One School of Thought Campaign launch open letter calling for Integrated Education

The One School of Thought Campaign has sent an open letter to our MLAs calling on them to reform education here. The group is pro integration: they call on the Education Minister to:

To establish a Commission in this Assembly term. This Commission should be charged with:
• Bringing forward recommendations to resolve all the outstanding issues in education;
• Ensuring that these recommendations shape a system fit for the 21st Century in which all children learn and are taught together in their local area.

In addition they call for the minister:

• To establish an area based planning framework that includes local people as well as other educational stakeholders to plan education on the basis of demand and demonstrable need;
• To ensure that all schools and communities are actively supported in developing local solutions which encourage meaningful sharing between and within schools;
• To remove any impediments, legislative or procedural, that would hinder greater sharing in education.

The letter is signed by a wide variety of people including actress Joanna Lumley, ex political candidate Trevor Ringland, businessman Diljit Rana and comedian Tim McGarry. An Anthony McIntyre is also included though it not clear if it is the well known blogger and IRA murderer of that name as it is spelt differently. In addition assorted organisations such as the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, the Institute of Directors and Cooperation Ireland amongst others have signed the letter.

It is unclear to what extent the campaign associates itself with Peter Robinson’s calls for integrated education though there seem to be significant areas of agreement. Nor does the campaign comment directly on the issue of selective education where its views may be different.

Whether John O’Dowd will support the campaign’s aims is far from clear. O’Dowd has previously attacked Peter Robinson’s call for integrated education though he has stated: “The principle of children going to school together, no-one can argue against.”

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  • Nunoftheabove

    It’s a fairly barren website, is there any particular reason for that which we know about ? By the way it’s probably just an error but if it is ‘that’ Anthony McIntyre they’ve spelt his name wrongly on the open letter page.

    I believe SF might find themselves isolated over this unless they get their position straight on this issue, the last time I could be bothered listing to them on this they were rigidly hiding behind a parental choice argument as justification for not fully weighing in behind integration. This is unimpressive.

  • Turgon

    Nun,
    Thanks for that. I have removed McIntyre’s name pending clarification lest it is a different one.

  • lamhdearg

    if only.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Turgon

    It could well be him but discretion’s probably the better part of valour so fair call.

  • keano10

    “Fair call” ???

    Surely it would have been better journalistic practice to verify the identity of a person before labelling them an “IRA murderer”…

  • Turgon

    Well “that” Anthony McIntrye is indeed an IRA murderer

  • lamhdearg

    i dont care if satan signed it, it still is the way to go.

  • There is no such thing as value-free education (Rev Norman Hamilton).
    Integrated Education will probably come about in 50 yers time or so but thankfully not yet.

  • Mac

    It’s definitely spelled Anthony McIntyre.
    I got the correct spelling from David Vance’s facebook friends list 🙂

  • I don’t believe that integrated education will come about by agreement by the RCC. It will come about inevitably eventually by parents taking the initiative themselves. Limavady Grammar School is a great example. The state curriculum does need to teach Irish history and culture. Perhaps it does so already.

  • Stu DeNimm

    Why the oddly totalitarian-sounding name? Wouldn’t it make more sense to emphasize that parents who may have widely divergent opinions about religion or politics can nonetheless safely send their children to the same schools?

  • Turgon, do you suppose there’s much overlap between IEF and Platform for Change?

  • RyanAdams

    Long overdue.

    Integration teaches tolerance of others beliefs and allows children to build friendships with children from other religious and political backgrounds. Schools dominated almost entirely by one religion or background often just allow for sectarianism to fester.

    I have my own suspicions for Sinn Feins motives here.

  • abucs

    Can you back your assertions up with peer reviewed statistical evidence RyanAdams?

    I wrote a couple of essays at Uni on this subject and couldn’t find any research which backed up your comments.

  • Michael Gillespie

    What is the ethos of an integrated school?
    The educational issue that bedevilles integrated education is what should be taught in the religious curriculum and how it should be taught. Robin Wilson chairman for the Platform for Change writes about the religious curriculum in integrated schools in the Belfast Telegraph thus: –
    “They (the pupils) should learn about world religions and choose which, if any, they wish to subscribe to in adult life.”
    This is the approach of secular humanists to the religious curriculum in what should be taught and how it should be taught. This is now the ethos of state schools in England and in these schools the study of Christianity is one course among many. No doubt such an ethos will turn out a generation of Secular humanists across the water. But the approach of secular humanists to the religious curriculum is one of intolerance because it is a principle of U.K. education that the pupil should be taught according to the wishes of the parent not the wishes of secular humanists. If the parent is a convinced secular humanist then the off-spring should be educated in the manner outlined by Collin Wilson. But to be realistic society contains convinced Hindus Sikhs Buddhists Muslims Christians and atheists and people of such religious conviction would wish to pass their conviction to their off-spring because they consider their religious conviction to be of value. In India are the children of convinced Hindus and Sikhs and the children of convinced Muslims in Iran offered these religions as one choice among many? I doubt it. These people value their religious conviction too highly to treat it like that. Those people who wish to pass their valued religious convictions to their off-springs should be free to do so. One way of doing this is schooling.
    John O Dowd has said that the principle of integrated education cannot be argued against. This is fair comment but the quandary outlined in the teaching of religion may explain why only 7% of the school population go to integrated schools in N. Ireland. There is in N. Ireland a sizeable population (perhaps a majority) who are either convinced Catholics or convinced Protestants. What then should be the ethos of an integrated school where the school population comes from a convinced Catholic and Protestant background?
    The contention of this commentary is that the ethos of an integrated school in N. Ireland should be Christian Ecumenism This should be the spirit and core value of the school. Ecumenism is accepted not only by the main Christian Churches but also by non-Christian religions as well. In integrated schools with a Christian Ecumenical ethos the school should promote unity among the Churches or at least stress the need for co-operation tolerance an d understanding among the Christian Churches and with all other faiths. Towards that end the religious curriculum in Integrated schools should be designated Christian Studies and these studies should include a consideration of non-Christian religions world wide. Attendance at Christian Studies should not be compulsory in an integrated school. Where a parent objects in conscience to what is being taught in Christian Studies or how it is being taught the parent should be free to take the pupil from Christian Studies and have the pupil educated privately in religion in the home, in a Church in a Mosque, Synagogue, or Temple. N. Ireland should offer a state examination in Christian Studies at GCSE and A level the syllabus containing studies in ethics and moral philosophy. Integrated schools of this sort would be in keeping with the Christian tradition of Ireland and also would be a corrective to the tendency of the Irish to have too much religion and too little Christianity. Michael Gillespie

  • Local hack

    Integrated and fully comprehensive education funded by the state should be one of those human rights we always hear about.
    Every child, irrespective of background or ability should have the exact same standard of education up until a point where there education needs are dictated by their ability – for an example at 14 they either attend a technical college to become electricians and plumbers or senior school for doctors and lawyers.
    It is barbaric that the taxpayer funds education that selects the best and gives them the best.
    And if the church wants to instil its doctrine onto children from a young age it can do on its own, but without cash from the state

  • Irishlassabroad

    Is there a legal requirement to have any sort of religious education in schools? If not why do we not just not have the subject at all and let any religious instruction be done outside school hours by family or at Sunday schools?

  • Stu DeNimm

    Let parents force whatever religion they choose on their kids outside of school and without the taxpayers’ money. As the bumpersticker over here says, “don’t pray in my school and I will promise not to think in your church.”

  • Irishlassabroad,

    It’s not just an issue of religion but Irish culture. I would prefer no direct religious instruction on dogma; just a general discussion of the role of religion in people’s lives worldwide.

  • Nunoftheabove

    joeCanuck

    If it is it’s among the aspects of culture we should be leaving behind. Does anyone know if any mainstream school has a halfway decent program in ethics and morality being taught currently at secondary level or do we continue to ‘have to’ make do with the same old tired poor ethics and immorality of religion via RE classes ?

  • Michael Gillespie

    Irishlassabroad
    There is no objection in principle to your suggestion that the ethos of the school be secular with religion taught outside the school. This is the curricular set-up in state schools in France and America and one must assume that it is the democratic wish of parents in those countries to have their children educated in schools of this kind.
    Integrated education was introduced into Ireland in 1832 Education Bill which set up National Schools in Ireland in which “Catholic and Protestant children would be educated in the same school and would form friendships that would last throughout life.” Protestant Ulster rebelled against the new integrated schools on sectarian grounds and the schools were divided into Catholic Schools with a Catholic ethos and Protestant schools with a Protestant ethos. This sectarian set-up became the democratic wish of Irish parents Protestant and Catholic alike.
    There should now be a return to the integration principle of the 1832 Bill but it remains the democratic wish of parents in this country to have their children educated in schools with a religious ethos. Since this is so it would be undemocratic to impose a system of schooling with a secular ethos as in France and America against the wishes of parents who want schools with a religious ethos.
    IN my previous commentary on integrated education I suggested a way in which the democratic wish of Catholic and Protestant parents for schools with a religious ethos can be catered for in integrated schools with a Christian ecumenical ethos. I hope this helps.
    Michael Gillespie

  • Nunoftheabove,

    I like your suggestion about teaching ethics and morality instead of religion. Yet I think that it would be nigh impossible to set a curriculum. Just a few examples, are the following moral or immoral: masturbation, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, assisted suicide?

  • Nunoftheabove

    joeCanuck

    It could provide the basis for the young’uns making their own mind up within more rational parameters than religion could ever possibly provide, surely a cornerstone of proper preparation for health, wellbeing and living a useful adult life, by, say, teaching a framework for moral decision making.

    This could, inter alia, cover an adequate and practical understanding of:

    • the utilitarian approach
    • the fairness/justice approach
    • the common-good approach
    • the rights approach
    • the virtue approach

    It could also extend to ethical problem solving. For example, a highly simplified consideration of these approaches suggest that once people do the graft and establish the facts to the best of their knowledge, they should ordinarily ask themselves 5 questions when trying to resolve a moral issue:

    #1 What benefits and what harms will each course of action produce, and which alternative will lead to the best overall consequences?

    #2 What moral rights do the affected parties have, and which course of action best respects those rights?

    #3 Which course of action treats everyone the same, except where there is a morally justifiable reason not to, and does not show favouritism or discrimination?

    #4 Which course of action advances the common good?

    #5 Which course of action develops moral virtues?

    This wouldn’t be moral instruction but rather enlightening young minds as to a reasonable rational way of leading their lives, making (or is it taking, I never quite remember ?) ethically sound moral decisions and provide a rational basis for regarding one another irrespective of their background. In the end, they have to learn to deliberate on moral issues for themselves, keeping a careful eye on both the facts and on the ethical considerations involved. It would other help escort us away from this obsessional over-dependence or a purely rights-based approach.

    It seems to Nun that it might inspire a little more consideration of, as it were, true morality than empty fairytales about burning bushes, revolting stories about the horrid torture of deluded young Jewish males, guilt trips about wanking and bullshit about what amounts to esteeming sectarian demagogues and in effect jihadists in the name of ‘tolerance and diversity’ and such like.

    Got any legs y’think ?

  • Nun,

    I like it.

  • lamhdearg

    “Just a few examples, are the following moral or immoral: masturbation, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, assisted suicide?”, is that what was talked about in R.E. in your school days joe?. Now about dropping the R.E., and giving the time over to the teaching of the laws of the land.
    “Protestant Ulster rebelled against the new integrated schools on sectarian grounds” please provide a link to where i can read more about this, the irish state archives site on “national schools 1832” seams not to mention that, the only thing i can find (through goggle) is a Blog/post by Michael Gillespie, any relation.

  • RyanAdams

    Can you back your assertions up with peer reviewed statistical evidence RyanAdams?

    I wrote a couple of essays at Uni on this subject and couldn’t find any research which backed up your comments.

    Yes abucs, I attended a state (protestant) primary school and then an integrated college. It was this transition that taught me many myths and legends about “themmuns” were not true.

    My closest friends are catholics, If I attended a protestant secondary, I doubt that would be the case.

    That might not be the case with all pupils who have come through integrated education, but it is with me.

    So Abucs, when you talk about statistics, I suggest you take a more qualititive approach (interviews, personal accounts, open minded questionnaires) to this kind of research and you will yield what you seek.

    And i’m pretty sure many people who have come through integrated colleges will back me up on the tolerance aspect.

  • No, lamhdearg; I was talking about teaching morals and ethics, not RE.
    I actually always got high marks in RE exams in my first few years then got physically assaulted for daring to suggest that an all knowing all powerful god meant that we were predestined and that free will was a load of bunkum.

  • lamhdearg

    “And i’m pretty sure many people who have come through integrated colleges will back me up on the tolerance aspect.” I think you will find some/many of us that did not, will also back you up.

  • lamhdearg

    @ joe,
    those R.E. teachers could be a rough lot, i also got a slap and was put out of R.E. for the last three years of school, for asking to many Q, i had a aunt who was a jehovah witness, who without knowing gave me lots of ammo.

  • Michael,

    It may be the freely expressed wish of many people to have a religious education for their child. This is their right. But if they want other taxpayers to help pay for it, they will need to compromise. The current compromise (separate schools for all) is failing on several levels: it costs too much and it perpetuates our divided society. Hiding behind the argument “but that’s what parents want” is avoiding the issue.

    The following might make for interesting reading:

    http://www.historyireland.com/volumes/volume9/issue1/features/?id=263

  • minervabradley

    lamhdearg- can’t provide any evidence for a campaign against national schools (which required both Protestant and Catholic signatories in setting up a school) but see Bardon 2005 for details of the campaign against the Education Act of 1947.

    The focus here is on integration of (primarily) Protestants & Catholics- but what about the integration of kids with special needs with their mainstream peers? If it’s acknowledged that segregation & lack of communiction leads to lack of respect/understanding with typically developing kids, why is it ok to segregate them from kids with disabilities?

  • lamhdearg

    Is there a link minervabradley, or do i need to get the book.”why is it ok to segregate them from kids with disabilities?” at the risk of sounding the ba****d that depends on the disabilities.

  • minervabradley

    Sorry lamhderg, no link. It’s a very small part of a very big book – ‘A History of Ulster’- so unless you really enjoy reading history, rather than buy it, nip down to your library & take a look through it. The History Ireland was a great link to the earlier bit of bother over non-sectarian education- thanks Andrew.

    As for the disabilties issue- sure, there are going to be some kids with profound needs who need very specialised education & support, probably in specialist classrooms. But why should that be on a separate site, away from their brothers/sisters/neighbours? Are people concerned their kids will be frightened? The biggest way to make your kids frightened of children with disabilities is to make sure they never meet any in ‘normal’ circumstances like school- whether in the playground, assembly, dinner hall, swimming pool, classroom, whatever. If you can teach ‘reconciliation’ to kids you can teach inclusion!

  • lamhdearg

    Agreed, on the kids.
    local library not that big on history.

  • minervabradley

    You can request it if your library doesn’t have it- the librarian will love you, demonstrates footfall or whatever they call it when the next round of library closures looms. Bardon quotes Lord Glentoran in the very nasty debate on
    Hall-Thompson’s Education Bill at Stormont in 1946: ‘The trouble about us here in Ulster is that we get excited by religion and drink’. Not much changes really.

  • abucs

    RynaAdams the qualitative approach can be very unrepresentative and used to make the author’s point.

    Christianity has created modern Europe, be that intellectually through the school and University system, or socially through hospitals, charities and social services etc.

    The push for the best in our culture has come through our
    Churches. It is the incessant attack on our Churches by anti-religious failed Marxists that continue to be the biggest threat to our future.

    If the non religious really want schools and Universities based on their ideology then let them build them themselves like the Chrsitians have. The state can even give them a hand, proportinate to their numbers. But to want to take over the whole education system and dictate its policies smacks of the worst of narrow minded totalitarianism.

    It is quite obvious that they cannot build a culture by themselves from the ground up the way Christianity can and has. Such a failed and outdated ideology can only be parastical on an existing Christian culture.

    The anti religious state only approach was not just a failure in the last century but it was the biggest human rights disaster the world has ever known.

    Artistic, intellectual and social fields went backwards and community collapsed from within.

    Whether the anti religious wish to acknowledge it or not Christianity has created a viable intellectual culture. That culture has shown itself to quickly deteriate when state-only anti Christain ideology holds sway be that from Portugal to Russia to Ethiopia to Zimbabwe to Mexico to Nazi Germany.

  • minervabradley

    abucs- happy to accept the overall premise that Christianity shaped modern Europe, but you could go round in circles on the detail-which bit of Christianity did what, because for sure none of them will agree- it was the ‘Protestant work ethic’ that shaped modern Europe, or was it the Counter Reformation and the Spanish Inquisition? Or all the wars they kept having with monarchs of different (Christian) religions? Each bit of Christianity believes it alone has the truth & so sets up exclusive education systems to perpetuate it. Won’t even go near some of the stuff that has produced- which brings us back to the original post…

  • You’re skating close to Godwin, abucs. Anyway, it is a myth that nazi Germany was an atheistic regime – if anything it was religiously eclectic. And by your standards the USA is one of those “failed Marxist regimes” because it mandates the separation of church and state.

    Your history of western civilisation is also flawed. Yes, the churches achieved many good things. But for centuries they were the only show in town. Equally, many other great advances were achieved in the teeth of opposition from the churches: astronomy, biology, equal suffrage.

    Do not mix up atheism and secularism. Yes, atheists are often the most vocal proponents of secularism, but that does not mean that the religious cannot benefit too. Turn the argument on it’s head – do you think religiosity should be explicit into other areas? Should we have workplaces with a religious ethos, or restaurants? Why are segregated schools acceptable but segregated buses or trains a violation of human rights? It is an unnecessary complication to mix religious and secular education. How is mathematics teaching enhanced by the presence of a religious ethos? Secularism is not anti-religious, it is pro-tolerance. It is about finding the highest common factor that unites us and building on it, rather than concentrating on the divisions.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher.
    The issue to be faced in integrated education is the ethos of the school religious or secular? You write: –
    “ It may be the freely expressed wish of many people to have a religious education for their child. This is their right. But if they want other tax payers to pay for it they will have to compromise.”
    This is a very limited view of an education in religion. The current debate centres on the question — In schools should there be a religious as well as secular curriculum?—In my view of the school curriculum should nurture future historians scientists mathematicians writers artists actors medics plumbers joiners electricians shopkeepers and theologians. If there is to be the discipline theology in the universities as well as secular disciplines then there ought to be state examinations in Christians Studies on a par with state examinations in the secular disciplines as I have suggested in a previous commentary. It seems to be the contention of secular humanists that a degree in divinity is inferior to a degree in physics and that students of divinity should pay for their studies out of their own pocket but students of science should be funded by the state. While a worthwhile university should offer a degree in divinity I know of no university that offers a degree in atheism or secular humanism. Just as students o f divinity should be funded by the state so should an education in religion ion the school curriculum be funded by the state because it is in the school curriculum that future theologians are nurtured. Only secular humanists and atheists hold a different point of view.
    You also write: –
    That it (segregated education) costs too much and it perpetuates our divided society.
    The argument that our divided society costs too much carries weight but your assumption that integrated education will eradicate sectarianism division is open to question. Sectarian division is perpetuated by sectarian attitude. Attitude is easy to form but difficult to change. It is the opinion of educationalists that in the formation of attitude the home has a weighting of 60 the community has a weighting of 30 and the school has a weighting a weighting of 10. So the school in the changing of attitude is a blunt instrument. Will schooling change the sectarian attitude of the Orange Order? I doubt it. Nor will members of the Orange Order wish their children to be educated in integrated schools. If pupils in integrated schools are of a moderate attitude that is because they come from homes with a moderate attitude. Sectarianism scuppered integration in 1832 and sectarianism still remains a malevolent influence in 2011. It is the contention of my published writings at http://www.authorhouse.co.uk and in Slugger that attitude can only be changed by legislation enacted by central government. Central government legislation can change attitude to sexual orientation alcohol drugs nicotine and speeding. It is my contention that sectarian attitude here can only be changed by an Act of parliament at Westminster changing UK constitution to a Federal Kingdom constitution giving a written constitution for Ireland expressed in the National Government of Ireland Act which can be made as acceptable to the Catholics of Kerry as to the Protestants of Derry. It is useless looking for anti-sectarian legislation from the assembly because that body like N. Ireland society is itself riddled with the Sickness of sectarianism so the assembly should be told— physician heal thyself –.
    I’m not writing against Integration but I’m putting forward a realistic approach to it I accept that the integration principle of 1832 was worthwhile and if the principle had been implemented down the generations the history of Ireland would have been happier but that presupposes that Ulster wasn’t sectarian which it still is and the assumption by integrationists that shared schooling will end the sectarianism of the Orange Order I take with a pinch of salt. The eradication of sectarianism and unity will need legislation by Westminster as indicated.
    Michael Gillespie

  • ohpuhlease

    MinervaBradley makes good point – we can teach our kids in N.I about acceptance of protestant or catholic neighbours, but not their disabled neighbours? one step too far eh?

    see this on the myths regarding the educational segregation of children who have disabilities – it’s prehistoric and there is only one reason for it – the parents of the children who are not disabled don’t want disabled children in their classrooms. There is fear involved, and a heirarchy of education going on all over the UK.

    Difference is not tolerated.

    see this from the CSIE http://www.csie.org.uk/

    frequently asked questions on schooling for disabled children and young people
    Which children do you call disabled?
    Special schools have been specifically set up to cater for the needs of disabled children. Why deprive these children of such tailor-made provision?
    Well-resourced inclusion is very expensive. Doesn’t it make financial sense to have all relevant resources in one location and educate disabled children there?
    Mainstream school staff do not have the specialist equipment or training needed to cater for the needs of disabled children. How are we supposed to educate them?
    Disabled children would be teased and bullied in mainstream schools. Why subject them to harsh treatment?
    A disabled learner would take up too much of the teacher’s time. Why should other children’s learning suffer?
    Why does CSIE insist that all special schools should be closed?
    Inclusion is all right for some, but there will always be children for whom inclusion cannot work. Why insist that all means all?

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    Which children do you call disabled?

    The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 defines a disabled person as one who has “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities” and provides clarifications and exclusions to this definition. Informed by the voice of disabled people, CSIE views disability as an experience arising from the interaction between a) people’s impairments and b) inflexible structures around them. For example, a wheelchair user in front of a ramp would not be disabled from reaching the door; in front of a flight of steps s/he would. The term “special educational needs”, by focusing on characteristics of the person and not their environment, seems inadequate.

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    Special schools have been specifically set up to cater for the needs of disabled children. Why deprive these children of such tailor-made provision?

    Many of today’s special schools have evolved out of Health-managed Junior Training Centres, which were themselves set up at a time when disabled people were mostly seen as defective and/or objects of pity. Today many of these institutions remain, but the mentality that created them is increasingly called into question: as social values progress and people with unusual bodies or minds are increasingly appreciated and respected as people, it makes little social, educational or moral sense to maintain separate educational institutions for a small minority of children. At a time when personalised learning is a strong feature of mainstream schooling, there is no reason why tailor-made provision has to take place in separate institutions. CSIE suggests that with creative use of resources, including human resources, this question can be turned on its head: why deprive disabled children of the opportunity to grow up, learn and develop with their peers?

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    Well-resourced inclusion is very expensive. Doesn’t it make financial sense to have all relevant resources in one location and educate disabled children there?

    Even if this did make financial sense, it would be a very poor argument for maintaining structures that lead people into living their lives in the margins. Disabled adults tell us that segregated education is inappropriate for disabled pupils because it perpetuates stereotypes, disempowers disabled people and keeps them at the margins of society. Isn’t it about time we started to listen?

    That said, segregated schooling is very expensive too. Millions of pounds are spent each year to transport many children long distances twice a day, often by taxi with an escort. This makes neither financial nor educational sense.

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    Mainstream school staff do not have the specialist equipment or training needed to cater for the needs of disabled children. How are we supposed to educate them?

    It might be worth clarifying what it means to ‘educate’ children and young people. Some see the principal aim of education as generating the workforce of tomorrow while others see it as preparing all young people for adult life. CSIE considers this a false dichotomy and suggests the two are not mutually exclusive; indeed, the former is part of the latter. It seems self-evident that preparing young people for adult life is one of the fundamental aims of education. If we want to prepare today’s pupils for tomorrow’s inclusive society, it seems pointless to work with some children in one type of setting and with others in separate institutions. All children and young people benefit from growing up, learning and developing with each other.

    As for resources and training, of course they help. Accessing resources and training often requires funds, time and will. (And we all know what happens “when there is a will”.) Principles underpinning “special education”, however, are not all that different from principles underpinning “education”. Many mainstream school staff have been pleasantly surprised to find that creative ways to respond to the diversity of learners often emerge from their own resourceful thinking, sometimes in consultation with external agencies, always in consultation with young people and their families. This is not to say that inclusion is easy. But it is possible.

    In the words of Micheline Mason, founder and former director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education,

    “Appropriate resources are vital for the learning and development of disabled children. The most essential resource is free and abundant in mainstream schools: non-disabled children.”

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    Disabled children would be teased and bullied in mainstream schools. Why subject them to harsh treatment?

    Recent research by Norwich and Kelly (2004) has shown that young pupils with statements of special educational needs for moderate learning difficulties were bullied as much in mainstream schools as they were in special schools. The researchers also found that pupils attending special schools experienced far more ‘bullying’ by children of mainstream schools and by peers and outsiders in their neighbourhood.

    The abstract of Norwich and Kelly’s article, Pupils’ views on inclusion: moderate learning difficulties and bullying in mainstream and special schools is available free (there may be a charge for the full-text).

    Many schools that have included disabled pupils have found that children are far more accommodating than anticipated; it is usually adults who make stereotypical assumptions. In any case, a school which fosters inclusive values would be far less likely to see any mistreatment of any student.

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    A disabled learner would take up too much of the teacher’s time. Why should other children’s learning suffer?

    The vision of an inclusive education for all learners does not equate to admitting all children and young people in mainstream schools as we know them. Much more than this, it is about restructuring mainstream provision so that every school can value, respect and support the learning and development of all children and young people.

    National guidance suggests that the education of disabled learners falls within the remit of all teachers. Removing Barriers to Achievement, the Government’s Strategy for SEN (2004) states:

    All teachers should expect to teach children with special educational needs (SEN) and all schools should play their part in educating children from their local community, whatever their background or ability.

    At the same time, UK legislation for over 25 years has stipulated that disabled children should be educated in their local mainstream school, as long as this does not affect the efficient education of other children. This begs the question: what steps have been taken to restructure mainstream provision, so that the presence of disabled children is not seen as a threat to the education of others?

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    Why does CSIE insist that all special schools should be closed?

    This is essentially a human rights issue. Undoubtedly a number of special schools have first-rate facilities and committed, knowledgeable and experienced staff. No matter how exceptional the setting, however, the fact remains that special schools are segregating institutions. They deprive disabled learners of the opportunity to grow up, learn and develop with their peers. Such discrimination goes against recommendations in international human rights instruments.

    It is often difficult to imagine a system different from the one we know. The thought of closing down all special schools may, for the time being, appear too radical to some. CSIE firmly believes this to be a necessary step towards greater social justice and draws strength and inspiration from effective models of full inclusion in this country and abroad. As more and more mainstream schools review their culture, policies and practices and as an increasing number of mainstream schools are willing and able to include all learners, a perceived need to preserve special schools is expected to diminish.

    From a financial point of view, an additional benefit of closing special schools is this: the high cost of maintaining separate institutions for a small proportion of learners can be redirected to support inclusive provision. All running costs can be saved and staff time restructured to support learners in mainstream settings. In a well-documented report on a special school which closed, a simple and effective system is described: each member of staff who, in the special school, was responsible for a class of ten pupils, subsequently spent half a day a week supporting the inclusion of each of these pupils in a mainstream school footnote 1.

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    ——————————————————————————–

    Inclusion is all right for some, but there will always be children for whom inclusion cannot work. Why insist that all means all?

    It might be worth exploring what assumptions lie behind this question. What is it that is believed to make inclusion impossible for some pupils? If it is the culture and organization of mainstream schools as we know them, are these seen as fixed and rigid, set beyond the possibility of change? The notion of schooling emerged in a society where disabled people had no place and from which they were routinely intentionally removed. Society has been changing and disabled people are increasingly claiming their rightful place in it. How is education choosing to respond? What is education’s answer to the claim that established systems act as disabling barriers for some children and young people? CSIE sees this as a human rights question, to which education is urgently called upon to find an answer.

    It sometimes helps to consider the same issues in a different context. If you, the reader of this text, were to become disabled (and most of us will, probably in later life) how would it feel if you were denied access to your regular place of work or leisure? How would it be if you were told that, instead, you should attend an alternative place of work or leisure, which is tailor-made for your needs and full of other people like you? You may well value some contact with others who are, for example, wheelchair-users or partially sighted, but would you be happy to have this instead of your regular contact with existing friends and colleagues?

    Let us now return to the issue of schooling for disabled learners. If it is thought that a pupil “cannot access the curriculum” is it, in principle, better to turn the pupil away or to make every effort to make the curriculum relevant and accessible to this pupil? Please allow us to reiterate: inclusion is not easy, but it is possible. For all learners. In its autumn 1995 bulletin (volume 2, number 2) the National Center on Educational Restructuring and Inclusion, at the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York, reported the following statement from the Ontario School District:

    All students with disabilities who live in the school district have the opportunity to be totally included in the regular classroom and the extracurricular activities of their school. The only criteria for a student to attend any of our six elementary schools, our middle school or our high school is they must be breathing.

    Inclusive education for some but not others is simply not inclusive education. After all, seeing disabled people as essentially different from non-disabled people is only one way of meaning-making; it focuses more on difference than on sameness. We are all good at some things and need help with others. And we probably all find it frustrating if other people define us by what we need help with.

  • ohpuhlease

    Somewhere in the sea of arguments and opinion is there a place to consider that boys from socially and economically deprived protestant areas are not doing very well academically and certainly not as well as their catholic counterparts?

    Is one political/religious ‘side’ a bit ticked that the other is getting ahead when they are not?

    The tide has turned economically for protestants in Northern Ireland, in that they no longer hold all the jobs. Whilst the prods were working, the poor catholics were being educated and got even better jobs.

    How does this fit into this? I personally would prefer my children to go to a Catholic school if its doing better than a protestant or integrated one. They could opt out of the religion.

    But only if they weren’t disabled – if you are disabled neither catholic, protestant or dissenter wants you.

  • Michael:

    In schools should there be a religious as well as secular curriculum?

    As soon as the world agrees on one religious truth, yes. Otherwise, we have to separate out the controversial bits, and teach the agreed bits.

    Sectarian division is perpetuated by sectarian attitude. Attitude is easy to form but difficult to change. It is the opinion of educationalists that in the formation of attitude the home has a weighting of 60 the community has a weighting of 30 and the school has a weighting a weighting of 10. So the school in the changing of attitude is a blunt instrument.

    Agreed, it is not sufficient. But it is a vital part of a comprehensive shared future strategy. We cannot prevent people from instilling sectarian attitudes in their children at home, but we can try to undo the damage as soon afterwards as we can, and that means the primary school system.

    There’s more to sectarianism than the Orange Order. And you may be surprised how many Orange Order members would be comfortable with an integrated school system.

    It is my contention that sectarian attitude here can only be changed by an Act of parliament at Westminster changing UK constitution to a Federal Kingdom constitution giving a written constitution for Ireland expressed in the National Government of Ireland Act which can be made as acceptable to the Catholics of Kerry as to the Protestants of Derry.

    Constitutional change as social panacea? Did you learn nothing from the past 40 years?

    I’m putting forward a realistic approach

    I don’t think that deserves a response.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher.
    “As soon as the world agrees on one religious truth yes. Otherwise we have to separate out the controversial bits and teach the agreed bits.”
    Have you never heard of ecumenical dialogue? Why not have the ethos of the school be Christian Ecumenism and in Christian Studies examine both the controversial bits and the agreed bits to arrive at Christian unity in a future generation?
    “ But we can try to undo the damage as we can and that means the primary school system.”
    You are pontificating here. You will have to give supporting evidence for your assumption that schooling can alter attitude. It is my contention that legislation by central government changes attitude not schooling. Schooling won’t change attitude to sexual orientation the use of alcohol drugs nicotine or to speeding. These attitudes need corrective legislation by central government.
    “You may be surprised how many Orange Order members would be comfortable with an integrated system.”
    How do you know? Have you surveyed the Order or are you a spokesman for the Order? The behaviour and membership and charter of the Order don’t support your claim.
    “Constitutional change as a social panacea? Have you learnt nothing in the last forty years?”
    How has the constitution changed in the last forty years? The last constitutional change in relation to Ireland was the 1801 Act of Union. That introduced discord bloodshed death and suffering into the country. It is my contention that the historic British/Irish identity problem is constitutional in nature and the people are split over the constitution. The out come of every election voting pattern supports that. Since the British/Irish identity problem is constitutional the intelligent thing to do is change the constitution. That’s common sense and that will require an Act of parliament at Westminster.
    “I don’t think that deserves a response.”
    Do you mean to say you don’t know how to respond?

    Michael Gillespie

  • Michael:

    Why not have the ethos of the school be Christian Ecumenism and in Christian Studies examine both the controversial bits and the agreed bits to arrive at Christian unity in a future generation?

    Christian ecumenism? What about the Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc.?

    You are pontificating here

    That’s the pot calling the kettle black, surely.

    You will have to give supporting evidence for your assumption that schooling can alter attitude.

    It was you who brought up the 10% schooling statistic. Are you disowning it now?

    These attitudes need corrective legislation by central government.

    How? We already have anti-discrimination legislation. You can’t abolish sectarianism by fiat.

    How do you know? Have you surveyed the Order or are you a spokesman for the Order? The behaviour and membership and charter of the Order don’t support your claim.

    I know many members of the Order, including several family members. Of course there is sectarianism within the OO, but it is neither universal within it nor limited to it.

    The last constitutional change in relation to Ireland was the 1801 Act of Union.

    Partition? Declaration of the republic? Direct rule? Devolution?

    Since the British/Irish identity problem is constitutional the intelligent thing to do is change the constitution.

    We already have a changed constitution. We found a solution that was acceptable to the vast majority of people in Ireland. It was reached after years of bloodshed, tortuous negotiation and two referendums. You are suggesting tearing the whole thing up and imposing a solution from Westminster. Of course I don’t know how to respond. Your proposals are isane.

  • BluesJazz

    Andrew Gallagher
    Well said.

    We have a secular position regarding post 16 year old education (partly) and totally at FE College and University level.
    Either follow the path entirely (Roman Catholic University, Protestant University, and Freethinking University).
    Or just junk the mythological crap and have Freethinking schools from primary upwards.

    The FE colleges are free of any ‘spiritual-supernatural-voodoo’ ethos. And you can be as Irish or British as you want to be in studying Electrical Engineering, Chemistry and Mathematics.
    If you want your children to study Catholic, Protestant or Hindu Engineering, Chemistry or Maths, pay for it yourselves morons.

  • abucs

    minervabradley,

    i agree, you can go around in circles regarding Europe and unfortunately a lot of that can be laid at the feet of Western Universities of last century and their creeping acceptance of left wing Marxism. There was a lot of ahem ‘history’ taught regarding the Church which in the brighter light of day in the 21st century looks not just ridiculous but academically inept and down right bigotry. Your mention of the topic of the Spanish Inquisition would fall into that category. I think the University system developed the ideas of cultural narratives and relative truth to spout what now looks to be quite plainly lies in the service of Marxist ideology. I call it Atheistic Fairy tales – and there are many of them that now in an age of internet research have been shown to be frauds. Apparently there are still a few around who think this anti religious narrative is cutting edge but it is on the way out – thank God. After the best part of a hundred years it has not progressed culture nor basic understandings of reality and is a failure everywhere where it held outright dominance. The idea that Irishmen would be grabbibng this silly ideology just when it is falling is an embarressment.

    The shaping of Europe is complex. A large part of it is to do with the University system that was created by the Church. Among other things science emerged from these institutions which is why so many of the founders of important scientific discplines were very religious and including priests, monk and bishops. The shaping of the scientific method and experimentation developed from this Christian institution. They funded the Universities, they built them, they staffed them, they set the curricula and they aloowed for the transfer of knowledge and research between Universities. This to a large extent built modern Europe and unfortunately was written out of the histroy in the last century by Marxist inspired revisionists. Unfortuanetly many of our citizens were prevented from knowing this.

  • abucs

    When it comes to war then Christianity played a large part in reducing it. The frequent Viking raids on Europe which went on for centuries ended with the successful Christian missions to northern Europe. The plundering, raping and pillaging and the taking of slaves ended with this occurrance.

    In the south at the same time Europe was experiencing the same problem from the Muslims. There too Christian missions were sent but these were rejected. Twenty years after the fall of the greatest Christian kingdom for a thousand years – Byzantium, the first crusade was called. This was at a time when two thirds of Christendom had already been invaded and conquered. The Crusades stopped the Muslim advance in the Balkans, on the Iberian peninsula as well as recapturing much of the territory in the near East. They got Jerusalem back for more than a century but never recovered north Africa from the Muslims. This crusade helped to stabilise Europe and protect the Christian Institutions of of what was left of Christian Europe from being over-run including the Universities. It also gave Europe a sense of belonging to a common culture and relying on eachother.

    Of course we can go on about how the bible forged and standardised local language creating nation states and reducing war, how it helped to lift literacy rates. We can talk about the parish role-out of schools and hosptitals etc but the first two examples show the main shaping of modern Europe.

    When we talk about the Reformation i see that basically as the state take over of Christianity. I think whenever the state tries to take over religion it is a bad thing – witness Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union of the last century. Many today unfortunately would like the state to take over religion including banishing it from the schools. These i put in that camp. I think history has shown that the greatest death and destruction in Western Europe has come with the idea that the state should suppress and marginilse or take over religion be that the horrors of the French Revolution, the State take over of religion in the Reformation, Hitler’s Germany and the creation of a strong secular Aryan state or the Soviet Union and the complete eradication of religion in the misguided ideology of materialistic atheism. It is a failed and outdated idea that at best kills culture and at worse leads the culture in a destructive bent.

  • abucs

    Andrew Gallagher,

    i think it is often the lowest common factor that is promoted. Your idea of secularism is based on the presumption that religon does not matter. I think it most certainly does and has been proved over and over again to matter.

    Regarding your comment about Hitler regime and atheism. My original comment did not specify atheism. It specified anti religion and it specified anti Christian. The Hitler regime was definately both and this is the danger that i am alluding to when you try and get rid of Christianity and forge a new mindset.

    Hitler’s National Socialists (Nazis) took over all of the Protestant and non Catholic Churches and brought it under state control with him as the head. All of those Churches had their crosses taken out and replaced with the Swastika. In southern Catholic Schools there were laws by the Nazis to replace Holy pictures with pictures of Adolph Hitler but these were opposed. Hitler made it illegal to teach Christianity in schools (sound familiar???). when teachers started teaching Christianity out of school hours Hitler made another law to make it illegal for any state employed teacher to teach Christianity at any time. Hitler organised mandatory weekly Hitler Youth rallies for Sunday morning which of course clashed with Church services. Hitler closed down Catholic newspapers, forcibly took over Catholic printing presses that published the Pope’s denunciation of National Socialism, threw out 600 nuns from public service, jailed nuns, priests and brothers who collected money for missions abroad, ended up seizing Catholic Church property just before World War 2 (having already seized Protestant Church property), threw thousands of priests into concentration camps to be killed and had plans to kidnap and assasinate the Pope.

    He also chose his enlightenment and Propoganda minister as Rosenburg, a rabid anti Christian and supported the rebranding of Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas to pagan Germanic festivals. You can’t get any more anti-Christian than Hitler’s Germany.

    Now i did not say he was atheistic but what i would suggest is to read the autobiography of Lieutenant Colonel Hoess the SS commander of the concentration camp Auschwitz. He was an atheist and he both built and then ran the camp where more than a million were killed and he has a lot of interesting comments to make about the ideolgy of the Nazis and their self declared superior, progressive reasons for being anti Christian.

    He was writing his book while awaiting his fate after the Nuremberg trials.

    Christianity was the source of Western civilisation and it is the glue that holds it together. When a society stops recognising this it looks for another glue to hold society together. The 20th century is a testament to the failure of such thinking.

  • abucs

    Some of the above Jewish newspaper links of the 1930’s also speak of the Nazi efforts to take over, ban or limit Christian presence in schools and forge a united secular Germany.

    It sounds OK, but it’s not. We know that now not just from Germany of the 1930’s and 1940’s but from dozens of anti Chrisitan ‘socialist’ regimes of the Twentieth Century where religion was specified as outdated and needing to be replaced.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    “One School of Thought Campaign”

    Almost everyone would agree in principle with at least some of what the “One School of Thought Campaign” propose.

    However, there is no meat on the proposals.

    I have no problem with secular schooling but I think that concerns as to whether Gaelic games, language, Irish history, music etc. would be taught or even tolerated in the schools as part of a new dispensation have yet to be addressed.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    From personal experience, I have to state that whilst I have found that people who have attended integrated schools to be quite open, I have found that Catholics who have attended State Schools to be quite sectarian.

    They seem to replace culture with sectarianism, are embarrased that they cant play Gaelic games and know nothing of Irish history, no to mention not a syllabal of the Irish language.

    Not very rounded individuals and not what I would want for mine kin.

  • abucs:

    When we talk about the Reformation i see that basically as the state take over of Christianity.

    Secularism rejects both state power over religion and religious power over the state.

    Your idea of secularism is based on the presumption that religon does not matter.

    Absolutely not. It is based on the presumption that not all that matters is automatically the business of the government.

    Eddie:

    You’re right, the devil is in the detail. But we’re never going to get around to discussing the details unless we first agree that it’s a project worth pursuing at all.

  • BluesJazz

    “I have found that Catholics who have attended State Schools to be quite sectarian.”

    Eddie, as a ‘Techie’ do you find the same experience from those who attend FE colleges? I found no examples of this at BIFHE (now Belfast Met). I found a lot of pupils who couldn’t give a stuff about religion.

    In fact I find quite a lot of people under 30 .don’t give a stuff about religion. It seems to be literally dying off.

  • minervabradley

    abucs, I was not attempting to defend all Christianity, just making the point that it is a complex picture – I am not a Marxist (too lazy to do the reading) but take a longer view,being an archaeologist, not an historian, You can call me a ‘bigot’ for saying this but please, can someone tell me anything that was good about the Spanish Inquisition, because I am still definitely getting the idea that it did nothing positive for Catholicism in the long run & was not a lot of fun for those on the receiving end of a visit from the Inquisitors.

    The Church did a fair amount of suppression of scientific advances (Copernicus, Galileo) – perhaps this was part of a wide resistance to change (lots of cruelties by lots of religions in the name of defending the faith). Don’t see ‘re-conquering’ the Iberian peninsula as a particularly brilliant event either, Muslim occupation of Spain was not barbaric – there is a lot of archaeological evidence for intricate & v productive irrigation systems & many beautiful buildings remain . For the period, there was comparative tolerance -the expulsion/massacre of the Jewish community did not occur until re-occupation by Christians. I don’t feel the need to defend Christianity in the past (or the Mayans, or the Spartans, or whatever they were doing at Newgrange)- it’s the present & the future we need to look to, & however interesting it was, the only useful thing about the past is to learn some lessons from it.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher
    “Christian ecumenism? What about Muslims Sikhs Buddhists etc?”
    Ecumenists are willing to enter into dialogue with all religions. But there are few Muslims Sikhs or Buddhists in Ireland. Ireland has a tradition of Christianity and the majority of its people are Christian of various denominations and with varying degrees of commitment. Christian Ecumenism promotes dialogue among disparate Christian Churches with the purpose of establishing co- operation understanding among the churches. So Christian Ecumenism is right for Ireland. The theory behind integrated education is the building of unity between the two communities. In integrated schools why not make the spirit and core value of the school Christian ecumenism and promote in the school ethos a spirit and core value of dialogue co-operation and understanding among the divided churches in Christian Studies?
    “You’re pontificating here.”
    I try not to but to advance coherent rational dialogue based on fact. I encourage you to do the same.
    “It was you who brought up the 10% schooling statistic. Do you disown it now?”
    Not at all but you misinterpret the statistic. What I wrote was that in the formation of attitude the home has a weighting of 60 the community has a weighting of30 and the school has a weighting of 10. This means that in the formation of attitude the school is only of minimal significance. This should be taken into account by enthusiasts of integration who go overboard about the panacea of integrated education to effect social change.
    “We already have anti- discrimination legislation.”
    This supports my position in effecting change in sectarian attitude. Legislation by central government can change discriminatory attitude. Schools won’t do that.
    “ You can’t abolish sectarianism by fiat.”
    No you can’t but you can change a constitution which is the root cause of sectarian division and create a better constitution for all Ireland in which sectarianism will wither away.
    “I know many members of the orange Order including several family members. Of course there is sectarianism within the OO but it is neither universal within it nor limited to it.”
    I admire your attempt to white wash the Order but myself and others see it as sectarian and racist. My reasons for writing this are: –
    (1) In its behaviour the Order flaunts in public a union flag that Is sectarian and racist ( the union flag isn’t sectarian and racist in GB) but it is in N Ireland. This is observable as the flag is only seen in British Protestant ghettoes. The Irish Tricolour is equally sectarian and racist as it is only seen in Catholic Irish ghettoes What is needed is a flag that can be flown by all irrespective of creed or ethnicity. The creation of such a flag is a complex constitutional matter but the creation of such a flag can be found at http://www.authorhouse.co.uk
    (2) Membership of the Order is wholly Protestant and British. I will accept that the Order is non-sectarian democratic and non-racist when its membership includes Catholics. I made this suggestion to a friend and she said that would be the same as blacks in the Klu Klux Klan. Be that as it may eventually the Order will have to change its sectarian and racist charter and admit Catholics if it is to cease being a sectarian and racist bone of contention in Ireland.
    (3) IT may be that there is an element in the Order who see in an imposed universal integrated system of education the means whereby the Catholic community can be engineered into an acceptance of the UK constitutional status quo and can be bamboozled into voting for the DUP. This skulduggery may have been at the back of Peter Robinson’s mind when he called for the introduction of integration here. This is just a passing thought but who knows .
    Partition Declaration of a Republic Direct Rule Devolution.
    All of these are partial and ineffective changes. Partition divided the country into two sectarian statelets protestant 6 counties with the Act of Union 1801 as its constitution and Catholic 26 counties as a Free State with a nondescript constitution. The 26 county statelet was constituted as Eire in 1937 but was revamped as a Republic in 1948 This 26 county constitution was partial and ineffective and the constitutional arrangement for the island was resented by many and this arrangement for the island perpetuated sectarian division.
    Direct Rule abolished the Stormont government but left the 1801 Act of Union intact in the 6 counties. This had no Impact on sectarianism.
    Devolution The setting up of governments for Scotland and Wales was a major constitutional change for GB. Devolution in N. Ireland left the1801Act of Union in place and with the GFA put a sectarian assembly into an already existing Stormont. Nothing changed.
    “We already have a changed constitution.”
    In what way? As noted there is no significant change in N. Ireland but the existing constitution remains a bone of contention in the Statelet.
    “WE found a solution that was acceptable to the vast majority in Ireland.”
    Does Sinn Fein agree that we have found a solution to the constitutional issue. Those in the establishment who say that need their heads examined. For thirty years Sinn Fein supported a campaign of violence by the Provisionals to bomb and murder the constitution out of existence. The current political set up in N. Ireland Is just a staging post to their ideal of an all Ireland Socialist Republic. What It sought by the bomb and bullet –the overthrow of UK constitution – it now seeks by democratic stealth. Each election here is a sectarian head count of those who vote for parties supporting the constitution and for parties rejecting the constitution so in what sense is the constitutional problem solved. To say so is establishment conservative hype.
    “You are suggesting tearing the whole thing up and imposing a solution from Westminster.”
    You are putting words in my mouth. What I’ve published is a suggested National Government of Ireland Act which would give a written constitution for all Ireland within a Federal Kingdom making the Crown Head of State in Ireland and making Ireland a sovereign united nation like Australia and Canada. This written constitution would be arrived at democratically in Ireland and wouldn’t’ be imposed by Westminster just as the Australian and Canadian written constitutions were arrived a t democratically. The full account of this can be found at http://www.authorhouse.co.uk
    “OF course I don’t know how to respond your proposals are insane.”
    You’ve abandoned reason and are now dealing in insult so you’ve lost the plot. I can assure you I’m of sound mind. I reckon those politicians and members of the establishment who support and justify an insane sectarian constitutional cock-up on this island need their heads examined. Your problem is that you’re a conservative whose mind is closed to new ideas
    Michael Gillespie

    t

  • Scáth Shéamais

    You can call me a ‘bigot’ for saying this but please, can someone tell me anything that was good about the Spanish Inquisition

    It did give us a classic Monty Python sketch,

  • minervabradley

    Scáth Shéamais – forgot about that! Not sure if it totally compensates for the auto- da -fé though.

  • BluesJazz

    Paragraphs Michael, Paragraphs, and less of them.

  • abucs

    With regard to Galileo and Copernicus. The first thing to say is that the idea of the Earth going around the Sun in the modern West was, like many other of our basic scientific principles a concept that came from the Church. Copernicus was a Polish monk who was asked to look into astronomy in order to calculate an accurate Church calendar. Mathematically he thought it was more credible that the Earth went around the Sun rather than the other way around. He wrote his findings and presented it, dedicating his book to the Pope. The Church used a calendar based on Copernicus for the best part of a century before the final trial of Galileo. Many in the Catholic hierarchy accepted that Heliocentrism was a fact but there was no proof. Ricci who was a Jesuit priest and a teacher of Galileo accepted Heliocentrism and taught the Chinese as much. The Pope at the time of Galileo’s trial was also a one time supporter of Galileo. Keppler, an astronomer and a convert to Catholicism and someone Galileo derided also accepted Heliocentrism. The scientific communities that Galileo belonged to were dominated by Jesuits and Dominicans. There had days of honour praising Galileo from these Catholic orders. Galileo of course was a Catholic. Two of his three daughters were nuns. His uncle was an Italian Bishop. He was a personal friend of two Popes. You can’t get any more connected in the Catholic Church than Galileo.
    Now Galileo got in trouble for teacher Heliocentrism without proof. His initial trial gave a finding that he could continue to teach Heliocentrism as a theory but not a fact until he had proof. After Galileo’s personal friend became Pope he went back to teaching Heliocentrism as a fact. Now the parallel today would be if someone was teaching in our schools that String Theory is a fact. It may turn out to be true (I don’t think so) but we would not allow someone to teach it as fact unless they had proof. We would, as the Church decided (and remember they were the ones who largely developed and ran the scientific enterprise) tell the String Theorist to only teach it as theory. If later, as with Galileo, he ignored that directive and taught it as fact, our educational bodies today would ban that teacher without a second thought. Now at the time of Galileo we could not prove Heliocentrism. One problem was that the Earth needed to be spinning for there to be Heliocentrism. Galileo mainly argued the tides were a demonstration of the Earth spinning. The scientists who were against him at the trial correctly showed that the position of the moon caused the tides that were observed twice a day. One of the main problems with the Heliocentric view was the lack of stellar parallax at the time of Galileo. This was the main scientific argument which was presented against him at the trial and which there was not to be an answer for the next 200 years.

    Now Galileo was 70 years old at the time of his trial and had been respected and valued and praised as a member of the Catholic Intelligentsia. The Pope for example gave him a Papal pension, presumably for his contribution to science. He continued to receive this pension after his trial and the Pope wrote to ask if there was anything he could personally do to make Galileo more comfortable after his sentence. Now the Church sentence was to basically tell him to stop practicing science and to be confined to his rural villa. We know from letters written after the trial that Galileo did in fact practice science and published his science. He also was not confined to house because we know he attended parties and an Archbishop offered that he stay with him for 6 months. Now as mentioned, Galileo could not prove Heliocentrism, he was over 70 years old, he was going blind and largely his sentence was a farce.
    Galileo’s nemesis Keppler with his idea of elliptical orbits (which Galileo derided) was the main impetus for the proof of the Heliocentric theory. This was after Galileo’s natural death and the Catholic Church did what any scientific foundation today should do. They accepted the findings and converted Churches across Europe to be astronomical observatories bolstering the gathering of scientific knowledge. For example, many of the craters of the moon are named after Jesuits. As mentioned it was 200 years before the problem of stellar parallax was solved. Also, the Catholic priest Boscovich was the first to be able to give the orbit of any planet given any three points of observation.
    Our education system needs to be comprehensive not a cut down version that leaves our students impoverished when they depart and being prey to any bad philosophy which uses as its rallying call a campaign against the Church.

  • abucs

    Now Atheism is basically a subset of Christian thinking. It takes the science of the physical world and leaves out everything else. If as was suggested above we teach what is common to us then we are in danger of teaching an Atheist view. If Christianity is decided to not be taught because it is ‘not common to all’ then what we are asking for is an impoverishment of education. Many Atheists will not have the foggiest idea of where ‘their’ science came from. They will continue to say and believe silly things like :
    1) The Bible says the Universe was made in 6 days by God but science has shown us the Big Bang Theory.
    They will say this and not know that the Big Bang comes from the mind of Belgian Cathoic priest Georges Lemaitre.
    2) The Bible says the Earth is 6000 years old but science has shown us it is billions of years old.
    They will say this and not know that the scientific field of paleontology with the different layers of Earth containing us different historical strata and fossils came from the mind of the Catholic Bishop Nicholas Steno.

    3) The Bible tells us the world runs on fairy tales but science has shown us it runs on natural mathematical scientific law.
    They will say this and not know that the idea of mathematical law as the base of physical reality came from the mind of the Anglican Theologiam Isaac Newton who wrote in his preface Principia Mathematica that he hoped the idea of the physical world run by scientific law would help thinking people to see there was a God.

    4) Christianity gives us useless prayer and close minded thought whilst science gives us the scientific method and proof and experimentation.
    They will say this and not know that the scientific method was first codified by an English monk and was used by Priests and Bishops from the 12 century onwards including Father Roger Bacon and Bishop Grosseteste.
    5) Christianity tells us we are all created by the individual choice of God but science tells us that we are the product of our genes.
    They will say this and not know that the Father of Genetics is the Austrian monk Gregor Mendal and the first three laws of genetics are named after him.
    6) Christianity does not investigate nature because it takes things on blind faith whereas science has taught us the secrets of the atom.
    They will say this and not know that the father of physical theory and the first mathematical description of the atom was from the Catholic priest Roger Boscovich who theorized in the 1740’s that matter was made up of dimensionless points in fields of attraction and at very close distances repulsion. He theorized about the different arrangement of these points causing different properties of matter.
    7) Christianity says that God created man but science has told us that we come from primates and share a common ancestor with other life.
    They will say this and not know that Charles Darwin was a Theologian and a regular Christian when pursuing his science before becoming an agnostic in later life.
    8) Christianity believes in useless prayers to cure sickness whereas science has given us antibiotics to kill microbiotic germs.
    They will say this and not know that the founder of microbiology was the Christian apologist Louis Pasteur from whose Christian thinking theorized and then proved micro organisms.

    I could go on and talk about Boyle, Albert the Great and more but I think I’ve made the point. If Christianity is seen as something that needs to be removed from schooling then we are receiving an impoverished education. An impoverished education that today has created a plethora of people who have absolutely no idea of the Christian underpinnings of not just culture, health and education but science as well. To be ignorant of Christianity is to be ignorant of our history and what works. We’ve made the silly mistake of being influenced in the past from Marxist leaning universities. Let’s recover from the ignorance that has caused. Let’s not make it worse by falling again for silly arguments on why Christianity needs to be marginalised.

  • Michael:

    But there are few Muslims Sikhs or Buddhists in Ireland. Ireland has a tradition of Christianity and the majority of its people are Christian of various denominations and with varying degrees of commitment

    Just because Ireland has been traditionally so, does not mean that it is the state’s business to either maintain or suppress that tradition. And just because there are fewer non-Christians does not mean they have fewer rights.

    the formation of attitude the school is only of minimal significance.

    10% is far from minimal. Considering that 60% is “in the home” and therefore untouchable, schooling is 25% of what is left. I call that significant. Also, leading by example can have a powerful, cumulative effect on that untouchable 60%. This is not an instant fix, this is a generational project.

    No you can’t but you can change a constitution which is the root cause of sectarian division and create a better constitution for all Ireland in which sectarianism will wither away.

    The constitutional argument is not the cause of sectarianism. There has been sectarianism in Ireland for four centuries, and every one of those centuries has seen at least one grand constitutional scheme founder on the rock of that sectarianism, whether it be legislative independence, union, home rule, partition or direct rule. The answer is not to introduce yet another grand constitutional scheme. It is to fix the underlying problem, which is the sectarian quicksand that we keep trying to build these constitutional structures on top of.

    What I’ve published is a suggested National Government of Ireland Act which would give a written constitution for all Ireland within a Federal Kingdom making the Crown Head of State in Ireland and making Ireland a sovereign united nation like Australia and Canada. This written constitution would be arrived at democratically in Ireland and wouldn’t’ be imposed by Westminster

    This is self-contradictory. Would Ireland be a sovereign nation like Australia, or a member of a Federal Kingdom?

    Do you honestly believe southerners are going to vote to reintroduce the monarchy and go back to Home Rule? Your accusation that I am closed to new ideas would carry more weight if your own ideas were new.

  • abucs:

    Thanks for the information dump, but you’re still confusing atheism and secularism. There is nothing in secularism that is a danger to any religion – secularism merely stipulates a level playing field.

    Yes, many scientific advances were made by committed Christians. You have conveniently forgotten to list any of the countless Muslim scholars who contributed to scientific knowledge in the years when scientific learning almost disappeared from Christendom, or those of any other faith, or those of no faith. Scientific progress is judged on its own merit.

  • abucs

    What i am saying is that the Western Scientific enterprise came from the Christian Churches. No other group be they Muslims or atheists gave birth to the scientific revolution in such depth and support and yes i am aware of the Muslim scientists.

    One of the observed problems of secularism is that it tries to be equal to all religions. If Christianity is better in some way (such as with the birth of Western science) it is deemed to be tolerant and plural to represent other religions as just as well. This is the fabrication and impoverishment of Education that i referred to earlier.

    Also there is a ecumenical bent which tries to combine religions which is your ‘common beliefs’ and there is a bent to remove obstacles for common belief. So with Christians and Muslims, the idea that Jesus is God is downplayed. With Christians and Atheists the idea there is a God is downplayed. In the end we get Atheism taught as the default. Barnes talks about the way this develops in the following links.

    Links showing the problems other secular juristictions have had in going down similar roads and how education ends up in parallysis because people fight over the curriculum.

    In Britain.

    http://www.rpi.se/pdfer/Educators/009.Barnes.web.pdf

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13617670801954601#preview

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/the-misrepresentation-of-religion-in-modern-british-religious-education/

    In Australia

    http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv.php?pid=UQ:23624&dsID=Loria_UQeSpace_InformationPoverty.pdf

    In the U.S.A.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/education/ed0188.html

    Secularism is supposed to mean that there is not a state religion. It ends up asking for all religions to be treated the same and as this is unworkable it heavily pushes for religion to be left out altogether as a practical solution.

    This is largely what committed Atheists want, so in practice in Western countries a secular approach lays the rules for dismissing religion. Hence in America there is no money given to Religious Schools and there is no prayer allowed in state schools. It is easier for the state simply to remove any vestige of religion from its fundng and operations which is not what secularism was supposed to be about.

    There is the question of whether it is healthy for a state to run education at all. It should make rules to regulate education but i don’t believe it should run it. The practice in many Western countries is to use the state to run education and then to have the ridiculous idea that to be neutral the state should not allow any religion in schools.

    Christianity in law has no more right that Stonehenge Warlocks and so both are given the same treatment under Secularism. Courts will not rule any other way given the Atheist definitions of secularism that have been supported in Western courtrooms. It does practically throw Christianity out of the education system.because Christianity can have no special place, otherwise the twisted definition of secularism is deemed to be breached.

  • minervabradley

    BluesJazz, you make an interesting point about young people & religion- doubt very much even among older people if the actual practice of religion has as much effect as the perception of a ‘Protestant’ or ‘Catholic’ identity- take a look at the chapter by Katy Radford on the absence of religious knowledge & practice among a group of enthusiastic Protestant Drumcree protesters .
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1yXtNkRrAwUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA136&dq=Hen+roost+choir&ots=MrHz81rCES&sig=5dchviY3gpKRMbVuo3fBwXELQzk#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Not sure how likely that total blank on practice is among Catholics as part of going to a Catholic school is the ‘opportunity’ to attend religious services on a regular basis but someone may well have some info, never ceases to amaze what people can find on any subject.

    You can’t get away from it even on equality monitoring forms by patiently writing ‘I belong to no religious faith’, you must tick a box indicating ‘what’ you are & if you tick ‘neither’ they demand to know what schools you went & assign an identity based on that. Another argument for non-sectarian education!

  • Abucs,

    So long as education remains a right and not a privilege, the state must fund it. So long as the state funds education, it must be impartial. Whether the state should actually run the education system is a separate discussion.

    Your arguments amount to nothing more than special pleading. You say secularism must be resisted because it allows Christianity to be attacked. Well, tough. If your faith is worth anything then it is worth fighting for in the battle of ideas, just like every other idea. You want it to hide behind the might of state coercion, employing the tyranny of the majority. How fragile your faith must be.

  • abucs

    Sounds a little like the minority pontificating and not understanding why the majority won’t do exactly what they’re told.

    To support a situation where the Catholic Church in Ireland is treated exactly the same way as Stonehenge Warlocks is ridiculous.

    I’ve shown quite clearly practical examples and the legal process that the secular mindset enforces which banishes all Religion from education.

    I’ve shown the impoverishment in Education it brings and the skewed playing field where having all religions treated the same means that even if one is more verifiable, more scientific, more popular, more accepted, more successsul in creating social harmony and progress, more international and more historially credible than the secular mindset means that this religion is attacked unfairly to create the illusion that all religion is the same. Hence the myths of the 20th century in our universities.

    To the secularist all religions are human constructs that can be tinkered with. No religion can be afforded a degree of credidibility over any other religion at any stage. Hence we have secularly skewed education systems that treat Christian thought as exclusive, narrow minded and intolerant. It must be brought down and other religions promoted to acheive an artificail equality.

    Only the secularist that treats all religions the same is seen to be modern, pluralistic and tolerant. Of course because all religions cannot be true the secularist sees all truth claims in religion as ultimately false and only human cultural creations.

    A legal system based on the secularist mindset likewise has no choice but to see all truth claims as intolerant and wrong – hence the minority secularist mindset in law does not create a level playing field.

    It creates a playing field where ‘non religion’ must legally dominate.

    People have the right to live in safe houses and fly in safe airplanes. The Government neither has a monolpoly on building houses nor a monopoly on running airlines. Neither should they have a monopoly on schools.

    And having a minority secular view dominate a compulsory state education system is an insult to Irish culture and intellect.

    If you want non religion in schools then guess what? You get off tour backside, gain support and build your own schools just like the Christians have.

    I also meant to include this interesting link in yesterday’s post regarding the topic of Religious education in secular British schools and the idea of a ‘Level Playing Field’.

    Developing a new post-liberal paradigm
    for British religious education – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13617670701251389#preview

    For those that do not have university access here is an excerpt.

    “Criticism, crisis and revolution

    As multi-faith, phenomenological religious education rose to prominence in the 1970s, certain weaknesses about its capacity to further the social aims of multicultural education soon became apparent to teachers. The notion that acquaintance with the beliefs and values of minority groups by itself will considerably reduce religious prejudice enjoyed little support from experience. More specifically, questions
    began to be raised about the capacity of pupils to enter into the experience of others and develop a positive attitude to difference by the phenomenological technique of ‘bracketing out’ their own convictions and commitments. A psychological perspective on children’s cognitive development shows that most pupils in primary schools are
    incapable (conceptually) of adopting a viewpoint contrary to their own (the evidence is summarised and discussed in Kay, 1997). At this stage in their cognitive development
    they are not able to adopt a third-person perspective on situations and experiences.

    The method of bracketing one’s own beliefs and entering into the mind-state and experience of others in order to gain an appreciation of their beliefs is compromised by the psychological and imaginative limitations of many pupils; in some cases limitations that endure until well into secondary-level education. These considerations should have caused proponents of phenomenological religious
    education to question some of the theological assumptions and commitments that underwrote their position, but it did not; in a sense their prior theological commitments acted as obstacles to a proper assessment of both the nature of religious intolerance and the means by which it can best be overcome.

    Instead the liberal paradigm was revised (it is ‘liberal’ in the specific sense that it expresses Liberal Protestant
    commitments and assumptions). While admitting that the phenomenological technique for acquiring a positive attitude to religious diversity was limited, ongoing research that identified a link between notions of superiority and prejudice was received (uncritically) by some prominent religious educators as confirming their assault on religious claims to finality, in the conviction that in so doing they were
    simultaneously undermining racism and religious intolerance. In acknowledgement both of weaknesses in the phenomenological approach and of revisions to the liberal
    paradigm, the term phenomenological religious education gradually fell into disuse to be replaced by multi-faith religious education. The theological commitments,
    however, remained the same. The link between liberal religion and tolerance was also maintained, though the meaning of tolerance was subtly reinterpreted to refer to the
    value of seeing religious truth in the beliefs and values of others.

  • abucs

    cont …

    The unity of religions and tolerance in British religious education

    The conviction that the different religions are each spiritually valid is constitutive of the liberal paradigm of British religious education. This is the one single proposition
    that runs like a thread through much of the post-confessional history of British religious education, often implicit as in phenomenological religious education (see
    Marvell, 1976; Hay, 1977), but increasingly explicit (see Johnston, 1996; Radford, 1999). Dennis Bates is particularly forthright in his identification of the theological
    roots of the liberal paradigm in British religious education and of its religious commitments (and indeed of his support for it, see Bates, 1996, pp. 97–98):

    A clear expression of the link between a liberal commitment to the truth of each and every major religion and the development of tolerance is found in the work and
    writings of John Hull. (I have explored and criticised Hull’s position in a number of writings and the barest summary only is required in this context, see Barnes, 1997,
    2002b.) In an editorial in the British Journal of Religious Education in 1992, Hull introduced the word ‘religionism’ to refer both to the view that one religion is true to a
    degree denied to other religions and to the attitude of superiority that expresses itself as intolerance towards adherents of other religions (Hull, 1992, p. 70; cf. Hull, 2000,
    p. 76). It is the denial of the truth of other religious traditions than one’s own that in his opinion is the cause of religious bigotry and intolerance. In his view one of the central aims of religious education in schools is to deconstruct notions of religious uniqueness. This interpretation of religious education’s contribution to social and moral education, predicated on the same liberal theological commitments, is widely affirmed by British religious educators. Geoff Teece, for example, has recently proposed that (the influential British philosopher and theologian) John Hick’s theological
    advocacy of religious pluralism, according to which there are many equally valid and authentic ways of salvation, provides a ‘foundation’ for religious education.

    Teece entreats religious believers to be ‘epistemologically humble’, by which he means that they should conclude that their own religious convictions are no better warranted than the religious convictions of others. The assumption that the different religions represent different but complementary revelations of the divine, he believes, supports learning and teaching in religious education and its inculcation in the young will contribute to a ‘fruitful’ and ‘appropriate critical education for the twentieth-first century’ (Teece, 2005, p. 39).

    There are two critical issues that arise. First, there is the issue of why the theological and religious commitments of one particular form of (what was originally) Liberal
    Protestantism thought are privileged in this way. In a pluralist society where the truth of religion is disputed and where no single form of religion commands widespread allegiance, it is inappropriate to use publicly funded schools that are intended to be accessible to the whole community to further one particular religious creed, in this case the
    Liberal Protestant creed of the unity of religions (see Barnes & Wright, 2006, for development of this point). The second critical issue is the way in which commitment
    to the thesis of religious unity has led to the misrepresentation of religion in education, and ironically contributed to the failure of religious education to realise the very aims that it misrepresented the nature of religion in order to achieve (see Barnes, 2006)!

    The nature of religion and respect for difference
    To inculcate in pupils the idea that the religions are complementary and not in competition
    with each other clearly contradicts both the contemporary self-understanding of most religious adherents and the doctrinal logic of the different religions. Traditionally
    and historically, adherents of the major religions have regarded themselves as advancing alternative claims to truth and as sustaining rival identities: this is the clear implication of their respective sets of beliefs and doctrines.

    One normally contrasts Christian religious identity with Muslim religious identity; one does not typically think of an individual as both a Muslim and a Christian. Religious identities can be exclusive in a way cultural and ethnic identities are not (this of course does not entail that religious identifies are fixed and unchanging); this explains why individuals ‘convert’ from one to the other; often such conversions are on the basis that the new religion is believed to be true to a degree denied to the old religion. To present the different religions in the classroom
    as acknowledging the truth of each other is to falsify the self-understanding of most religious adherents and misrepresent the teaching of their respective religions.
    There is a further level at which misrepresentation of the nature of religion occurs when religious education is entrusted with the mission of teaching (or implying) that
    the religions are all equally true; and again it involves minimising the importance and the plain sense of religious doctrines. In order to effect reconciliation between the
    different religions it is necessary to revise their beliefs. The Qur’an cannot literally contain the very words of God because other religions are condemned as less true.
    Christians cannot believe that Jesus was God incarnate, for this in turn entails that Christianity has a uniqueness denied to other religions. Christian theologians such as
    John Hick (1973, pp. 120–147) and Maurice Wiles (1992, p. 77), for example, who press for a more inclusive attitude to other religions, acknowledge that some of the cardinal doctrines of the different religions have to be revised and reinterpreted. But this is a revisionary perspective pursued by Western academics who aim to change the
    way religions and religious adherents interpret and conceive themselves. Recognition and acknowledgement of this is absent from modern British educational discourse.

    What is offered to pupils in schools is a particular vision of what religion should be (as reconstructed by liberal theological interpreters), not what it is; this move towards
    the idealisation of representations of religion is further encouraged by the refusal, inherited from phenomenology, to subject the truth of religion to close analysis and
    criticism.

    The educational strategy of convincing pupils that the religions are in essential agreement (or its use as an implicit assumption that directs the nature and course of
    religious education) actually undermines respect for difference in a further more serious sense. Consider the logic of the strategy. One is encouraged to accept adherents of other religions and to relinquish intolerance of them on the ground that their ultimate convictions are in agreement with your own. You adopt a positive attitude to
    ‘the Other’ (Levinas, 1969) because the other shares a similar and complementary commitment to the divine. Acceptance of the religious Other is predicated on religious
    agreement (in essential experience). But this carries the implication that no such respect for difference may be forthcoming in those cases where there is genuine
    disagreement—no respect for those who resist the liberal temptation to view all religions as true. If there were true respect for religious difference there would be no need
    to attempt to convince pupils of the essential agreement between the religions (either by explicit or implicit teaching and methodologies). In a sense the liberal strategy has
    the capacity to ‘demonise’ the Other just as effectively as those who believe in the exclusive nature of the truth of their particular religious commitment and community.

    The line between insiders and outsiders is drawn in a different place, this time between inclusivists and exclusivists rather than say between Muslims and others, or
    Christians and others, but the same binary distinction is employed. Respect for religious difference is compromised when those who are to be accepted and affirmed must first relinquish any claim to uniqueness or religious distinctiveness.

    Our narrow reflections in this section have pursued one central point only: to justify the claim that there are criticisms of beliefs and commitments that are essential to the liberal paradigm of British religious education that cannot be deflected or satisfactorily answered. Given this situation what is needed is a new post-liberal paradigm for
    religious education that simultaneously overcomes the inherent weaknesses in the old liberal paradigm while subsuming all that is best in it.”

  • abucs

    Hello minervabradley,

    you asked previously about the Spanish Inquisition and about Galileo. I’ll just add an interesting link to my previous reply. It is to do with Stellar Parallax and the possiblilty that even Galileo suppressed scientific information that was against the Heliocentric model. As mentioned previously, the science at the time of Galileo was not favouring heliocentrism. The Church went with the best conclusions of cience that was available at the time. As we do today.

    http://legacy.jefferson.kctcs.edu/faculty/graney/CMGRESEARCH/PhysicsAstro/PIPGalileoforWeb.pdf

    The Universities have tried to pull down Christianity in many ways be they the Spanish Inquisition Myth dealt with earlier or the Hitler’s Pope Myth or the Flat Earth Myth or the Dark Ages Myth that was alluded to above or a dozen other Myths besides.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

    In an age of internet research these Universities now are backtracking on these claims but unfortunately many peoples minds were turned against Christianity because of this secular Marxist campaign of last century and the twisted education given to many Western people.

    Two free online books that deal with many Catholic Clergyman i have not yet mentioned who helped to create the reason, logic, knowledge and scientific way of thinking we have inherited from them today are as follows :

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34019/34019-h/34019-h.htm
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34067/34067-h/34067-h.htm

    and the same books again if the above doesn’t work …….

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34019
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34067

    http://www.manybooks.net/titles/walshjj3401934019-8.html#

  • abucs,

    Minorities have the same rights as you do. Get used to it.

    To support a situation where the Catholic Church in Ireland is treated exactly the same way as Stonehenge Warlocks is ridiculous.

    Catholics are treated the same way as Warlocks on buses. Catholics are treated the same way as Warlocks in Dunnes. Catholics are treated the same way as Warlocks in the dock. That is not ridiculous, it is fundamental to a fair society.

    even if one is more verifiable, more scientific,

    No religion is any more verifiable than the others. If that were so, then faith would have nothing to do with it. Luke 4:12 has something to say about that.

    more popular, more accepted,

    … within a small country of 5 million people …

    more successsul in creating social harmony and progress, more international and more historially credible than the secular mindset

    That is an arguable point. It is certainly not widely accepted.

    Of course because all religions cannot be true the secularist sees all truth claims in religion as ultimately false and only human cultural creations.

    Yet again you are confusing secularism with atheism.

    It creates a playing field where ‘non religion’ must legally dominate.

    It creates a playing field where all religious views have equal status. That does not mean that all religions are the same, or that all religions are false. It simply means that schools cannot show favouritism to any religious viewpoint (not even atheism).

    The Government neither has a monolpoly on building houses nor a monopoly on running airlines. Neither should they have a monopoly on schools.

    Again you are confusing two different arguments. Whether the government should have a monopoly on schools is a separate issue.

    If you want non religion in schools then guess what? You get off tour backside, gain support and build your own schools just like the Christians have.

    This is a specious argument. Most church schools are funded from taxpayers’ money.

    You seem to be afraid that if Christianity loses its privileged position in the schools system then it will be damaged. One look at the USA should disabuse you of that.

  • abucs

    Catholics and the Catholic Church are two different things. So are Stonehenge Warlocks and the fanciful Stonehenge Warlock coven.

    I belong to a society where Catholics and Stonehenge Warlocks are treated the same on buses etc. I don’t need to get used to anything. That is one of the benefits of the society that i belong to and i am proud of it.

    You betray a demonising of the other when i don’t accept the ridiculousness of your attempts to force every government agency and process to have equal representation of the Catholic Church and Stonehenge Warlocks.

    The parallel would be like claiming all sports need to be treated the same. So Gaelic Football has to be treated the same as Australian football. No matter that vastly more people in Ireland play and want to watch Gaelic. Too bad! The state should (according to your mentality) represent each equally in schools and on Government TV. Public decisions for funding is forced to ‘treat’ Gaelic football and Australian Rules the same. This is ridiculous.

    Of course it’s not just Australian rules. Fox hunting and sumo wrestling and downhill skiing must also be represented and funded equally. We can’t forget the minority amongst us that play ice hockey. They have rights too! If we are going to use public money to fund a Hurling stadium, well it just won’t be fair unless we build a publicly funded ice hockey stadium as well. We have to build a cock fighting stadium as well, i nearly forget them. How intolerant of me!

    Don’t forget cock fighting! You might not like it but a minority do. They have rights too. Get used to it. If you want to fund soccer in our schools you have to also fund cock fighting.

    How ridiculous that mentality is?

    Fairness? Rights? Equality? What a load of crap. It’s nothing of the sort. Only secular Marxism can dress up dictated injustice as fairness and equality.

    If ever such a stupid idea was ever brought in it would be the quickest way to kill off sport there is. Being fair to all sport in this silly way would mean that the Government would abandon sport altogether.

    At the 911 memorial in New York there was no Church officials or priests present. This is the forced outcome of treating all religions the same. Because you can’t have the 483 different religious representatives on stage and you can’t discriminate between religions, you have to treat them equally. Government has to banish all religion from all public occasions. This is quite obviously an anti-religious push to force religion out of the public square. It’s ridiculous and an insult to the intelligence.

    I have detailed the same push in education where all religions have to be treated equally. If the curriculum says something nice about Christianity and Science (the topic that i’ve highlighted) it also has to look around and find something nice to say about the Hindus, Shiite and Sunni Muslims and yes the Stonehenge Warlocks. If one particular religion seems to be getting too much curriculum coverage – maybe because of the inconvenient truth that a large section of the students are of that religion; or that it actually has contributed largely to a particular field then the secular mindset will either attack that religion to portray a more “balanced (but inaccurate) view” or it will look to take that learning out of the curriculum (again inaccurate) to obey a warped sense of equality. Either way this ‘being fair to religion’ rubbish means misrepresenting and attacking religion and eventually looking to remove it from public consideration by using public money.

    This is the secular Marxist process wrapped up in pseudo fairness and equality. It is a minority dictating to the majority, wrapping it up in pseudo equality and believing anyone who disagrees is intolerant and wants to push Stonehenge Warlocks off buses. This warped sense of right and wrong in the pursuit of one’s own interest and exclusive sense of morality against the majority view marks the characteristics of the worst of secular Marxist regimes of last century.

    This silly mindset you are demonstrating came straight out of the secular paradises of last century of the USSR and China.

    This was their contribution to the cold war. Now both of those countries whose ideology you have fallen for are today looking to include religion in their education, culture and social services and pay for it out of the public purse.

    How crazy is this? Spending public money on something that a great deal of the public are interested in and which produces great results for society. Who would have thought that this is what government is supposed to do? Obviously that is not one of the main concerns of the secular mindset. Perhaps that explains a great deal why they all fell over last century.

    In their countries the silly mindset you advance was used for 3 or 4 generations. It was a big mistake and now you are left following it when they have moved on. The Communist Party in China now donates land to the Catholic Church and spends public money to build Catholic Seminaries and creates thousands of Catholic priests to go out all over Commuist China and better Chinese society.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11020947

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/aug/28/china-future-christianity

    http://business.highbeam.com/62876/article-1P2-16087342/3rd-ldchina-exclusive-china-opens-largest-seminary

    I can’t believe there is anybody left so stupid enough to continue on with the forced removal of religion from society of last century while the practisers of this ideology, found this idea so disastrous for their societies that they drastically changed direction and have gone in the other direction.

    We can’t be so stupid to repeat their mistakes and they were huge mistakes.

  • abucs,

    Your sporting analogy does not work. Sports are not mutually exclusive. Rugby-playing parents do not generally get offended if their children are taught hockey or table-tennis in school.

    At the 911 memorial in New York there was no Church officials or priests present.

    I don’t know. It may just have been politically easier to avoid having to decide whether to invite an imam.

    This silly mindset you are demonstrating came straight out of the secular paradises of last century of the USSR and China.

    No, it came from France and the United States. The USSR and China were not secular, they were atheist. They actively shut down churches and suppressed religion. The United States and France are secular states where religious belief has historically been protected, although there has been a worrying anti-Muslim sentiment in both countries of late. Once again, you demonstrate that you do not understand the difference between secularism and atheism.

    (BTW I find it ironic that you extol the virtues of the ersatz Chinese state “Catholic” church, given your earlier complaint about the Reformation being the state takeover of Christianity.)

    You do have a point about false notions of objectivity. This is a problem generally, and not just in the religious sphere. We must however be careful to separate the objective study of religion from religious instruction. It would of course be ridiculous if the topic of religion were not even to be mentioned in history class.

    But the issue is whether there should be religious instruction in schools, and that includes the implicit religious instruction that hides behind the word “ethos”.

  • abucs

    I am not praising the Chinese system of Government i am merely stating that their secular approach has now been abandoned because it did not work. They now actively fund religion. I am not saying i agree with their particular system just that their previous policy was not viable.

    The sporting analogy is quite valid but your comment about being offended does carry weight. We can decide to be offended by whatever we wish. If we enshrine being offended as a way of taking out that in law that which we object to then we start to build up a cultural mindset of demonstrating we are offended at anything we don’t like. That is not how a social democracy works.

    Those that could then convince government that they are offended the most can get their way. That seems like a very corosive attitude to promote in inter community communication.

    In a social democracy if people want to play tiddly-winks then that is their right. But they don’t have the right to be funded by the state to the same degree that football is publicly funded. They have the right to be offended by football but they can’t use their being offended as a way to get rid of public funding for football.

    The only thing more silly than this demand is the person who is against all sport but who wants to take up the case for the tiddly-winkers and declare how much better society would be if we treated tiddly-winks and football the same. Then they wouldn’t be so personally offended!

    That’s not how a social democracy works. If people want to play tiddly-winks and there are enough of them in a geographic location; if it is good for society and there is enough ongoing community support for tiddly-wink funding then they can petition the government to spend their own tax money on tiddly-winks.

    This is social democracy working from the bottom-up, not a dictatorship from the top-down. The tiddly winkers cannot stop the public funding for the much larger football population who do have an ongoing support base and who do a lot of good for society and who pay a substantially larger portion of taxes.

    If people want non-religion as a school ethos they can either mount a secularist coup as they did last century and dictate from the top-down (which ultimately failed) or you can work within a social democracy from the bottom-up and get together to form an ongoing viable non-religious community who can demonstrate doing a lot of good for society and who would like their own schools in the geographic locations where those non-religious communities have numbers to justify it.

    To dictate all schools must mandatorily follow your program without even trying to demonstrate viable ongoing communities is the equivalent of a legal secular coup, an attack on social democracy and an insult to your much larger group of fellow citizens who have continually demonstrated ongoing viable communities across the whole country.

    We have to be careful we don’t argue for a mandated ideology to be able to dictate social engineering from the top-down without regard for community wishes and without regard to the proven failure that this social engineering has produced in the past . It failed big time everywhere it was tried and caused a lot of economic hardships, social injustice and human rights violations while at the same time claiming itself to be universally enlightened, just and fair to the same society it was in the process of repressing.

  • No, the sporting analogy does not work. Religious belief is not comparable to sport; it is much more important. That is why religious belief is specifically mentioned in human rights law and sporting participation is not.

    Perhaps my use of “offended” was unhelpful. Let me try again. It is not a violation of your rights as a parent for me to teach your children tiddlywinks. It is a violation of your rights as a parent for me to teach them Islam.

    There are two ways to avoid violating the rights of parents not to have their children instructed inappropriately in religion. The first is to make sure that every religious denomination has its own schools. The other is to take religious instruction out of school and find another way to do it (e.g. Sunday school).

    The first method works so long as there are a small number of denominations, each with enough adherents to support their own school. It is rigid and has undesirable side-effects such as communal segregation.

    The second method always works. Nothing is lost that cannot be replaced by out-of-hours teaching, and parental choice is increased. Complaining that your children don’t get religious instruction in school is like complaining that you can’t buy pre-buttered toast.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    “Your sporting analogy does not work. Sports are not mutually exclusive. Rugby-playing parents do not generally get offended if their children are taught hockey or table-tennis in school.”

    No but if they were taught Hurling and handball there could be a problem, therein lies the difficulty.

  • Thank you, Eddie. Yes, many who object to integrated schooling do so from a religious point of view, like our abucs. And then there are those for whom the religious argument is a convenient cover for communalism.

    The goal of integrated education is not simply anti-sectarianism. It is also about building a single society. One of the main reasons that division is so entrenched in NI is that all aspects of society have parallel divisions. Sport, religion, politics, music, language – all are segregated along roughly the same lines. Most people feel uncomfortable mixing and matching across these dividing lines and so problems in one arena spill into others. Every disagreement quickly becomes political. CSI is about decoupling these divisions from each other.

    Yes, there will always be Catholics and Protestants, Unionists and Nationalists, hurling and cricket. But they don’t have to be monolithic blocks where you choose between set menu A and set menu B. We need an a la carte approach to our society, where individuals can take part in whichever cultural mix suits them personally, and not just the rigid ones that are handed to them by their upbringing. This requires exposing children to the alternatives and giving them the confidence to make their own choices.

  • abucs

    Andrew, a few things from what you have said. If religion is so much more important as you say, then the state should not remove itself from religion. The state is an elected group of people for the purpose of overseeing important things.

    Next, it is not against any charter of human right to teach my kids Islam. It may be against certain charters to make them a Muslim or to make them take part in Islamic ritual against their wishes but it is not a illegal to teach them Islam or to be immersed in an Islamic culture.

    Next you say that there are two ways for their human rights not to be violated. Not withstanding i’ve just demonstrated that there are no rights that are being violated, it is also true as you have said that one of the ways for doing this is to remove all religion from schools. This is the legal outcome that i have spoken about and which you have just acknowledged.

    This is obviously coming from non religious people who want religion out of the public sphere for their own reasons – such as socially engineering a different community as i have previously specified and as you also have now acknowledged as your particular wish.

    There have been lots of people who have wanted to do away with existing religion and build a new united society – Mohammed was one. Stalin was another, so was Hitler and so was Mao.

    Now again as i have said, there have been thousands of University professors who taking their inspiration from Marx have made it their life’s mission to do this in
    Western Europe. As i have claimed in the pursuit of this idea, a fall in the quality of education by teaching mistruths was deemed an acceptable price if it got people rejecting Christianity and supporting a non Christian outlook. It has worked in some respect in miving peoples allegiance to Christianity but it has not been helpful to society. It has caused more fragmentation. It failed utterly in the East where it was the base ideology of society and needs to be drastically revisited here as being a viable concept for any future society.

    If you want a compulsory integrated education you are overiding ths wishes of a large section of the electorate for your own idelogical reasons. This alone is not good in a social democracy but when the product of this exact type of project has been tried in the past it was very bad for society as well as ignoring community wishes.

    My posts regarding the Belfast religious educator Philip Barnes was to demonstrate just this exact thing. When integrated education happens people start fighting over what should be in the curriculum. People with ideas such as yourself start to misrepresent religion (something you have said is important) in the name of getting people to believe the same things and creating this united society.

    So the importance of religion is easily suppressed to serve the need of social engineering, religious truth is derided, so is religious success in creating civilisation and the failure of religion is highlighted and exaggerated as is the criticism of any Church heirachy. All of this stands in the way of social reformers building their own idea of what society should be about. To have the tools to try this they must sweep away ideas of existing structures which have successfully built society.

    – just like Mohammed did with the Christian, Jewish and pagan tribes of the Arabian Peninsula or Hitler did with his new state based Aryan Reich, or Stalin did with his workers paradise etc etc.

    As Karl Marx has said, “men make their future, but they do not make it as they would wish.”

    As i have recently posted on another thread, political parties have shown in the West that they are incapable of mobilising any community culture except in the case of perceived injustice or perceived threat. A society needs a mobilised community that are inspired to do good things in society such as building schools, universities, aged care centres, hosptitals etc. Much of Western education with an emphasis on denigrating religion (Christianity) has not served society or politics well. A social democracy needs strong Churches in order to function. The experiments of the East have proved that beyond doubt. The likewise attacks in the West have not been a good (or truthful) pursuit.

    We live in a much more mobile world today. People are not locked into ghettoes as you suggest be that physical or mental ghettoes. People can be members of Orange Halls and play Hurling. People can speak Irish and play rugby. People can meet people that have philisophical, political and metaphysical thoughts that both agree and disagree with themselves in different ways.

    In fact it is hard not to meet different people and be enriched and challenged by any differences as well as being supported by our similarities.

    Of course a non religious culture is not a neutral position between Catholic and Protestant. In fact, as you would expect, many people see non religion as an extreme to be avoided and a culture they do not want to be part of. The state enforcing this exact culture on them has never been a good thing.

    http://library2.usask.ca/theses/available/etd-07152008-111457/

  • abucs,

    Religious belief is sacrosanct, therefore the state should keep its hands off. State interference in matters of faith has always been disastrous.

    It may be against certain charters to make them a Muslim

    Teaching them that Islam is true and Christianity is false falls under that heading.

    socially engineering a different community as i have previously specified and as you also have now acknowledged as your particular wish.

    The important distinction is whether the social engineering in question is a broadening or a restrictive process. One of the primary responsibilities of a public education system is to broaden knowledge and horizons, to expose children to ideas that they may not otherwise encounter. The goal of integrated education should not be to force people into some artificial new society, but to remove existing barriers that prevent a better society from coming about. There is a historical tendency for cultures to naturally assimilate if given favourable conditions. The state should neither hinder nor force this process.

    If you want a compulsory integrated education you are overiding ths wishes of a large section of the electorate for your own idelogical reasons.

    So long as nobody’s rights are being violated (and state-funded religious instruction is NOT a human right) then this is democracy at work.

    People are not locked into ghettoes as you suggest be that physical or mental ghettoes.

    “Mental ghettoes” is a perfect description of Northern Ireland. I might borrow that.

    Most of the rest of your post is again confusing atheism and secularism, which is becoming tiresome.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Integrated Education—a cautionary tale.
    The claim that segregated schooling is inefficient and costly carries weight but there is more to schooling than efficiency and cost. Central to a schooling system is an agreed curriculum in which it is agreed what to teach and how to teach. In 1832 the British government introduced a system of integrated schooling into Ireland in which—“Catholic and Protestant children would be educated together so they would form friendships that would last through life.” This lofty altruism of Lord Stanley was scuppered by the Churches in a bitter sectarian feud over what should be taught in the religious curriculum and how it should be taught. The religious curriculum for integrated schools here is further complicated by the existence of secular humanism which preaches the dogma that they have the answer to the problem of religion in the curriculum because they preach that the state and school should be neutral in regards to religion and all world religions should be placed on the curriculum because no specific religion is of value to the state. This is the position of The One School of Thought Campaign which has the backing of secular humanism. If secular humanism is to be part of the school curriculum then secular humanist dogma should be put to the vote in N.Ireland. If history is not to repeat itself in integrated schools in our time an agreed religious curriculum by the churches would need to be in place before children are herded together into integrated schools.
    IT is also pointed out that established Anglicanism is the official state religion of England and that Church of England schools which are funded by the state maintain Anglicanism in England and world wide. There are secular humanists at Westminster who would preach that The Church of England be disestablished and state funds be with drawn from Anglican Schools. This dogma would need to be voted on at Westminster or better still by the English.
    IN the 19th century the secular curriculum fared no better. Ireland or the Irish language weren’t’ recognised in the curriculum of National Schools. In integrated schools what curricular recognition will be given to Ireland and the Irish language? It may be said that that can be dealt with in Irish History but which version of Irish history to teach – the British version or the Irish version or both and if both how is that to be taught? Teachers of history from controlled and maintained schools and from the universities would need to thrash out an agreed curriculum for Ireland and its history before children are herded into schools where the teachers aren’t agreed what to teach or how to teach.
    IN post famine Ireland Catholicism and nationalism became assertive and there was strong opposition to the curricular set-up in National Schools. Cardinal Cullen issued the edict that Catholic children be taught in Catholic schools by Catholic teachers. I’m not sure but this edict may now be canon law but irrespective of that Cardinal Cullen’s edict remains the official position of the Irish bishops on the education of Catholic children. If there is to be integration this edict would need to be relaxed by the Catholic Church.
    Schools in N Ireland were messed up in an ill thought-out plan to abolish selection. Schools could be further mess up in an ill thought-out curriculum for integrated schools and the people could find they have been sold a curricular pig in a poke.
    Integrationists maintain that the purpose of integrated schools Is to unite society in N Ireland IN a liberal democracy the purpose of schools to give pupils a liberal education and maintain a liberal society. It is not the purpose of schools in a liberal democracy to bring about social change by engineering children. Those who wish to bring about social change should engineer the adult population first.
    (1) The Orange Order which is sectarian and racist should engineer its charter which has sanctioned two of its members for attending a requiem Mass for Ronan Kerr and admit Catholics into its ranks. That would be a step to creating a united liberal society in N. Ireland.
    (2) Teachers should be engineered and the sectarian colleges of Stranmillis and St Mary’s should be amalgamated. This should be done by a democratic vote of the students.
    (3) The teachers in the sectarian unions of The Irish National Organisation and The Ulster Teachers Union should merge and become one as the members were prior to 1921. This would require the democratic vote of the members
    These engineerings would be a giant step towards a liberal society in Ireland. The desire to bring about social change by engineering children as Lord Stanley wanted in 1832 is nothing new. IN the seventies the lunatic left of Labour wanted to eliminate class division by putting working class and middle class children together in integrated schools. This policy would be carried out by bussing children from schools in working class districts to schools in middle class districts and vice versa. Left wing democrats in the USA called for the elimination of racial prejudice in the Deep South by bussing children between white and black districts. IF integrated schools are to be used here to eliminate sectarian division there will have to be bussing between Catholic and Protestant districts. But bussing policy is now a political dead duck and is no longer heard.
    Integration policy is now being postulated by right wing unionists who probably see in it a means whereby the Catholic community can be engineered into an acceptance of the UK constitutional status quo of N Ireland and can be bamboozled into voting unionist so that N.Ireland society will be united as unionist. Whether Sinn Fein and the SDLP see integration in that way is doubtful. The elimination of class division by integrated schools was postulated by the lunatic left. The elimination of sectarian division with integrated schools is now the policy of the lunatic right here.
    I can add a personal codicil to this. As a youngster I was educated at primary level in a National School building in a rural parish in Tyrone. There were five National School buildings in the parish two Protestant and three Catholic. Parents sent their children to the school that was most convenient. The primary I went to was Catholic with a strong Protestant contingent of pupils. The curriculum comprised Religious Instruction and secular instruction. The Catholic pupils were given Religious Instruction from 9:00 to 9:30. At 9:30th the protestant pupils arrived for secular instruction and the official teaching day began. The protestant pupils got Religious Instruction at Sunday School. Relations between the Protestants and Catholic pupils were good.
    Despite this integration the pupils grew up to be staunch Protestant Unionists who supported Unionism and the UK constitution and staunch Catholic nationalists who rejected UK constitution and voted nationalist. So integrated schooling didn’t heal the sectarian division in the parish. This supports my contention that the school has little impact on sectarian attitude but the home and community are all important.
    From my experience and knowledge of schools I end with my usual thesis which is that the sectarian problem in Ireland is constitutional. Segregated schools are a symptom of the sectarian sickness not the cause of it. To eradicate sectarianism in Ireland and bring about a unified liberal non-sectarian society for all Ireland not just for N. Ireland the conflicting UK and Republican constitutions will have to be scrapped and replaced with a unifying Federal Kingdom written constitution expressed in The National Government of Ireland Act. That is just plain simple common sense.

    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

  • abucs

    While i think Catholic Education is a positive for society and its dicated removal would be an injustice, i do agree with you Michael on just about everything else you have written there.

    The problem in Northern Ireland was a constitutional one.

    The bit i cannot stomach is the people who argue they are neutral and want to use the state to create this self defined neutrality that just happens to support their own personal political position. That is dishonest and disastrous.

    The proposed secularist use of education has been addressed adequately above.

    The use of education by some right wing Unionists as you say for political reasons would be just as bad, In the name of tolerance and respect it would be much better for those right wing Unionists to work with the Education systems to put their case respectfully and fairly to students. This would be a great exercise is social harmony. Herding students into integrated education where there would then be the inevitable never ending battle on what should be taught is both intolerant and shows a lack of respect for existing communities.

    From an education perspective one legally enforced school system with no competition would be a narrow minded system that would not be as heathy as a 3 or 4 school systems where we can look to implement the best practise.

    Globally, Catholic Schools are less of a drain on the public purse that Government schools. As usual, Governments are very inefficient, slow moving and unimaginative (largely because of the calibre of politicians and the constant infighting in education by dozens of special interest groups).

    In America where it is illegal to fund education by religious groups (talk about human rights violations) various states have looked to introduce voucher systems where low ability students can opt out of the state system (which isn’t working for them) and choose an independent private (usually religious) school. The hardline secularists are even in the courts trying to stop this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_voucher
    http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/publicprivatespecialbasic.html

    In Australia the government funds both state run schools and private schools (mostly Catholic). The private system actually saves the government a lot of money and in economic tough times like this saving billions of pounds a year would obviously be a good thing.

    Even though in Australia parents attending private schools contribute tuition fees (hence the saving) about 1 in 3 people still choose to send their children to these non government schools rather than the ‘free’ state school.

    But even in this case where parents exercise their own right of choice and actually save the tax payer money the secularists are unhappy and want it stopped for their own narrow sectarian political idelogical reasons.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/private-schools-saving-taxpayers-money-nab-20110626-1glt2.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/bias-rules-in-attack-on-schools-20110228-1bbn8.html

    http://blogs.news.com.au/moneystuff/index.php/news/comments/public_versus_private_schools

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/class-warriors-prepare-to-ambush-private-schools/story-e6frg6zo-1225994520017

    http://www.baysidechurch.com.au/content/view/509/243/

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45888.html

    Now that the bad results of a mandated ‘no religious need apply’ state system are apparent and being addressed, i think it is largely fear from secularists on difference and diversity that is driving their politics. They genuinely seemed upset and scared that there are happy communities out there who are different to them and get on with life not interested in the slightest with the secularists 20th century forced and failed socialist vision of society.

  • abucs

    Why has my reply been deleted?

  • abucs

    While i think Catholic Education is a positive for society and its dicated removal would be an injustice, i do agree with you Michael on just about everything else you have written there.

    The problem in Northern Ireland was a constitutional one.

    The bit i cannot stomach is the people who argue they are neutral and want to use the state to create this self defined neutrality that just happens to support their own personal political position. That is dishonest and disastrous.

    The proposed secularist use of education has been addressed adequately above.

    The use of education by some right wing Unionists as you say for political reasons would be just as bad, In the name of tolerance and respect it would be much better for those right wing Unionists to work with the Education systems to put their case respectfully and fairly to students. This would be a great exercise is social harmony. Herding students into integrated education where there would then be the inevitable never ending battle on what should be taught is both intolerant and shows a lack of respect for existing communities.

    From an education perspective one legally enforced school system with no competition would be a narrow minded system that would not be as heathy as a 3 or 4 school systems where we can look to implement the best practise.

    Globally, Catholic Schools are less of a drain on the public purse that Government schools. As usual, Governments are very inefficient, slow moving and unimaginative (largely because of the calibre of politicians and the constant infighting in education by dozens of special interest groups).

    In America where it is illegal to publicly fund education run by religious groups (talk about human rights violations) various states have looked to introduce voucher systems where low ability students can opt out of the state system (which isn’t working for them) and choose an independent private (usually religious) school. The hardline secularists are even in the courts trying to stop this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_voucher
    http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/publicprivatespecialbasic.html

    In Australia the government funds both state run schools and private schools (mostly Catholic). The private system actually saves the government a lot of money and in economic tough times like this saving billions of pounds a year would obviously be a good thing.

    Even though in Australia parents attending private schools contribute tuition fees (hence the saving) about 1 in 3 people still choose to send their children to these non government schools rather than the ‘free’ state school.

    But even in this case where parents exercise their own right of choice and actually save the tax payer money the secularists are unhappy and want it stopped for their own narrow sectarian political idelogical reasons.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/private-schools-saving-taxpayers-money-nab-20110626-1glt2.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/bias-rules-in-attack-on-schools-20110228-1bbn8.html

    http://blogs.news.com.au/moneystuff/index.php/news/comments/public_versus_private_schools

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/class-warriors-prepare-to-ambush-private-schools/story-e6frg6zo-1225994520017

    http://www.baysidechurch.com.au/content/view/509/243/

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45888.html

    Now that the bad results of a mandated ‘no religious need apply’ state system are apparent and being addressed, i think it is largely fear from secularists on difference and diversity that is driving their politics. They genuinely seemed upset and scared that there are happy communities out there who are different to them and get on with life not interested in the slightest with the secularists 20th century forced and failed socialist vision of society.

  • Abucs,

    I didn’t get any reply in my email. Perhaps it didn’t go in properly?

  • abucs

    It’s there again now but waiting to be moderated.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Hi Abucs
    THanks for your supportive reply. Glad to note you recognise that historic Btitish/Irish identily problem as constitutional.

    Michael Gillespie

  • …the Western Scientific enterprise came from the Christian Churches..

    Abucs, I hope it is not “man playing” to say that your assertion is nonsense. All of science is based on understanding of the underlying
    mathematics which greatly precedes Christianity in many cases. And check the origins of the words “algebra and algorithm” (Muslim).
    You mention Newton; although he was an ordained minister, there is a lot of doubt that he believed in a Christ god.

  • I love it that Michael Gillespie accuses integrationists of being rabid right-wingers and Abucs accuses them of being rabid left-wingers.

    We must not confuse the issues of diversity of education provision (which I would wholeheartedly support) and secularism. Diversity of provision is meaningless if one’s religious belief limits your choice of schools. The argument that Catholic schools are in some ways superior to state schools is bogus. If I used that argument to defend Protestant-only workplaces I would rightly be pilloried as a bigot.

    Michael, your education is an exceptional case, and it seems like some sensible decisions were made locally. I have never argued that integrated schooling is a magic bullet, and I have certainly never argued that it will make unionism and nationalism disappear. You make some good points about teacher training colleges, unions and the like, although I would say that a student ballot would not be the proper avenue to take. The question of a common history narrative is of course going to be extremely contentious, but this is something that will have to be tackled sooner or later, and if integrated schooling forces the issue, so much the better.

    As for your grand constitutional scheme, if it had been implemented a hundred years ago then maybe our history might have been different. It would make an interesting alternative history novel. But you can’t unscramble an egg.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher
    I( haven’t said that integrationists are rabid right wingers but it is clear that the call for integration is coming from the British Protestant sectarian unionist right wing of the assembly no doubt with a hidden political agenda. So far the Irish catholic sectarian Nationalist/Republican left wing of the assembly has been non-committal. If schools are to become secular that would need to be put to the electorate and voted on and if secularists are to be consistent they should call for the secularisation of Church of England schools as well.
    You dodge the key issue that the notion of integrated schools is nothing new. Integration is an emotional issue in the sense — Protestant and Catholic children in the same school! What a wonderful idea! That is a Joanna Lumley type feeling about integration. I admit integration has emotional appeal but that is all it has. Lord Stanley’s appeal for integration in 1832 was emotional and a heavy history of sectarian division in schooling followed. Many years ago the lunatic fringe of Labour put forward an emotional plea for the integration of working and middle class children in the same school to eliminate the social division o f class proposing the bussing of children to achieve this. If integrationist were to drop the emotion and concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the matter they would find that if integration is to be implemented on the ground it will require the bussing of children to and from schools in Catholic and Protestant districts. This is an educational luxury that a cash strapped Department of Education can’t afford and would cost more than segregated schooling. Like the abolition of selection Integration hasn’t been thought through by its proponents. The curriculum for integrated schools presents profound difficulties in the teaching of Ireland . At present the GCSE curriculum classifies hurling as foreign. But in integrated schools what will be the common narrative of the O Neillite Wars the Flight of The Earls the Plantation of Ulster the Battle of the Boyne and the Penal Laws?
    If integration doesn’t change British Protestant sectarian unionism and Irish Catholic sectarian Nationalist/Republicanism what will it change? That is the core issue of sectarianism and you are saying that can’t be changed. So is integration a wonderful idea that will change nothing? The past can’t be changed but the future can be made different and better. You say if my constitutional scheme had been implemented 100 years ago (say at the time of Home Rule) history would have been different But that is an—If Only—o f history the sectarian squabble o f Home Rule is still with us. If my constitutional scheme were to be adopted now the future of Ireland could be better united and non-sectarian. Your position of no possible change to sectarianism but that the sectarian squabble has to be lived with because you can’t unscramble an egg is fatalistic in the extreme.
    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

  • if secularists are to be consistent they should call for the secularisation of Church of England schools as well.

    I once had a letter published in the Times objecting strongly to Tony Blair’s promotion of faith schools, so yes I am consistent. But England is not the subject of this thread.

    if integration is to be implemented on the ground it will require the bussing of children to and from schools in Catholic and Protestant districts

    That is a separate issue. Enforced quotas are not a necessary component of integrated education.

    The curriculum for integrated schools presents profound difficulties in the teaching of Ireland . At present the GCSE curriculum classifies hurling as foreign. But in integrated schools what will be the common narrative of the O Neillite Wars the Flight of The Earls the Plantation of Ulster the Battle of the Boyne and the Penal Laws?

    Exactly! Separating children according to religion and teaching them different versions of history is one of the fundamental problems.

    If integration doesn’t change British Protestant sectarian unionism and Irish Catholic sectarian Nationalist/Republicanism what will it change?

    Unionism and nationalism are not inherently sectarian. Why does unionism have to be Protestant? Why does nationalism have to be Catholic? It is the mutual entanglement of nationality, politics and religion that is the problem. Unionism and nationalism will not go away any more than Protestantism and Catholicism. But we should be able to debate them on their own merits rather than knee-jerk tribalism.

    If my constitutional scheme were to be adopted now the future of Ireland could be better united and non-sectarian.

    That’s putting the cart before the horse. For it even to pass a vote in NI (never mind the Republic, more on that below) there would have to be a miraculous resolution of communal tensions first.

    Your position of no possible change to sectarianism but that the sectarian squabble has to be lived with because you can’t unscramble an egg is fatalistic in the extreme.

    That is a misrepresentation. It is the independence of the Republic that cannot be unscrambled. Your proposal is that southerners should give up their republic and their independence so that northern sectarianism can be magically cured.

    I’ll state it again. It is tribalism that is the cause of NI’s problems, ultimately deriving from the unresolved legacy of plantation and non-integration of communities. The constitutional argument is a symptom.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher
    “I once had a letter published in The Times objecting strongly to Tony Blair’s promotion of faith schools —- England is not the subject of this thread.”
    The rationale that keeps faith schools in place in England (the UK) is the same as the rationale that keeps faith schools in N. Ireland (the UK). As long as there are faith schools in one part of the UK there should be faith schools in every part of the UK. That can only be changed by a democratic vote not by letters to the papers. I suggest you write another letter to the Times objecting to established Anglicanism as the state religion of England and urge the disestablishment of the Church of England to make England secular.
    “That is a separate issue (bussing)”
    Who says so? If facts are faced bussing is a sine qua non of integrated schools.
    “Enforced quotas are not a necessary component of integrated education.”
    Of course they are. The demography of N. Ireland dictates that there will be bussing if there is to be a mixed pupil population in the schools. Without this integration is meaningless. There will be Catholic schools in Catholic districts and Protestant schools in Protestant districts.
    “Separating children according to religion and teaching them different versions of history is one of the fundamental problems.”
    And you don’t answer the fundamental problem. How can there be the same version of Irish history in integrated schools when an agreed history of Ireland doesn’t exist among scholars? You haven’t thought integration through. There are serious problems with the curriculum in integration.
    “Unionism and nationalism aren’t intrinsically sectarian.”
    But de facto they are.
    Why does Unionism have to be Protestant? Why does nationalism have to be Catholic?
    You can’t be serious! It would a tome on Irish history to answer that.
    “ But we should be able to debate them on their own terms rather than knee-jerk tribalism.”
    This use of tribalism is akin to what one reads about the British/Irish problem in an unthinking snooty English press. The tribalism you refer to has been defined centuries ago in the Dungannon Resolution of 1796 as a religio-ethnic- constitutional conflict between Loyalists and Republicans. IN our own time the tribalism was defined in the same way in Long Kesh where prisoners were housed in Loyalist and Republican blocks. A loyalist/Republican conflict is a constitutional conflict just as the conflict in 1798 was. Since the tribal conflict is constitutional it can only be settled constitutionally.
    “There would have to be a miraculous resolution of communal tension.”
    The communal tensions are those of Loyalism and Republicanism and are religio-ethnic -constitutional as is borne out in communal voting patterns in elections. This tension won’t be resolved in school but by constitutional legislation. I don’t believe that the social division of sectarianism can be resolved in integrated schools and a unified society created any more than I believe that the social division of Class can be resolved in integrated schools and a unified society created.
    “Your proposal is that southerners give up their Republic and independence so the northern sectarian can be miraculously cured.”
    This Is a farcical misrepresentation of my proposal. I have already explained in Slugger what the requirement of a nation is for sovereignty and independence. You conveniently ignore that. It is the constitution of a nation that determines its independence and sovereignty. Ireland was partitioned into two sectarian statelets not two independent nations and remain so. If Ireland is to become a sovereign independent nation it will require an all Ireland written constitution acceptable to all. I have suggested such a constitution at http://www.authorhouse.co.uk If an acceptable all Ireland constitution was voted on the result could be positive.
    “Its tribalism that is the cause of N.I. problem ultimately deriving from the unresolved legacy of the plantation and the non-integration of communities.”
    Again you leave tribalism undefined but it is defined in the Dungannon Resolution and in Long Kesh as loyalism v Republicanism . As noted this is a religio-ethnic- constitutional conflict that can only be resolved constitutionally. The planters were Protestant loyalist and their descendants remain so today. The native Irish weren’t loyalist but had been involved in a war against the Crown. For this reason the Protestant planters saw the native Catholic Irish as untrustworthy and to be kept down. This attitude persisted into the Stormont Unionist government and resulted in the Civil Rights Movement. This in turn gave rise to the insane Republican campaign to overthrow the constitution by brute force that lasted for 30 years.
    As for the integration of communities I would point out that Ireland had been planted by the Normans who became more Irish than the Irish by intermarrying with the native Irish and an identity problem didn’t arise. Loyalists identify themselves as British Protestant and apart. Republicans identify them selves as Irish Catholic and apart, hence the sectarian ghettoes in the cities so the problem is of a religio-ethnic-constitutional nature.
    This religio-ethnic-constitutional problem Is not unique to Ireland. It is found in Cyprus with a Turkish Muslim minority and a Greek Christian majority who want enosis union with Greece and the Turks want nothing to do with Greece. This sounds familiar and is a religio-ethnic-constitutional conflict which flared into violence in 1931 and 1955. Cyprus is now partitioned. The integrity of the island can only be restored in an agreed constitution between the Turks and Greeks. While this is unlikely that doesn’t mean the attempt shouldn’t be made.
    A similar religio-ethnic –constitutional conflict exists in Sri Lanka between the native Singhalese who are Buddhist and the Hindu Tamils who are of Indian stock. The Tamils the minority want union with India the Singhalese want nothing to do with India. Again this sounds familiar and violence ensued. Either the Singhalese will defeat the Tamils or the island will be partitioned. But an attempt to find peace and maintain the integrity of the island in an agreed constitution should be tried. This may not work but the attempt should be made.
    There are similar religio-ethnic-constitutional conflicts to be found among the Kurds and Turks and between the Serbs and the Bosnians. In all of these conflicts which are the same as the conflict in Ireland no one in their right minds is suggesting that the religio-ethnic-constitutional conflicts in the countries mentioned can be sorted out in integrated schools.
    I maintain that the religio-ethnic-constitutional problem here can be sorted out in an agreed constitution of the Sovereign Nation of Ireland within Federal Kingdom expressed in a democratically agreed National Government of Ireland Act c f http://www.authorhouse.co.uk I can’t say that often enough even if it falls on deaf ears and thick skulls.
    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

  • Michael,

    As long as there are faith schools in one part of the UK there should be faith schools in every part of the UK

    Education is a devolved matter. There is no requirement that we do the same thing England does.

    there will be bussing if there is to be a mixed pupil population in the schools. Without this integration is meaningless

    It depends whether your aim is equality of outcome or equality of opportunity. I’m more interested in the equality of opportunity that comes from every child being treated equally. The integrated sector currently requires a balance so that it cannot become de facto part of one community. This motivation is less important if all schools are integrated.

    There are serious problems with the curriculum in integration.

    There are difficulties with the secondary school curriculum, and I haven’t denied that. I don’t see that they are insurmountable.

    It is the constitution of a nation that determines its independence and sovereignty. Ireland was partitioned into two sectarian statelets not two independent nations and remain so.

    Ireland remains partitioned because its own people cannot decide amongst themselves whether they are one nation or two. You cannot impose an external definition of nationhood on the unwilling.

    The planters were Protestant loyalist and their descendants remain so today.

    You conveniently leave out the bit where the Presbyterians changed sides.

    The Tamils the minority want union with India

    The LTTE have never advocated union with India.

    I’m exhausted reading the cut and paste boilerplate contents of your posts, Michael. Argumentum ad nauseam. I’ll leave you the last word. I doubt anyone else is still reading.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Andrew Gallagher
    Glad to know you’ve given up on this interminable exchange on Slugger. I have more important things to do than perpetuate such an exchange. I’m now working on a fourth book on British/Irish identity because that is the right thing to do and Slugger is a distraction. You should write a book on secularism and integration if you are convinced of that. I sign off with this thought: –
    “A man convinced against his will is of his own opinion still.”
    Michael Gillespie

  • abucs

    One of the many problems with secularism is that it believes it is neutral. It is not. In believing it is neutral it then opens the way morally for the forced systematic subjection of the majority to the will of the minority without seeing itself as an aggressor.

  • abucs

    the Western Scientific enterprise came from the Christian Churches…..

    Yes it did Joe. They built the Universities, they funded them, they staffed them, they preserved and taught the ancient knowledge, theorised and tested new knowledge, they attended them, they set the curricula, they promoted the transfer and development of knowledge around Europe and not surprisingly they were the ones to found scientific fields and set scientific principles.

    Clergy and theologians, founded the scientific fields of physics, chemistry, Big Bang cosmology, geography, palientology, microbiology, seismology, genetics and even evolution and more as well as creating the first mathematical models for heliocentrism and the atom and of course they actually were first at defining and then using the scientific method and then there was the important building of schools and Universities all over Europe. They also built hospitals for towns of more than 5000 people (by Papal decree) and for centuries medicine was the driver of Western science. And of course the doctors came out of medical faculties at Christian run Universities after 7 years of scientific training by professors (very often clergy) appointed by Bishops and Popes. Many of these scientific professors themselves became bishops and at least one became Pope.

    You can’t do any more than that to create the Western scientific enterprise.

    To address the minor points you raised :

    Yes science uses mathematics, yes there was mathematics before the Christians. The Christian Churches promoted the development of modern mathematics and made the connection that “God’s Creation” should work on mathematical law.

    No need to check the origins of algebra or algorithm as I already have taught in majority Muslim settings that very history in detail and you can throw in others such as Zenith and the re-introduction of the armillary spheres (through the Pope) back into Europe.

    No one is saying Muslims can’t do mathematics. No one is saying that the earlier majority Christian populations they conquered in Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Assyria, Armenia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia or Spain couldn’t do mathematics either.

    I am aware of Newton also Joe. He as you say had a lot of doubt on the traditional concept of the Trinity. He left us with 2 million words on Theology for us to see that. No big surprise – all Christians struggle to understand that. Christianity is about expanding the mind and taking in new concepts. The Christian history (untold in “neutral” secular dominated countries today) has proved that.

    As Newton mentions in his groundbreaking Latin work Principia Matematica his stated hope is that – the thinking man may see the connection between the natural law and mathematics and therefore be brought to an understanding of God as the architect of the natural law.

    Today a “not so neutral” secular culture tries very hard to leave that last part out and pretend it was never at the base of the Western scientific enterprise.

    Such an education is an inferior and politically contrived one.

    But then i maintain that secularism can only flourish in tandem with an inferior education system and a wilful forgetting of history in obeyance of a politically correct “neutrality”. Such a way of thinking is an unreality and ultimately bad for society.

    Two free online books for consideration in the historical quest for the Western scientific enterprise which highlights the modern “secular” forgetfulness in our education system:

    http://www.archive.org/details/popessciencehist00walsrich
    http://www.manybooks.net/titles/walshjj3406734067-8.html

  • John O’Dowd: “The principle of children going to school together, no-one can argue against.”

    It’s not a principle that is high on the agenda for school reform in Coleraine.

    Mr O’Dowd ordered the two main education authorities (the education and library boards and Council for Catholic Maintained Schools) to draw up ‘area based plans’ for a new network of primary and post-primary schools.

    I suppose he could have asked them to jointly submit a range of options, including options for merger ‘across the sectarian divide. Why didn’t he do so?