- Apr 29, 2012
- Reaction score
- On an island. Not that one!
- Political Leaning
Commentary from the UK
Faith Schools are those in which the ethos of the school is aligned explicitly with one particular religious denomination, with most of the teachers being dedicated adherents. They're an example of sectarianism, in which, starting from childhood, people are segregated into communities based on racial, ethnic or religious lines.
Social psychologists have consistently found across over 800 studies1 that segregating children by religion causes increased aggression and violence between groups2,3,4, "animating dangerous divisiveness" in the words of Amartya Sen5.
To have a sectarian school where everyone is part of the same religion, ethnic group, sectarian division, belief system or cult, and who are taught a particular ideology that they are also taught at home, is the worst possible scenario for the development of ideas of peace and tolerance towards others. [. . .] For example, it is better that Catholics and Protestants mingle in schools, with a common education. The alternative is what we had in Northern Ireland, where Catholic schools and Protestant schools churn out two completely opposed groups of people, who are not familiar with the "humanness" of the other group.
- Myers (1999). Social Psychology, p542.
- National Secular Society newsletter (2002 Jun 30) "Response to the Scottish National Debate on Education"
- Fukuyama, Francis (2018 Sep/Oct). Against Identity Politics. An Article in the magazine Foreign Affairs. p108
- Myers (1999). Chapter 10.
- The Guardian (2006 Jul 28) article "Stuart Jeffries: Abolish all faith schools" re-accessed 2007 Jan 06.
At this time in the US, there are many who apparently really don't want their kids to learn about other cultures and religions. This 'desire' is a major factor behind an increase in efforts to move funding from public to private schools. History tells us that time and time again, ignorance brings fear and hatred into the forefront of interactions with different cultures.
In America, the largest group that wishes to limit the knowledge of other faiths and cultures in their children is that which calls itself "evangelical Christian", though they are not the only group. In other nations, we can see Islamic leaders doing the same thing, which causes atrocities like the massacre at the mosque in Pakistan this past Friday. That was due to the conflict between Sunni and Shia, both claim to be the true faith. The Terrors in Northern Ireland were hopefully the last major conflict between Protestants and Catholics, following centuries of killing each other.
Should religious schools ever receive funds from federal, state or municipal governments? Why? What is the benefit for society as a whole?
Ignorance of the 'other', ignorance of history, and a refusal to accept the diversity of cultures in our world is not - in my opinion - a path to a kinder, gentler world.