christianity and secularism

Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
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funkyderek
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by funkyderek » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:29 pm

Scania wrote:I still think that parents should have the option of a religious etc. school if they wish, that teaches an incorporates their ethos into the normal school day, and receives the same funding as any other school. Is there a way this can be accommodated to everyone’s satisfaction ?
No, I would never be satisfied with having to pay to indoctrinate someone else's children with lies. I'm not even happy with private schools doing this, as I think children have a right to receive an education independent of the religious beliefs of their parents. In other countries, parents who want their children indoctrinated can take them to Sunday school (or equivalent) at their own expense and are generally happy to do so.
Protestants are a fairly small minority in this country, but as far as I know they are satisfactorily accommodated with their own schools,
Protestants don't go to school. Their children do.
could this not be achieved for non denominational Parents as well ?
Yes, by having schools that do not indoctrinate children with religious beliefs. Instead of some schools being like this, all schools should be.
I think smaller schools offer a better and higher quality environment. I still don’t think big cheap no choice one size fits all schools are the answer for any of us.
That may be true, although larger schools are able to provide more choice but that is mostly an issue in secondary schools. And in a densely populated area there may be enough people to have a Catholic school, a Protestant schooll, a Muslim school and a "Miscellaneous" school. But that is not the situation in most of Ireland. There is likely to be little or no choice of schools, and it would not be feasible to offer this kind of selection. As it is neither feasible nor advisable to do so, the best solution remains the same: keep religion out of school.
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by Scania » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:31 pm

Tulip1 wrote:Scania I forgot to say to you in a previous post:

I really appriciate the fact that you think it is wrong that my son was taught to recite prayers against our specific wishes. I wish the people on the Board of Managements were the same as you. I wish some of you would speak up and make it heard because it is so easily assumed that all catholics (or religous people in general) agree with this practice.

So thank you for that.
I would not like it to happen my child if I was in your position, even by oversight, and I understand the principle and point of view. If I heard of it happening in my school, I would like to think I'd be backing you up and asking that better arrangements are put in place, as I would feel it would be better for everyone, and make for a better overall, more thoughtful and tolerant school. Respecting each other positions is crucial, there is room for us all. Hopefully it does not occur, and as annoying as it can be, I would guess that on most occasions, it is usually out of ignorance/carelessness rather than any malice, for many theists the concept of atheism is probably as strange to them as theism would be to many atheists. I can understand how it would make a parent angry, but as general advice to everyone, if it does occur, try the diplomacy route first. (I’m sure you already do). Personally I'm on this forum to get a fuller understanding of the atheist viewpoint.
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by bockedy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:51 pm

Scania wrote:I still think that parents should have the option of a religious etc. school if they wish, that teaches an incorporates their ethos into the normal school day, and receives the same funding as any other school. Is there a way this can be accommodated to everyone’s satisfaction ? e.g. Protestants are a fairly small minority in this country, but as far as I know they are satisfactorily accommodated with their own schools, could this not be achieved for non denominational Parents as well ? I think smaller schools offer a better and higher quality environment. I still don’t think big cheap no choice one size fits all schools are the answer for any of us.
It comes down, I think, to what schools are for, regardless of their size. Is faith formation part of a school's remit? My own position : no. It overlaps with what churches and religious groups do. So, were I religious there would be a very practical issue of duplication of effort and resources.

To include faith formation in a school day is a bit arbitrary from my standpoint. It would be a bit like hearing my local school spent time and resources on basket weaving and that it was actually integrated into the curriculum rather than being an option, but I could opt my kid out (stand in the hallway like a good lad) if I so desired. Why not just do the three Rs like I expect my taxes to pay for? If basket weaving is so important go pay for it after school, rather than put the non weavers out in the hallway.
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oldrnwisr
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by oldrnwisr » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:54 pm

I still think that parents should have the option of a religious etc. school if they wish, that teaches an incorporates their ethos into the normal school day, and receives the same funding as any other school. Is there a way this can be accommodated to everyone’s satisfaction ?
Scania, I agree that parents who wish their child to have a religious education should have that option, if they pay for it. No denomination has a right to state funding. I don't think there is a way to do that in Ireland. The economic factors as well as the population density make this an impractical idea. The only reasonable and constitutional solution is to remove religion from schools and leave the obligation of religious education to the parents as laid out in the constitution.

Funkyderek, I have to disagree about private schools. Any private institution should be able to make its own rules , obviously provided those rules remain within the bounds of the law.


This whole argument is like the FCC debate in America. The censorship of television broadcasts in the US is a clear violation of the first amendment. However, there are too many parents who are too lazy to educate their own kids and instead foist the responsibility on the state who are happy to accept once they can make some money out of it.
"Science doesn't know everything. Religion doesn't know anything." AronRa - WAC 2011
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by Scania » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:37 pm

funkyderek wrote: No, I would never be satisfied with having to pay to indoctrinate someone else's children with lies. I'm not even happy with private schools doing this, as I think children have a right to receive an education independent of the religious beliefs of their parents. In other countries, parents who want their children indoctrinated can take them to Sunday school (or equivalent) at their own expense and are generally happy to do so.

Protestants don't go to school. Their children do.
Any belief, including disbelief, can be indoctrinated
In my opinon, parents are entitled to raise and educate their children according to their own world view and beliefs, and not anyone elses, including yours. That's a basic human right. When they are old enough, people are free to decide for themselves. Many atheists are former theists, or were reared by theists, and vice versa.
funkyderek wrote: Yes, by having schools that do not indoctrinate children with religious beliefs. Instead of some schools being like this, all schools should be.
And then your back to one size fits all. If it doesn't fit all atheists, then it's hardly going to fit all theists.
funkyderek wrote: That may be true, although larger schools are able to provide more choice but that is mostly an issue in secondary schools. And in a densely populated area there may be enough people to have a Catholic school, a Protestant schooll, a Muslim school and a "Miscellaneous" school. But that is not the situation in most of Ireland. There is likely to be little or no choice of schools, and it would not be feasible to offer this kind of selection. As it is neither feasible nor advisable to do so, the best solution remains the same: keep religion out of school.
I don’t agree, I live in rural county. The nearest protestant school is less than a mile (closer than the Catholic one), the nearest educate together school is five miles away. If It can be done here, it is achievable in any area. I do fully agree there should be more choice, and that not everyone is properly accommodated at present.
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by Scania » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:45 pm

oldrnwisr wrote: Scania, I agree that parents who wish their child to have a religious education should have that option, if they pay for it. No denomination has a right to state funding.
But if you extend that logic, then no denomination, including the principle of a no religion education, has the right to funding. I don't agree that is the way forward, we all pay our taxes, and I for one would not like to see Jewish / Muslim / Humanist / Buddhist ethos etc. schools refused the same funding opportunities and support as anyone else. Diversity is a good thing, and a truly secular state should be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion, nor hindering them either.
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oldrnwisr
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by oldrnwisr » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:59 pm

Any belief, including disbelief, can be indoctrinated
In my opinon, parents are entitled to raise and educate their children according to their own world view and beliefs, and not anyone elses, including yours.
a truly secular state should be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion, nor hindering them either.
Scania, from your arguments thus far, you make it clear that your view is that the world only exists in various shades of belief and that there is no such thing as absence of belief. That is fundamentally a false position. There are those of us who don't need to believe in something, even if that something is nothing.

As you point out a secular state is neutral in matters of religion but by its very definition irreligion is not a religion and thus no religion is the default position of a secular state.

Parents are entitled to raise and educate children in whatever belief they wish. They are not entitled to have the state perform that service. Neither the Catholic church nor a majority of citizens has the right to control schools in this country. The current system is broken and needs fixing. The government must adopt an educational system which treats everyone as equal and does not endorse any religion.
"Science doesn't know everything. Religion doesn't know anything." AronRa - WAC 2011
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by MichaelNugent » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:31 pm

Scania wrote:
oldrnwisr wrote: Scania, I agree that parents who wish their child to have a religious education should have that option, if they pay for it. No denomination has a right to state funding.
But if you extend that logic, then no denomination, including the principle of a no religion education, has the right to funding.
Scania, if we dip into the discussion on another thread, you believe that people can either (a) believe that there is a god or gods or (b) believe that there is no god or gods. A secular school would take no position on this question, and allow parents to deal with it outside school hours.
Scania wrote:I don't agree that is the way forward, we all pay our taxes, and I for one would not like to see Jewish / Muslim / Humanist / Buddhist ethos etc. schools refused the same funding opportunities and support as anyone else.
With secular schools, everyone has the same access to state education. Nobody is discriminated against. You are starting from an assumption that religion should get special treatment, and then defining equality as being that all variations of religion should get the same special treatment.

What about other philosophical ideas that some people see as being as important to them as religion? Should there be different schools for the children of Marxist parents and libertarian parents? Schools for children of parents who believe in alternative medicine? Schools for children of supporters of every football team? Why is religion the only belief where people think the State should pay to reinforce that belief in their children?
Scania wrote:Diversity is a good thing, and a truly secular state should be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion, nor hindering them either.
Secular schools do not hinder either religion or irreligion, any more than they hinder support for Bohemians or Shamrock Rovers or indeed support for no football team.
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:24 pm

Scania wrote:
Personally I'm on this forum to get a fuller understanding of the atheist viewpoint.
I hope you do so, I for one enjoy the discussions with you.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
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Re: christianity and secularism

Post by Marks » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:37 pm

Brown V Board of Education US Supreme Court 1954

The above case found that segregating children on the grounds of race was inherently unequal. Why do you believe that segregating children on the grounds of religion is any different? You believe in the same policy ‘separate but equal’. You want to segregate children on the basis of religion instead of race. In this country people would be shocked if it was suggested that children should be segregated on the grounds of race. There are basic grounds that the UN has found cause discrimination in education and one of them is race and another one religion. It is simply discrimination.

In this case the US Supreme Court said:-

“Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does... Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system... We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Now let us simply change it to religion. We could also change the wording to separate but equal on the grounds of disability.

“Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of religion, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does... Segregation of Catholic and minority religious children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the children of religious minorities. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the religious is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the minority group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of minority children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in an integrated school system... We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.”
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