‘Argument against faith schools summed up in two words: Northern Ireland. Or one: Glasgow’

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A LEADING atheist who led Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament has outraged the Catholic Church with his comments on the contribution he believes faith schooling makes to bigotry.


Professor AC Grayling criticised the whole concept of faith schools during a brief visit to the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

Speaking at a meeting in Holyrood for a group of secularists and humanists, the academic said of religious-based education: "The argument against faith-based schools can be summed up in two words – Northern Ireland. Or perhaps one word – Glasgow."

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "It is unfortunate that Professor Grayling chose to make ill-informed comments about Scottish schools.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives parents the right to have their children educated in accordance with their beliefs."

He said a "mature" education system would allow multiple faiths rather than a one-size-fits-all model.

However, at Mr Grayling's meeting at Holyrood with secular and humanist representatives there was a confidence that, in time, parents would succeed in removing religious education from schools.

He also claimed religions jumped to the head of the queue when it came to debate on public issues across the UK.

Churches which collectively took in 3% of the population on any regular basis found themselves "at the front of the queue of lobbyists", said Mr Grayling.

Written By: Robbie Dinwoodie
continue to source article at heraldscotland.com

21 COMMENTS

  1. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “It is unfortunate that Professor Grayling chose to make ill-informed comments about Scottish schools.

    “Ill-informed comments” = Comments that are true and therefore not liked by the spokesman.

    • In reply to #1 by Aztek:

      A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “It is unfortunate that Professor Grayling chose to make ill-informed comments about Scottish schools.

      “Ill-informed comments” = Comments that are true and therefore not liked by the spokesman.

      quite. the bible is the place to look for information and there’s nothing in it saying “thou shalt not line the streets to spit at the children of other parents because of which barn they buy their crackers from” so how dare he condem such things!

  2. “The argument against faith-based schools can be summed up in two words – Northern Ireland. Or perhaps one word – Glasgow.”

    A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “It is unfortunate that Professor Grayling chose to make ill-informed comments about Scottish schools.

    Or more accurately:

    A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland was too ignorant and bigoted to recognise religious segregation, as a cause of the Irish troubles, or the Celtic / Rangers religious divisions in Glasgow.

    A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “It is unfortunate that Professor Grayling chose to make ill-informed comments about Scottish schools.

    Who knows? People may be making (allegedly) “ill-informed comments” about paedophile priests and cover-ups next!
    It’s quite amazing how “ill-informed” facts can be, when viewed through the sheeple blinkers of “faith”!

  3. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives parents the right to have their children educated in accordance with their beliefs.”

    It would be nice if people thought about the rights of the CHILD sometimes.

    In any case, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Declaration does not require that the STATE should have to provide that religious education. How could any state find the resources to teach every conceivable belief that any parent could dream up?

  4. What a strange disjointed article. The opposite of Grayling’s usual exquisite readable/understandable prose. I should like to see the text of his presentation – must be leagues ahead of this so-called reporting.

  5. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives parents the right to have their children educated in accordance with their beliefs.”

    In which article does it state that ? (Of course the right of the child is the right of the child and the right of the parents over a child is given to parents through the custody of the child, this means parents represent better the interest of the child (not the parents right), the child has the right to a balanced education that doesn´t put at risk the child´s security (including psychological).
    Nevertheless, the child has always the right to manifest it´s own will or preferences as a being endowed with personality (that´s not the parents right as I stress, but the CHILD´S !), and believe me or not, actually religion is capable of putting a child at risk, as far as a child can manifest dislike for some religious “education”.
    Actually I work in a minors Court and even lawyers that are representing parents interests sometimes declare that what really matters is the child interest.

  6. “An unidentifiable spokesman for the Catholic Church of Scotland said a “mature” education system would allow multiple faiths rather than a one-size-fits-all model”

    Got it. You mean like the one-size-fits-all model of religious freedom and education that was in effect prior to the inconvenient arrival of Martin Luther, the Reformation, Henry VIII and the Enlightenment? Does that mean that after over 1000 years the church was immature? How about severe mental retardation. What makes these people so anxious when the slightest vibe suggests to them that they might have to live in a semblance of what they ruthlessly imposed on others?

  7. As has been said above, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not demand that the state should fund faith schools.

    Article 26 (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    And this is what it says in the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
    Paris, 20.III.1952
    Article 2
    No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

  8. The reason parents want faith based schools is to teach their kids things other people would not approve of, e.g. bigotry, homophobia, junk science, racism, religious intolerance. We have more than enough of that already without the state subsidising it.

    Segregation leads to friction and violence. That is always true, no matter what the criterion.

    • In reply to #8 by Roedy:

      The reason parents want faith based schools is to teach their kids things other people would not approve of, e.g. bigotry, homophobia, junk science, racism, religious intolerance. We have more than enough of that already without the state subsidising it.Segregation leads to friction and violence. That is always true, no matter what the criterion.

      I’m not so sure about that. The reason people I know seem to choose faith schools is because of their positions in the league tables and when they choose them they only choose the ones that get the best results in subjects like maths, science, english etc.

      It often comes down to simple parental investment – people look to see what will offer their child the best in their area. Give them the best start in a competitive world. I’ve a horrible feeling that when my child reaches school age – if the best school is RC or CorE I’ll join all the people I’ve held in contempt for years and do whatever necessary for her future qualifications. Hopefully it won’t be but if it is, her education will come above my principles.

  9. United Nations; UDHR- Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Strange how all religions contravene this noble document?

  10. Never mind separation of church and state, separation of church and education is what’s needed.

    Education according to beliefs? Well, my belief is that that’s a stupid idea vicar.

    Education according to knowledge is the only way to gain enlightenment, education based on belief is the way to suffer endarkenment.

    Where do they find them?

  11. Of course the religios know full well that if they don’t nobble the kids whilst they are young, they stand very little chance of nobbling them later.

    What was that expression the Jesuits used? Something along the lines of “Give us the child until he is seven years old, and we will have him for life.”

  12. Prof Grayling has correctly identified the huge elephant in the room for Scotlands attempts to stamp out sectarianism.

    As a Scot who has witnessed firsthand the effects this educational division has on children, I am constantly dismayed by the Scottish governments lack of balls when it comes to standing up to the Catholic church on this matter. The effects are so obvious it beggars belief that the question is not raised more often.

    When being introduced to new people at any social event the question of “What school did you go to?” and “What team do you support?” will invariably be asked by someone.

    If independance is voted for, I hope for a more secular Scotland but Im afraid it may go the other way.

  13. Dear Prof.Grayling, et al. Bad news I’m afraid. My ‘bonnie’ red-head up, in Glasgow, reads . . . . .

    “SCOTLAND’S first Islamic secondary school is to be opened in Glasgow by a group of Muslim parents.

    The Glasgow Community Education Association (GCEA) has bought Abbotsford House, a former state school in the Gorbals, for £400,000 and plans to rename the B-listed Victorian building The Islamic Institute. It will offer private secondary education to boys and girls, as well as a nursery.
    The school will be funded by parents, businessmen and members of Glasgow’s Muslim community.
    A spokesperson for the GCEA told Scotland on Sunday: “We can confirm that the building has been purchased, and we are now focused on getting the project moving ­forward.
    “We support denominational schools in Scotland and we think they’ve always had a contribution to make towards the private and public sector in education in Scotland and we are a part of that. We think this is a very positive thing and we hope it will be a very successful centre of learning.”

    The GCEA has in the past claimed that attending mainstream schools was resulting in “unsocial behaviour” among Glasgow’s Muslim youngsters.
    On a website set up to raise money for another project, it stated: “There is a huge demand in the community for a high-standard local facility providing good secular education together with moral guidance in order to produce well-balanced upright individuals.”

    • In reply to #16 by memetical:

      Dear Prof.Grayling, et al. Bad news I’m afraid. My ‘bonnie’ red-head up, in Glasgow, reads . . . . .”SCOTLAND’S first Islamic secondary school is to be opened in Glasgow by a group of Muslim parents.The Glasgow Community Education Association (GCEA) has bought Abbotsford House, a former state school in the Gorbals, for £400,000 and plans to rename the B-listed Victorian building The Islamic Institute. It will offer private secondary education to boys and girls, as well as a nursery. The school will be funded by parents, businessmen and members of Glasgow’s Muslim community. A spokesperson for the GCEA told Scotland on Sunday: “We can confirm that the building has been purchased, and we are now focused on getting the project moving ­forward. “We support denominational schools in Scotland and we think they’ve always had a contribution to make towards the private and public sector in education in Scotland and we are a part of that. We think this is a very positive thing and we hope it will be a very successful centre of learning.”The GCEA has in the past claimed that attending mainstream schools was resulting in “unsocial behaviour” among Glasgow’s Muslim youngsters. On a website set up to raise money for another project, it stated: “There is a huge demand in the community for a high-standard local facility providing good secular education together with moral guidance in order to produce well-balanced upright individuals.”

      I’m afraid there will be a lot more faith schools opening in the whole of the UK. Our secretary of state for education has handed religious lunatics education on a plate complete with full state funding and no checks and balances. It is now Govt policy!

  14. “It would be nice if people thought about the rights of the CHILD sometimes.”

    They did. From the DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
    Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959″

    “10 The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.”

    I would say that being educated in a Catholic – or Moslem – school is pretty much guaranteed to foster religious discrimination and to destroy any spirit of understanding and tolerance. Such schools should be abolished as violators of human rights.

  15. As an ex-Scot from the Clydeside, I grew up with all the religious bigotry discussed here, not just between the Protestants and Catholics, but between them and other faiths – or non-faith.

    As a non-religious child, youth and adult, I was exposed to and suffered from the ingrained hatred and violence endemic to the area. I was glad to escape, first to the Midlands of England, and then to Canada.

    All sectarian religious indoctrination must be phased out, even in private schools that receive any public funding.

    It won’t be quick or easy, but eradicating any widespread virus is difficullt if not vaccinated against very thoroughly, as we have found in the cases of other deadly diseases around the planet…. Mac.

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