Sunday, October 29, 2006

Catholic Church ‘bares its teeth’ on education

Labour’s policy on faith schools has been muddled and confused from the outset, and continues in its philosophical inconsistency. On the one hand they wish to appease the forces of political correctness by asserting the equality of all faiths, and therefore the establishment of state-funded schools for all faiths; yet on the other, they are clinging to a notion that the Judeo-Christian heritage is something quite distinct from the Islamic one, and the latter is now manifesting a tendency towards separation, not least in the establishing of Islamic schools.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, had a solution. He was going to require new faith schools to accept 25 per cent of pupils from other faiths, in the hope that resulting melee would not be insular or socially divisive. But in the face of an unprecedented lobbying operation by the two-million strong Roman Catholic community, we have witnessed, according to the former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker, ‘the fastest U-turn in British political history’. Lord Baker is in no doubt that it was the Catholic Church's campaign against the proposal which had persuaded the Cabinet to change its mind. He accused the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, of running a ‘very deceptive campaign’ based on ‘a tantamount lie’. Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said it was ‘frightening’ to see the Government back down as soon as the Catholic Church ‘bared its teeth’.

Archbishop Nichols was the architect of the campaign. He mobilised the Catholic lobby in England and Wales, threatening Labour with the alienation of two million voters. This would have had a sizeable effect on many key marginal seats at the next General Election. Letters were written to all 2000 Catholic head teachers in the country urging them to lobby their MPs to oppose the plans. They in turn sent letters to parents urging them to join the campaign. The deception was in his suggestion that the quota would apply to all faith schools, when in fact the proposals were for all new faith schools – therefore particularly aimed at the 180 Muslim schools currently being planned. Lord Baker said: ‘It is craven surrender because the Catholics have given nothing. There is no proposal for a new Catholic school in the country. The real beneficiary is going to be Muslim schools. I have tabled an amendment which incorporates what the government policy was on Thursday night. We probably won't win, but it will be very embarrassing to the government.’

Lord Baker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: ‘If you have a group of primary Muslim schools starting, then some secondary schools, you have a closed community. They'll ask for their own inspection, they will ask for modifications to the curriculum and they will probably ask for family community law. If you have those ghettos, they will be closed communities. No other children will want to go into them. And the characteristics of a ghetto are to be underprivileged, disadvantaged and poor.’ The Education Secretary also faces a battle with teachers’ unions outraged at the amendment that he introduced at the last minute giving faith schools increased powers to refuse to employ staff off different faiths. Amendment 54 gives faith schools new rights to discriminate on the ground of religion when employing support staff and head teachers. This may be very much at odds with EU law prohibiting precisely such discrimination.

Cranmer wishes to point out that there was also a group of individuals within the Government which is prepared to fight the Catholic corner. Chief among them is the cabinet minister Ruth Kelly, the former education secretary and a member of the Catholic conservative movement Opus Dei. There is also the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Blair, and Home Secretary, John Reid.

If anyone thinks the Catholic Church is without political teeth in the Protestant United Kingdom, they have only to consider the evidence in this case.

36 Comments:

Anonymous Voyager said...

Good for the Catholics. The C of E is supine and stands for nothing with its whole theological position hollowed out. The C of e is simply an Erastian creation and might as well be merged into the Home Office and salaried as civil servants.

It is good that someone has been able to stop this idiotic government from turning us into the German Democratic Repoublic - no doubt in time Labour and Conservatives witll merge into the Socialist Unity Party as happened in 1950s East Germany

29 October 2006 at 11:43  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

And where does Dr Williams keep his teeth ? Will we ever seem them ?

29 October 2006 at 13:02  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Faith schools will survive the secular onslaught, but I doubt with on-going state funding. There will come a point where EU legislation, with its secularist agenda, will force a religion-state separation. The Church of England is complicit by its silence. Williams has no teeth. Being sucked by his gums is the best you can hope for.

29 October 2006 at 13:04  
Blogger dearieme said...

Historical enquiry, your bishopship: when did the taxpayer start subsidising all these Anglican and Papist madrassas?

29 October 2006 at 13:24  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Dearime,

Rab Butler began an major reform of education in 1944, which entailed a renegotiation of the place of religion and the churches in schools. In order to procure state funding, church schools had to opt for voluntary aided or voluntary controlled status. Most of the Church of England and non-conformist schools opted for total state funding. Roman Catholic schools almost all opted for voluntary aided status, with stronger powers for the church but a need to find (initially) half the funds for building works (though running costs were totally provided by public funds).

29 October 2006 at 13:39  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"When did the taxpayer start subsidising all these Anglican and Papist madrassas?"

State schools were set up after the Education Act of 1870. Before then, church schools had provided almost all education for children, and these schools were absorbed into the dual system by a kind of nationalization. They are now paid for but pretty tightly controlled; "madrassa" is hardly the right word. How tightly the Moslem schools will be controlled remains to be seen.

29 October 2006 at 14:03  
Anonymous Colin said...

Little Black Sambo

Do I recall correctly that you asked me in another thread for evidence that the state is supporting the CoE? - His Grace just provided some evidence:
"Most of the Church of England .. total state funding."

29 October 2006 at 14:29  
Anonymous Colin said...

Little Black Sambo,

Sorry. A correction of my last comment is needed because the word "school" was deleted by accident. Here His Grace's relevant quote:

"Most of the Church of England .. schools opted for total state funding."

29 October 2006 at 14:34  
Anonymous Colin said...

"The C of e is simply an Erastian creation". When Voyager is right, he is right.

Could it be that the reason for the "supineness" of the CoE is its stronger dependency on incomes from the local state? The same is true for protestant churches in Europe which similarily "stands for nothing". By contrast, the Catholic Church is respresented in many countries and does not have to submit itself to the whimps of politicians in order to survive.

For centuries, Church and State are fighting for dominance. Canossa is considered a symbol of this fight between the power of the State and the Church. Canossa is the castle in central Italy at which the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV did penance in 1077, standing three days bare-headed in the snow, in order to reverse his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII.

In consequence, the strategy of the rulers was to support schism from the Catholic Church, e.g. Martin Luther was supported by German Princes who wanted to better control religion. The same motivation led to the foundation of the CoE.

Today, we can still observe that the more local Churches such as the protestant and the CoE are supporting the plans of politicians, while the Catholic Church is sometimes in opposition, e.g. in communist Poland or now in regard to the plans of the EU for the Islamisation of Europe.

Our host, Cranmer, seems to be an exception from the rule and ought to be congratulated for his courage. But I assume that our host is not a member of the top in the hierarchy which is strongly collaborating with politicians.

29 October 2006 at 15:26  
Blogger dearieme said...

Thanks, Bish. May I enquire further? You say "a need to find (initially) half the funds for building works"; does that bracketed 'initially' mean that the requirement no longer holds?

29 October 2006 at 16:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There will come a point where EU legislation, with its secularist agenda, will force a religion-state separation.

not without upsetting Sweden and Denmark and Germany...........in Denmark there is even a Minister for Religion and ALL cemeteries are controlled by the Danish State Church


As for Little Black Sambo he should startv reading deeper than Ladybird books.

Forster's 1870 Educaation Act did nothing more than permit the Local Councils to form School Boards and levy a rate for schooling. It was only primary schooling.................the actuality of State Schools as such only came about in the 1902 Education Act under Lord Salisbury

The 1870 Act allowed Nonconformists to get control of School Boards and conflict with Anglican Schools was pre-programmed. In 1902 the Conservatives abolished all 2568 elected School Boards and created LEAs - this was a major reason for the Liberal victory in 1906 as opposition to this destruction of School Boards took place.

The 1944 Act introduced free State Secondary Schools..........

The simple fact is that most education was sponsored by The Church, originally The Catholic Church until The Reformation.............the idea of State control of Education was a Prussian idea so Frederick could train his soldiers from primary school upwards, naturally the Church was less enamoured of militarising all schools.

It is one of the reasons that Germany like Japan which copied it, had a German naval sailor's uniform as school uniform

29 October 2006 at 16:31  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Thanks, Bish. May I enquire further? You say "a need to find (initially) half the funds for building works"; does that bracketed 'initially' mean that the requirement no longer holds?

Indeed, and to do so now would amount to a transgression of the laws prohibiting religious discrimination. Where the state funds religion, it must be seen to do so equally. The Catholic Church, however, may voluntarily vary such terms in order to maintain its self-perceived right to educate children.

29 October 2006 at 16:54  
Blogger dearieme said...

Thank you. I'm torn between advocating that we abolish all religious schools, and advocating that we denationalise the lot and use some sort of voucher system. I suppose that we could ban vouchers being spent on religious schools - after all, the school year and school week are likely to be short enough that there's plenty of time free for parents to send their children to religious schools as a supplement to secular schools.

29 October 2006 at 17:04  
Anonymous Colin said...

"Where the state funds religion, it must be seen to do so equally."

I am asking myself why religion is funded by the state?

According to Rothbard's Anatomy of the State, "The State ...is the "organization of the political means"; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory...The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively "peaceful" the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society...the problem of the ruling group or "caste" is how to maintain their rule...Therefore, the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens...For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the "intellectuals." For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the "opinion-molders" in society."

Is is possible that the intellectuals of past centuries molded public opinion in favor of the ruling group or "caste" in the pulpit of the Church whereas our present day intellectuals do it in the channels of the BBC? And could this be the reason why the CoE has lost influence? Finally, if the intellectuals of the CoE are unable to mold the public opinion of Islamic believers, with whom will the ruling group or "caste" form an alliance next?

How much does the ruling group or "caste" depend on the CoE for its opinion-molding capacity if the CoE only repeats the sermons of secular intellectuals on the BBC? However, are the BBC intellectuals able to influence the Islamic population in the UK? Probably not. Hence, the ruling group or "caste" needs the secular priests of the BBC for the indigenous population and the imams for the Islamic population in order to maintain their rule. And this is precisely what we are witnessing.

29 October 2006 at 18:05  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

"The State ...is the "organization of the political means"; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory...The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively "peaceful"

That is exactly how the RC Church sees itself! It owns land, defines morals, organises politics, educates children - it sees the state as subordinate to it!

29 October 2006 at 18:40  
Anonymous ? said...

Cranmer, did u notice that u wrote "One the one hand" in the first paragraph.........
anyhow, nice article,

29 October 2006 at 18:46  
Anonymous Colin said...

Assuming the correctness of Rothbard's analysis, what would the CoE have to do to save its influence and power?

From Rothbard's analysis follows that the CoE should try to increase its ability to influence the public opinion of the native population instead of playing the poodle of the government. How can the CoE increase its capacity of influencing the opinion of the natives? Certainly not by promising more money, social justice etc. The promises of the CoE are not credible in this regard, since everybody knows that this is the domain of the goverment. The leaders of the Churches don't seem to be aware that its ancient brand, Christian brotherliness, has been taken over and is more credibly embodied by the welfare state.

To be credible, the CoE should do what religions have always done best, i.e. to address the manifest anxieties of the people and proposing a path to salvation from disaster.

His Grace, our venerable host, as well as the Pope are precisely doing that. The native population is - despite the massive propaganda of the state intellectuals - afraid of Islamistic aggressions. His Grace and the Pope have gained many dedicated followers by positioning the Christian religion as saviour of Western culture. Obviously, Cranmer is much more intelligent in this regard than his superiors in the CoE.

However, can such a strategy possibly work? It seems to depend on the survival of the current multicultural regime. A breakdown of the regime would reinstate the CoE in its former position, just as the breakdown of the socialist regime in Russia revived the Orthodox Church. Then, will the welfare state and/or multiculturalism break down?

Yes, because as the Nobel Prize winner for Economics Milton Freedman said, "You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state." The breakdown is only a matter of time.

29 October 2006 at 19:41  
Blogger shergar said...

Cranmer, how the enemies of Christianity, our common enemies, must rub their hands together when they witness His Grace, yet again, pointing the shot-gun at his own legs and gleefully discharging both barrels.
Your Catholic brothers and sisters are not your enemies, you antique buffoon. They, and I include myself, sometimes reluctantly, among their number, mean you no harm.
Other members of certain other monotheistic faiths certainly do wish you harm. You might bear that in mind next time you want to "bear witness" to papist enormities.

29 October 2006 at 20:52  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am asking myself why religion is funded by the state?

I ask myself why religious citizens should fund The State - in the US Churches are tax-exempt..........

In fact I don't know why I have to fund schools at all...........or the railways at £6bn a year. In fact I find my taxes are squandered and wish to cease funding Scotland or London

29 October 2006 at 22:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

likely to be short enough that there's plenty of time free for parents to send their children to religious schools as a supplement to secular schools.

That's why Islam is so successful - it indulges the State Comprehensive then sends children to the madrassah for Islamic teaching.........

If only Christians could repeat this they could define themselves in this society. What would be needed would be a proper Church - maybe Protestant Sects could replace the C of e and then we could have a defined group of Protestants with high levels of self-identification

29 October 2006 at 22:23  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Shergar,

His Grace has not referred to any harm. He does, however, draw attention to the absurd over-representation and disprortionate power manifest by the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom. Has Shergar ever been to a country where Rome is dominant? Haiti? Croatia? The Phillipines? Has Shergar witnessed religious freedom in these countries? It is non-existent, and Protestants are persecuted daily. Do not seek to lecture His Grace on a faith that 'means no harm'. It is a chameleon; it will do as it sees fit to achieve its ends, and His Grace remains a theological heretic to this day.

29 October 2006 at 22:50  
Blogger CityUnslicker said...

Colin, 6.05pm

I think you make the point extremely well about the confusion of governing elite. Unable to contemplate a return to the pre-1960's (a)moral revolution by embracing the church; they are left with doctrinal secular ouptut via the BBC.

Now with the islamic challange our elite do not know where to turn. They try to attack all faiths misunderstanding the differences between them and breeding more intolerance and fanatacism.

They have much to learn and will make many more mistakes before they do. Let us hope we do not end up like Sweden.

29 October 2006 at 23:00  
Blogger shergar said...

"Cranmer wishes to point out that there was also a group of individuals within the Government which is prepared to fight the Catholic corner. Chief among them is the cabinet minister Ruth Kelly, the former education secretary and a member of the Catholic conservative movement Opus Dei. There is also the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Blair, and Home Secretary, John Reid.
If anyone thinks the Catholic Church is without political teeth in the Protestant United Kingdom, they have only to consider the evidence in this case."

Shergar detects a slight hint of envy underneath His Grace's annoyance and suspects His Grace would like his own timourous communion to grow some fangs and bare them from time to time.

More tea, Vicar?

30 October 2006 at 09:57  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Our local C of E school has no Anglican character at all (whatever that might be). The governors recently approved a new prospectus: the minutes reported that it had been passed subject to an addition that mentioned "Christian ethos" (whatever that might be). Before that there had been no reference to religion at all in the document. The C of E keeps all these schools in order to have a "place at the table" in discussing national policy, but why they want the place is hard to see, since they make no use of it, even for their own ends.

30 October 2006 at 12:15  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Our local C of E school has no Anglican character at all

That is increasingly a problem within Anglican Churches too !

30 October 2006 at 12:24  
Blogger Cranmer said...

More tea, Vicar?

Most civilised. Thank you very much. It is this sort of considerate behaviour that makes His Grace's blog completely worthwhile.

30 October 2006 at 13:21  
Anonymous william norton said...

Cranmer: so good of you to help Shergar pull out that mote in his eye.....

30 October 2006 at 13:31  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

Cu
I read today that Claire Short *crosses self* has not only returned to Rome but has started to see the folly of the permissiveness encouraged by her kind (commies)over the last 100 years.
Off at a tangent yesterday I heard the popes voice for the first time , he sounds even more suspicious than he looks.

30 October 2006 at 14:14  
Anonymous ? said...

hi, cranmer, i noticed u took notice of my comment and changed ur article (without actually acknoweledging me.....)
i kno ur probably ignorin me cuz i havnt sed anything thats majorly relevant, or debatable YET.....

30 October 2006 at 19:31  
Anonymous Colin said...

Voyager's remark is right on target:

"I ask myself why religious citizens should fund The State ... In fact I don't know why I have to fund schools at all...........or the railways at £6bn a year. In fact I find my taxes are squandered"

This is precisely the problem. The ruling "caste" finds relentlessly new duties for the State supposedly for the benefits of the citizens and to be paied for by their taxes. For example, Tony Blair warned today that the world will reach "catastrophic tipping points" on climate change within 15 years, unless serious action is taken to tackle global warming. In other words, citizens will have to pay new taxes, e.g. on gasoline, for saving the planet. Alright, if it saves the planet. But do these new taxes really save the planet or are they more likely to save the budget of the welfare state?

"In fact, according to James Hansen (Natural Science, 2003), even if nothing were done to restrict greenhouse gases, the global temperature is unlikely to rise by more than 1.5 F over the next 50 years, a change which he says mankind could easily adapt to. More importantly, how much of global warming is man-caused?" Climate alarmists base their prediction of a global warming desaster on computer models which treat solar energy as a constant. However, there is more than sufficient evidence for cycles and trends in solar activity. Leading scientists' "analyses reveal the existence of the Medieval Warm Period of 800-1200 AD, which is shown to have been significantly warmer than the portion of the Modern Warm Period we have so far experienced" leading to the conclusion "that solar forcing (and/or other natural cycles) is plausibly responsible for some portion of 20th century warming" or, as he indicates in his abstract, maybe even all of it."

Tony Blair claimed: Global warming "would have serious consequences for our economic growth prospects, the safety of our people and the supply of resources, most notably energy. So we must act quickly." Marvellously, the socialistic Left has finally found a scapegoat for their poor economic growth: the citizens are to blame because they use airplanes and automobiles instead of bicycles.

30 October 2006 at 20:58  
Anonymous Colin said...

CityUnslicker,

Thank you for your interesting comment: "Now with the islamic challange our elite do not know where to turn."

I fully agree. However, I have to admit that I am sometimes wondering whether the governmental elite is not so helpless as they pretend to be. What if some of them think that "divide and rule" is still a useful strategy for staying in power. Nay, they wouldn't be that evil, would they?

30 October 2006 at 21:10  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace,

might be interested to know that Al Jazeera International, a 24-hour English-language TV program from the Islamic world, is aimed to commence global broadcasting next month. Beside news, Al Jazeera also broadcasts religious contents such as the famous instructions of an imam about "Sharia and Life" to young Muslims in Europe who don't speak the Arabic language. The results might be upheavals in the UK and the EU whenever Europeans do not conform to Islamic demands.

Considering the formidable challenges Christianity is facing, it certainly is an excellent idea to continue these centuries-old quarrels among Christian Churches. Bat Ye'or, the historian of Christian dhimmitude, claimed that Islam conquered Byzantium because of the divisions of the Christian Churches. However, these Byzantine chameleons deserved their fate.

"Has Shergar ever been to a country where Rome is dominant? Haiti? Croatia? The Phillipines? Has Shergar witnessed religious freedom in these countries? It is non-existent, and Protestants are persecuted daily. Do not seek to lecture His Grace on a faith that 'means no harm'."

Thank you, His Grace, for this thoughtful lecture. I didn't know yet that Catholics are killing protestants in Haiti, Croatia and The Phillipines. I beg your pardon for my ignorance which might be due to the fact that I only know countries where nobody seems to get harmed although "Rome is dominant" such as Bavaria, Austria, Spain and Italy.

I wonder how the Christian Churches might ever be able to establish a common TV program as long as the Catholic Church "is a chameleon" and "will do as it sees fit to achieve its ends", i.e. to subdue the CoE. Heaven forbid! After all, dhimmitude is better than being "persecuted daily" by Catholics.

30 October 2006 at 22:07  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Since Iran is flaring gas from its fields it is clear that going nuclear would contribute something towards global warming reducations, though in Britain the nuclear sector pays a Climate Change Levy for CO2 it does not create..............that leaves us with an interesting policy of encouraging nuclear energy until the world runs out of uranium..............but taxing items which do not cause emissions just so political correctness is observed.

I had hoped MPs internal UK air fares would no longer be reimbursed as a sign that "this is the Age of The Train",,,,,,,,,,,,,but somehow I think Scottish Mps like flying

31 October 2006 at 07:30  
Anonymous Colin said...

"somehow I think Scottish Mps like flying"

Excellent points, Voyager. May I add that all MPs and MEPs seem to like flying. The populace is called upon to use trains and bicycles similar to the old saying "preach water and drink wine".

This is the preaching: "Air passengers will be charged up to £40 extra for a return ticket within Europe to pay for the environmental impact of their journeys, under plans approved by the European Parliament this week."

And here is the wine: "Both British MPs and MEPs were paid travel expenses for journeys from constituencies to Parliament. Contrary to widespread rumours, MEPs received 'YY economy class' air fares paid, not first class, plus an allowance per kilometre for the trip from their home to the airport."

31 October 2006 at 21:15  
Blogger John the Mad said...

It is good to know that the Church still has teeth to bare. From this distant Canuck's perspective, your ridiculous concern about Catholics exercising their clear democratic rights in the UK is utterly silly.

9 November 2006 at 04:08  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr John the Mad,

His Grace welcomes you to his august blog.

The fact that you are 'distant' and, according to your profile, involved in 'Government' possibly explains your irrational and superficial assertion that the expressed concerns are 'utterly silly'. It is hardly a 'clear, democratic right' when one considers that Roman Catholics constitute about 9% of the population of the United Kingdom, though recently considerably augmented by a sudden influx of Poles. The precise point is that the Roman Catholic Church exercises an influence quite out of proportion to the size of its population.

His Grace stipulates that all contributions are erudite and intelligent. If you are capable of either (or, preferably, both), he looks forward to further interraction. If, however, you are incapable, please stick to Canadian blogs, which you will find more conducive to your level of communicative ability.

9 November 2006 at 19:21  

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