I don't agree with the PDs often, but Liz O'Donnell's speech today on the Ferns Report should be shouted from the rooftops. Liz stated that the Church's catastrophic failure to protect the children in its care should - must - mean the end of its special relationship with the State. No more consultation with the Church on issues such as stem cell research, abortion, gay rights, etc. And no more control by the Church over education.

I agree on all of these, but particularly on the last. In an increasingly diverse society the lack of options for non-Catholics, or non-practicising Catholics (such as myself) is simply not acceptable. Schools along the lines of the Educate Together system should be the norm. If people really feel the need to have their child educated under a particular religious ethos, let them set up their own private (and privately funded!) schools. Neither the Catholic Church, nor any other religious institution, should receive public money toward this end.

It's not simply on a philosophical level that I object to state-funded religious education. I also think it's a bad idea as a practical matter. Because you can't discriminate against religions, so if you fund Catholic public schools you have to fund schools of other religions, and this simply encourages segregation. We've seen all too clearly in the northeastern part of this country what that does to intercommunity relations. It's a mistake we should not be repeating.

2 comments:

Elon-beth-hanan said...

Schools of other religions are already funded by the state...indeed the constitution obliges the country to provide education for all religions. In fact my sister's guitar teacher went to a Jewish state school in Dublin. Educate Together is also funded by the state. The consequences of a secular society is one I, and I believe most Irish people, do not envisage. Religious schools do much better than secular schools in most countries. Traditional Christian morality must dictate the policies of government, otherwise it will go the way of ancient Greece. Murdering of the unborn children nor special rights rights for sodomites should not be permitted. The last thing Irish people need is to elevate secular humanism(with all it's associated moral bancrputcy) to be the yardstick for morality of the law.

Wednesday said...

Schools of other religions are already funded by the state

And they shouldn't be.

indeed the constitution obliges the country to provide education for all religions

Where?

The consequences of a secular society is one I, and I believe most Irish people, do not envisage.

So what? The consequences of an integrated society was one most southern Americans didn't envisage. Popular prejudices and superstitions should not form the basis for public policy.

Religious schools do much better than secular schools in most countries.

Religious schools can be selective in their admittance in most countries.

As for the rest of your post, all I can say is I am very very thankful that attitudes like yours are going the way of the dinosaur (do you even believe in dinosaurs?) where they belong!

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