Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bishop challenges Labour’s ‘secular social engineering’

Cranmer reported just last month that faith schools were to get their own inspectorate, but not, it seems, before some of Labour’s atheistic zealots have attempted to eradicate the last vestiges of orthodoxy from the church schools. Like the adoption agencies, they are coming under pressure to conform, and should the rising tide of intolerant secularism become unbearable, some of them may choose to go the way of the agencies and close, rather than offend their consciences. It is no exaggeration to say that centuries-old schools with Christian foundations are suffering political persecution, and it is church leaders who are having to confront the power of the state.

According to John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Fiona McTaggart MP challenged the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O’Donoghue, during a meeting of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee. The Bishop is the author of a recent book of guidance to Roman Catholic schools called Fit for Mission? – Schools, which unsurprisingly suggests that schools ‘should not support fund-raising appeals with an anti-life ethos’. This naturally offended the pro-abortion, feminist atheist Socialism of Ms McTaggart, who is naturally antithetical to the principles of natural law conservative deism.

It ought not to come as any great surprise that Ms McTaggart opposes the ethos of faith schools (despite having some very successful ones in her constituency), and, like all good Socialists, is intent on imposing a bland, secular, relativist uniformity of perpetual mediocrity upon all (or upon those who cannot afford to escape it).

But the Bishop said that ‘it was not feasible to expect Catholics to support organisations – despite the good work they might do – if their leadership adopted policies contrary to basic Christian principles’. He pointed out that the values upheld by Catholic schools in his diocese ‘were values shared by those of other faiths, such as Moslems’, but even this PC appeal to a minority religion was not going to move Ms McTaggart. Her feminism is unquestionable; her pro-abortion stance is immutable; and her Socialist atheism is at the core of her being. This is the New Labour creed - the new religio-political orthodoxy - against which every dissenting voice is made to sound utterly unreasonable.

Echoing the mission of Prime Minister that Labour suffers all the children to come unto it, Barry Sheerman MP, the Committee Chairman, asked if Church leaders were not worried that church schools ‘had become adept at keeping out poor and needy children’ under the policy of ‘the present occupant of the Vatican’. But the Bishop was having none of this, insisting that Roman Catholic schools within the state comprehensive system should not be selective, and he rejected utterly the proposal that admission quotas for different religious groups should be imposed upon faith schools.

It is evident to all who have eyes and ears that secularism is supplanting Christianity as the faith of the United Kingdom, and the tolerance of the Christian gospel is being replaced by the pathological intolerance of ‘neutral’ liberalism. Rawls may make an appeal to a special domain of the political to accommodate both, but ultimately they are mutually exclusive.

When the Bishop notes that ‘schools and colleges have to cope with increasing government “social engineering” legislation, seeking to impose secular values on our curriculum and ethos…’, he articulates the very intolerance that lies at the heart of the Blair/Brown agenda. Thus he urges that ‘parents, schools and colleges must reject secularized and anti-life sex education, which puts God at the margin of life and regards the birth of a child as a threat’ because this is an imperative if God is to be at the centre of a worshipping school community, and if children are to be inculcated with respect for the sanctity of life.

All the church schools wish to do is to educate children in accordance with their worldview - placing God at the centre of the formative process, teaching morals and spiritual values, with purity outside of marriage (which is male and female) and fidelity within, providing a framework of discipline, imparting respect and tolerance, instilling obedience to Scripture and to Christian orthodoxy.

All of which Barry Sherman dismisses as ‘fundamentalism’.

Well, the same word could be applied to his creed and that of Ms McTaggart.

And again, one notes that it is not the leaders of Muslim, Sikh or Hindu schools who are being very publicly hauled over the coals.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Fiona McTaggart... now that name rings a bell.

In 2003, as part of his big push to put "faith" at the heart of government decision-making, His Blairness set up a ministerial group called, if memory serves, the Faith Community Liaison Group. In what was described as "a blow to secularism", the Group was supposed to co-ordinate government departments and ensure that the "faith agenda" informed such matters as community relations, education provision, public services, training, etc etc.

The group was to be chaired by ... Fiona McTaggart.

If she is, as you suggest, a convinced atheist, what was Blair up to when he put her in charge of a group which was supposed to be dealing "a blow to secularism"?

The FCLG, needless to say, was never heard of again.

13 March 2008 at 08:35  
Blogger Skin One Up said...

It is evident to all who have eyes and ears that secularism is supplanting Christianity as the faith of the United Kingdom...

That is true and one of the reasons is the obvious falsehood of the following:

... the tolerance of the Christian gospel is being replaced by the pathological intolerance of ‘neutral’ liberalism.

MT 12.30: He that is not with me is against me shows that Christ's tolerance was perhaps even as limited as Ms McTaggart's. But perhaps the following gives a measure of just how limited: Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

And that's just from the gospel. The OT is much richer in hate speech, as anyone who has read it will know. Clearly, religious intolerance is being replaced by secular rationalism, much to His Grace's disgust but to the relief of most.

His Grace does have an important point, which he may deny, in that a pluralist society must have a continuing debate over fundamental values and that it can be reasonably argued, for example, that Catholic adoption agencies should be allowed to be homophobic. Note the nuance here. I would seek to attenuate Catholic homophobia while supporting their good works.

13 March 2008 at 09:03  
Blogger Lanarion said...

Unfortunately, Skin one up has read things slightly oddly, and thus has drawn slightly odd conclusions.

He references two verses without a single nod to their context. The first, Matthew 12:30, is referring to the judgement that will occur after death, on what is colloquially termed "Judgement Day". It is simply stating that those who are not supporting Jesus' salvation are in fact rebelling against Him - which is, in fact, true. After all, Jesus was *never* tolerant of sin, or hypocrisy, or rebellion against God. That God is somehow a bearded man benevolently smiling down is a modern neutering of a righteous God.

The second is FROM A PARABLE. Yes, you heard it here first folks, if anyone ever uses a metaphor, then what they are saying *must* be taken literally. No metaphors, parables or allegories allowed. It is from a parable concerning a king who gives talents to three servants, and is again simply referring to God's judgement after death.

Equal tolerance of everything is tantamount to encouraging. Why else do we clamp down on paedophilia, if not because we wish it to go away? What distinction does secular rationalism hold between paedophilia and, say, two-timing and cheating on one's partner?

Ah well, I'm sure something I've said will no doubt be quoted either out of context or twisted to serve some nefarious purpose.

13 March 2008 at 09:29  
Blogger Cranmer said...

"I'm sure something I've said will no doubt be quoted either out of context or twisted to serve some nefarious purpose.

Mr Ianarion,

His Grace thinks this to be something of an occupational hazard, as it appears he is himself about to endure once again..

13 March 2008 at 09:57  
Anonymous Peter O said...

Your Grace is completely right (as usual). What is most insidious about this present Government is that some of them are intent upon a complete re-engineering of society which includes creating biological fantasies for the sake of political dogmas. I pontificate on this here (which includes deferential hat-tips to your Grace of course).

13 March 2008 at 10:01  
Blogger Laban said...

Fiona MacTaggart is the Cheltenham-educated daughter of a property millionaire and one of those public school lefties with a tenuous grasp of working people's reality. What she HAS retained from her privileged upbringing is the urge to boss us about. She is also an alumnus of the Institure of Education.

The Institute of Education is a left-wing stronghold of bad ideas, which bears a great deal of responsibility for the comprehensive disaster. It is not a dispassionate academic body.

What Fiona, Barry Sheerman et al have failed to grasp is that there's a reason the religious schools have better off parents. If you follow the Ten Commandments, or even tweak them a little to a few basics :

Work in school - get educated
Marry the mother/father of your children
Stay married to her/him
Work for a living
Don't steal
Don't do drink/drugs to excess

you'll find that you and your children are better off than your peers - whatever social group you may "belong to"

I can't speak for CoE schools, but from a Catholic perspective the decline in faith and Irish immigration has, while reducing the number of children of committed Catholics in the intake, has almost certainly raised the average wealth of the homes they come from. The old fighting O'Hoolihan families, straight off the boat, may have been rough and poor but went to Mass. Many of their children and grandchildren don't go and often haven't been baptised, but have merged with the indigenous underclass. Their parents will choose the nearest school for convenience, anyway.

Those who have stayed in the faith tend to be better off and will travel miles for a religious education.

13 March 2008 at 10:01  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

Cranmer wrote ... one notes that it is not the leaders of Muslim, Sikh or Hindu schools who are being very publicly hauled over the coals. ...

Are they not stepping up to the plate? Are there such things as Muslim, Sikh or Hindu adoption agencies?

I would hazard a guess that Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus will be able to rely on being left alone whilst the Ruiling Class attack Christianity almost exclusively.

13 March 2008 at 10:28  
Anonymous Angharad said...

The public reason argument of Rawls is no help to Christians, he seeks to reduce Christian input to a lowest common denominator, a Gospel stripped of doctrine, a point around which all can agree, the Christ of Passiontide is not a point around which agreement is possible. The Christ of Passiontide is a challenge to the world, not a lowest denominator.

13 March 2008 at 10:33  
Anonymous penlan said...

I remember Fiona MacTaggart from the late 70's when she was prominent in the student's union of King's College London,ironically almost a C of E institution.Most students were politically apathetic but this harridan,who was rumoured to be the daughter of an immensely rich daddy,managed to rile almost everyone.For some reason that I have now forgotten ,she had a particular animus against the College rugby team (probably for some un-PC behaviour or attitude).As a result she was refered to as "Fat Maggot",which still suits her admirably.

13 March 2008 at 11:48  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

You are (yet again) spot on.
Church schools are uncongenial reminder to this disgusting Government that not every one thinks children are the property of the State (or even of their parents). As with the Monarchy - which is the same thing at a lower stage - to enjoy the liberties of a subject is a protection against being imprisoned in the "rights and responsibilities" of being a "citizen".

13 March 2008 at 15:27  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Secularism is being spread with force. How ironic. It's gone so far that an EU body has declared anti-Darwinism a threat to human rights. And what must society do to protect itself from such a threat? It must officially suppress it. What we have here, then, is not just a culturally dominant materialist atheism, which is bad enough, but the makings of a materialist atheist dictatorship.

13 March 2008 at 16:59  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
you are outling somthing very important , if our catholic brothers wish to put differences aside and form an understanding so much the better. My respects for the loss of the cardinal in iraq, but as with the attck on prayers before local council meetings , we are seeing nu labours plan near fruition.

homophobic horse
you are bang on the money, wait until people understand what universal up take was supposed to mean!!.

nu labour and mr brown will now stand for not just financial corruption, but corruption of freedom and truth

13 March 2008 at 17:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gramsci, Gramsci, Gramsci.

He set out the plot.

13 March 2008 at 18:39  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
It would be interesting to know Ms McTaggart's views on Muslim schools. Them being ignored might simply be because there are so few of them in Britain.

Church schools are often nice places to teach. I would argue however that this has something to do with the parent population having been very keen to get their child into the school. Interested parents always make for good schools. And Church schools are highly selective. Any school that can be selective, is. And they CAN be selective because of the religious element.

But this doesn't really bother me because in the current system, the only schools which aren't selective, are the schools which no one in their right mind would choose as a school for their child.

From a teacher's point of view, there is something very empowering about starting a day off with prayer, of being able to refer to the Bible as a kind of law book. And when a whole school has the same philosophy, it is easier to run, and to cater for the children.

But I can see why Labour might want all schools to be the same. Though I am not sure I would agree with them. The same highlighted fears - of dividing society, alienating certain people etc when discussing Muslim schools, apply to Christian ones, do they not?

13 March 2008 at 19:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems he did indeed set out the plot.

are we to welcome year zero in soon then?

13 March 2008 at 19:59  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

"By their fruits ye shall know them..."

Can any Christian have any doubt what the long term agenda of this atheist socialist government is?

Over the last 40 years the libertarians have infiltrated the key committees and excluded anyone who would possibly dissent.

Warnock for example, actually boasted to the BBC that she kept a Catholic out of her committee (which made the recommendations that led to Human Fertilisation & Embryology Bill of 1991) as he would cause trouble.

The libertarians are the foxes that destroy the vines. (Song of Songs 2:15)
Mind you the Song of Songs is too gentle. They are more like the rats who pollute the grain.

Bishop Patrick O'Donaghue (POD) is a street fighter; we need a few more Bishops with the same attitude.

Wouldn't it be good if a few Bishops, Anglican and RC, Orthodox held a rally in London denouncing the atheistic antiChristian policies of this bunch of Stalinists.

A pity that Your Grace couldn't lead us....

14 March 2008 at 10:05  
Blogger Cranmer said...

A pity that Your Grace couldn't lead us....

Mr ultramontane grumpy old catholic,

His Grace is honoured that you should select him for the task.

If a method may be found for the reconstituting of the prematurely cremated, His Grace shall be delighted forge all the necessary alliances and fight the good fight.

14 March 2008 at 10:18  
Anonymous David said...

All the church schools wish to do is to educate children in accordance with their worldview

For educate, read indoctrinate with hate for anyone that is not of their kind.

Ban them all as soon as possible.

14 March 2008 at 20:25  
Anonymous David said...

...and I don't think anyone is pro-abortion - just pro-choice; and there is a difference.

14 March 2008 at 20:28  

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