taffs have their song and their strong traditions; the Jocks, outside of Celtic, sound stupid singing Flower of Scotland but they are striving, vainly I would say, for an identity.
    Outside of the Old Firm, John Knox, a bit of canny banking, haggis and New Year, they find it tough going.
    NI has none and never will have any.
    The Provos are an all Ireland group as are the GAA and the RCC is pan national. Try as Unjionists might, they are flogging a dead horse.

  • John East Belfast

    Alan Maskey

    “John EB: Yours is not a bad post, all things considered”

    That is awfully nice of you to say so I am sure

    “Please do not conflate Provosim and Irish Catholicism, as is the wont of certain Prods.
    One of the Provos’ biggest historical villains is Daniel O’Connell, who is a RC icon.
    The Northern Provos are territorial and want to rule their roost. Two of their biggest hurdles are the RC Church and the GAA Church, both of which dwarf them. This has been so all through the Troubles.”

    Not that I am want to defend the Provos I think they want a 32 County Irish Republic and I cant see how the RC Church and GAA are a hurdle to that aim – indeed they want to use them both to foster a 32 County Irish identity and act as a buffer against the NI State.

    “There is no such thing as a Northern Ireland identity and there never will”.

    You are totally in denial at that one – I cant speak for the Catholic community – as I said that is the point of RC education and GAA in some minds and to some extent it works – but in the Protestant/unionist community the NI identity is very strong and getting stronger actually

    BTW – that Belgian cyclist is from County Antrim and married to a Dutch man actually – that is her married name

    “Mainland Ulster want that replaced with GTSQ and for it to be played at GAA and rugby matches”.

    Dont know what you are talking about ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s also not feasible to remove the Catholic schools sector against the wishes of the CC, SF & the SDLP. All of which are more conservative than the average voter. In that respect, it’s not such a progressive move from Robinson and it’s silly that it’s been depicted as such.

    I’m very confused. How does the opposition of SF/SDLP/CC determine whether or not Robinson’s “move” (hardly a “move”, it was a short speech) is a progressive one ?

  • aquifer

    Robinson is playing to the US where the state is forbidden to support religious schools. One thing they got right.

  • Tweedybird

    Well said, I know the logistics of integrated education would be massive, but your comments “If a young, five year old, child goes to school and plays and learns all day with those of any and all faiths, then even if he/she goes home to a household of religious bigots such a child would be learning all day that there is more than one faith and more than one way to live that faith.” are a vailade point.
    After reading most of the posts regarding this subject, i would apeal to those bloggers to get the massive chip of their shoulder and for once think of the future of all our children.

  • Alan Maskey

    Aquifier: Would it be better if they suppressed religion altogether, or maybe introduced Penal laws?
    Is it right, incidentally, Americans kids have to swear allegience to a flag every morning? Is that a gbetter god? The god whjo orders ar on Iraqis and Afghans and heaps more down the years?

  • pippakin

    Tweedybird

    Thank you. I know and understand that it rouses strong feelings but mostly those feelings are engendered by the past. It is all an adult experience of what was rather than what a child’s experience aught to be. I completely agree with your parting sentence: “i would apeal to those bloggers to get the massive chip of their shoulder and for once think of the future of all our children.”

  • GoldenFleece

    Yeah Alan Maskey, the US has seperation of church and and is one of the most religious countries in the West. Total suppression of religion there alright.

  • GoldenFleece

    CS how come we have not heard a peep from Alliance on this issue??

    Worried they might upset the trough?? 🙂

  • Halfer

    A child comes from a good progressive family background, free from religious bigotry and goes to an integrated school and is bullied for a being a dirty Hun/Fenian. Hence we see one of the initial downfalls in integrated education.

  • Mickles

    As an ex pupil of a Catholic primary and Catholic Grammar school I can confirm that they suck balls and I think all religions should be educated together. It’ll probably never happen but it should. I remember even in primary school seeing ‘IRA’ etched on many desks, same in Grammar – in my experience these schools breed sectarianism, I saw it all over the place, in myself even until I had enough cop on to think for myself.

    Many students in the Grammar were raised Catholic up to around age 13 solely to get them into the place for good schoolin – it’s a total sham and everyone knows it. To be honest I feel I and everyone else would have been better off in an integrated. I just don’t think it’s fair to force a religion down anyone’s throat, especially an impressionable youth, for the sake of a decent school. Also there were no chicks which was lame.

  • John East Belfast

    Mickles

    But the school didnt teach them to write IRA on the desk – they brought that mindset in from outside.

    What is going to happen when someone with that mindset is sitting across the table from someone who would really want to write UVF on the desk ?

    Do you not think Teachers have enough problems to deal with than to manage that type of problem ?

    And the voluntary integration we have now is not a good model to judge how things would work out later

  • pippakin

    Halfer

    Yep, bullying happens in all schools and probably all societies. indeed some have gone so far as to say that MMcG had a bit of a reputation as school bully.

    All schools, whatever their faith, should try to prevent all bullying.

  • Mickles

    That’s true, it’s not entirely the schools’ fault, and I can’t deny there’d be teething problems but in 5-10 years I think full on integration would breed out the sectarianism which is rife in single religion schools – and it IS rife.

    My generation (I’m 27) never really knew the troubles, except in our youth – and these school have us bred into a ‘them and us’ mentality, which I think is a major contributor to the apathy and frustration with the system of goverment at the minute (see http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/10/20/a-large-proportion-of-the-general-public-in-northern-ireland-do-not-feel-engaged-with-the-current-system-of-governance/).

    This segregated mentality is then re-enforced by the current batch of politicians we seem to be stuck with, where you have one side always having a go at the police, or defending horrific acts of violence, or covering up for criminals, and the other side constantly making incendiary remarks and wanting to allow religion to dictate law!

    Is it any wonder the sane, reasonable people of this part of the world do not feel engaged with the current system of governance when we’ve been made to think segregation is the norm from birth???

    Integrate all schools and in 20 years sectarianism becomes a tragic part of the past. And we all get laid.

  • Driftwood

    Much simpler to have a 2 tier system

    All the ‘Bright’ pupils go to grammar schools with a completely secular ethos and no sky pixie element attached.

    http://www.the-brights.net/

    All the thickos go to ‘faith’ schools and colour in pictures of baby jesus with his virgin ma etc.

    problem solved.

  • Mickles

    DEAL!

  • Driftwood

    The teachers can read the Daily Mail while the dims sing kumbaya in Irish or Ulster Scots

  • White Horse

    Damian

    “Republicanism would benefit though from seriously reconsidering its relationship with Catholicism.”

    Ideological nationhood and universalism are polar opposites in theory. The practice has been for republicanism to promise every sort of sweet bun and applie pie to dress up its allegiance to the Nation in order to fool the naive into believing that it is a religion just like Catholicism. The truth is that Irish republicanism has a moral flaw that has ensured that the only significant gain it made in its history, the “freedom” of the 26 counties, has come to nothing in terms of social justice and indeed the reality of its ideology has been left bare in the Irish state, an obsession with the National interest at the expense of social progress.

  • Golden Aviator

    The invasions of Afghanistan and Gulf War 2 were ordered by George W. Bush were they not? He said that Jesus was his favourite political philosopher.

  • doire abu

    Mickles – 5-10 years I think full on integration would breed out the sectarianism which is rife in single religion schools – and it IS rife.

    The big flaw in your argument is that many people here live in areas which are not mixed. Non-faith schools in these areas will still be one religion. Think of the west bank of Derry, or Newtonards. Who are Derry’s Shantallow Catholics going to integrate with, unless you bus them somewhere? Integration may be help nurture tolerance among yong people but it is only part of a bigger cocktail of things, chief of which in my view is what happens at home.

    There is a lot of vastly over-hyped claims of how integrated education will dramatically change attitudes. Much of it is just to have a pop at the Catholic Church, The facile argment goes, “if only it kept it’s nose out of education then sectarianism would disappear”. Well, I attended Catholic schools for 14 years and can truthfully say that it had no input to the development of my political outlook. Religion wasn’t shoved down my throat. My 2 closest friends and I attended this same school. None of us are practicing Catholics, so much for brain washing. The 3 of us have differing political outlooks. We don’t see our attendance at Catholic schools, and sending out kids there too, as participating in some form of apartheid. We see the comment exactly for what it is, playing to base instincts. If the comment was intended to genuinely stimulate debate the ludicrous term ‘apartheid’ wouldn’t have been used.

  • jim

    the kids have to come home after school.i dont want my kids breathing the same air as the other side im proud to be a bigot and if the truth is told so is a lot of other people it aint gonna work

  • Driftwood

    Non-faith schools in these areas will still be one religion.

    That’s a cracker.

    Protestant atheists and Catholic atheists and/or errr…Atheist atheists? Assuming you can be a non practicing atheist, care to elaborate?

  • White Horse

    Let’s all be shallow, Driftwood. Lol

  • doire abu

    My kids mix with protestant kids, they go to a mixed creche, have always done, and do sports with mixed groups. I am glad that this happens and I try to ensure that at home there is no mono culture.

    I would have no problem with a single, mixed education, so long as this wasn’t a mono culture environment. At the minute there is no hope that this will happen. Robinson directed his fire at Catholic education. Let us see him direct some more energy seeking to ensure that the state system will let my kids play all the sports they do outside school.

  • doire abu

    Driftwood I assume that a state school a non-faith school, not having a single-religion ethos.

  • Anon

    You might think religion is a hotrrible evil Mickles, but given many people don’t, it’s none of your business to tell them how to raise your kids. I’m sure you can go find somewhere else to poke your nose.

    I also went to a Catholic Primary and Grammar. What I got was the benefit of a good education in a good environment. Did I ever see “IRA” written on a table? Sure. But as pointed out, that came form the outside in.

    I note as well, however, that your Catholic education hasn’t impaired your ability to make up your own mind. Odd then, that so many that complain about Catholic Church brainwashing have been through the system.

  • Anon

    Didn’t Yugoslavia have mixed schooling? I assume it did as it was a Communist country. If so, great advert for education solving everything.

  • Driftwood

    Unfortunately Doire, as someone pointed out and this link to the (English) curriculum:
    http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/subjects/re/worship/
    All schools here (FE Colleges excepted) have to include an element of superstitious guff- otherwise called ‘faith’- to be within the(UK) law.
    The NI Assembly has the power to change this. Now that Peter Robinson has discovered that Richard Dawkins talks more sense than Pastor McConnell, the wind of change may be about to blow across Ulster.

  • Neil

    The NI Assembly has the power to change this.

    Hmmm do they? European law has been quoted here that suggests they cannot. Nor would they want to as well you know. The anti-abortion, pro creationist displays at Ulster Museum & Causeway etc. suggests that the Christians are still in charge around these parts.

    Now that Peter Robinson has discovered that Richard Dawkins talks more sense than Pastor McConnell

    LOLZERS. If he ever did think that, privately, I would sincerely doubt he would voice the thought, until such times as he retires from politics.

  • Why should any Catholic allow his child to be taught by a person who regards religion as “superstitious guff”?

    It is strange how often the supporters of integrated education use language and arguments which actually support the case for Catholic control over the education of Catholics.

  • Neil

    It is strange how often the supporters of integrated education use language and arguments which actually support the case for Catholic control over the education of Catholics.

    It’s particularly likely in this case as, for once, those Loyalist/Unionist folk who are inclined towards the removal of the Catholic education sector and forcing everyone into “integrated” state schools have aligned themselves with militant athiests who are as certain in the lack of a God as some are in the presence of one.

    Thing is I think we can safely dismiss the suggestion that Robbo would prefer a secular education system, that would be so far out of the box in NI it would make Iris’ tete a tete look mundane. So the two groups are on the same side (attack, attack, attack) while having two different objectives.

    One side wanting all religion removed from school, and the other side wanting access to all the kids so they can be indocrinated as UK citizens and have all vestiges of Republican ideology erased.

    All of which is a moot point, as it can’t happen, due to that pesky European Court ruling saying that all parents have the right to choose a school where their children can be taught in the ethos of their faith.

  • Driftwood

    Looks like the French will have to leave the EU then:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_France

    Religious instruction is not supplied by public schools. Laïcité (secularism) is one of the main precepts of the French republic. Pupils therefore have civics courses to teach them about la République, its function, its organisation, and its famous motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity).
    In a March 2004 ruling, the French government banned all “conspicuous religious symbols” from schools and other public institutions with the intent of preventing proselytisation and to foster a sense of tolerance among ethnic groups.
    Since 1905, France has had a law requiring separation of church and state, prohibiting the state from recognising or funding any religion. Schools directly operated by the national or local governments must not endorse or promote any religious dogma (whether endorsing an existing religion or endorsing atheism or any other philosophy). Schools funded totally or in part by the national and local governments by law must not force students into religious education; they should remain equally accessible to children of any, or no, faith. For example, even though a majority of the population nominally professes Catholicism (although far fewer regularly practise Catholicism),[2] government-operated French schools have no communal prayers, religious assemblies, or Christian crosses on the walls. The Constitution of France says that France is a laïque (roughly, secular) Republic.

  • Neil

    I was working from this piece of info provided by Anne Warren:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdfArticle 14
    Right to education
    1. Everyone has the right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training.
    2. This right includes the possibility to receive free compulsory education.
    3. The freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles and the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of such freedom and right.

  • There is more, much more, that the European Court of Human Right (the other European Court, the European Court of Justice has no authority over education) to stop integrated education being imposed on Catholics. Ulster Catholics will not allow it to happen – just as in the 1830s Ulster Presbyterians would not allow it to be imposed on them. And Catholics are a much bigger proportion of Northern Ireland’s population that Presbyterians were in the population of Ireland.

  • There are Catholic schools in France and, contrary to general belief, they do receive some funding from the State.

    It is a pity that the State schools of Northern Ireland are not religiously neutral like their French, Dutch and American counterparts.

  • In early 1993 the “Dispatches” programme on Channel 4 dealth with Bosnia and its on-going civil war. Mulsim women who had been gang-raped by Serb soldiers were interviewed. Among other things, they named the rapists. When asked how they knew the names of their rapists, they answered “We were at school with them. They were our classmates”.

  • Golden Aviator

    So what would be the difference between integrated schools and the French Dutch and American schools you describe as “religiously neutral”?

  • lamhdearg

    it would be a step in the right direction.

  • lamhdearg

    Golden
    i know little about the Dutch and French systems (i know little full stop.) in the u.s.a. state schools do not teach religion and church schools receive no state/federal money, in ulster intergrated schools do teach religious ed.

  • abucs

    A state education system which legislates that no religion can be present, cannot in any logical way be said to be neutral on religion.

    If you want the state to be “neutral” on religion and you want the state to control more and more social services then you are in fact arguing for a social engineering of society to remove religion.

  • In France, Holland and the USA the State schools are not controlled by the Protestant churches. In Northern Ireland, they are.