Northern Ireland and integrated education
Sir, – The sectarianism we have seen in Northern Ireland for generations has been essentially driven by political tribalism, in which allegiance to a particular brand of Christianity has become the symbol of membership of the political tribe.
Of course, whether one believes in, or practises, the tribal religion is, for the most part, neither here nor there.
The important thing is to identify oneself as a believer in the tribal religion.
The result is sectarian headcount politics.
Supposing though, that the UK government were to take a decision, like that taken by the government in France in the early 20th century, that no religion would be taught in any public school. No more Catholic schools, no more Protestant schools, just schools, with religion becoming a community or family matter outside school hours.
This surely must help to bring an end to sectarianism.
Perhaps even more fundamentally, the British state should ask itself why it should continue to fund an education system which helps to maintain the current sectarian headcount politics. – Yours, etc,