November 29, 2014

June 19, 2013


Obama: Irish Need to Get With the Secular Program

Remember the novel entitled The Ugly American, or the movie based upon it? The story is about Americans in Southeast Asia, and the arrogance and ignorance of local culture that they displayed. Move the setting to Northern Ireland, and re-cast Barack Obama in the title role, and you’ve got a picture of the hash he made of a stop in Belfast Monday. The Scottish Catholic Observer reports:

US President undermines Catholic schools after Vatican Prefect praised them

The US President has made an alarming call for an end to Catholic education in Northern Ireland in spite of the fact that Archbishop Gerhard Müller told Scots that Catholic education was ‘a critical component of the Church.

President Barack Obama repeated the oft disproved claim that Catholic education increases division in front of an audience of 2000 young people, including many Catholics, at Belfast’s Waterfront hall when he arrived in the country this morning.

“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” the US president said.

The US politician made the unfounded claim despite a top Vatican official spelling out the undeniable good done by Catholic education in a speech in Glasgow on Saturday and in his homily at Mass on Friday.

In context, here’s what he said:

In today’s hyper-connected world, what happens here has an impact on lives far from these green shores. If you continue your courageous path toward a permanent peace, and all the social and economic benefits that have come with it, that won’t just be good for you, it will be good for this entire island. It will be good for the United Kingdom. It will be good for Europe. It will be good for the world.

We need you to get this right. And what’s more, you set an example for those who seek a peace of their own. Because beyond these shores, right now, in scattered corners of the world, there are people living in the grip of conflict—ethnic conflict, religious conflict, tribal conflicts—and they know something better is out there. And they’re groping to find a way to discover how to move beyond the heavy hand of history, to put aside the violence. They’re studying what you’re doing. And they’re wondering, perhaps if Northern Ireland can achieve peace, we can, too. You’re their blueprint to follow. You’re their proof of what is possible—because hope is contagious. They’re watching to see what you do next.

Now, some of that is up to your leaders. As someone who knows firsthand how politics can encourage division and discourage cooperation, I admire the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly all the more for making power-sharing work. That’s not easy to do. It requires compromise, and it requires absorbing some pain from your own side. I applaud them for taking responsibility for law enforcement and for justice, and I commend their effort to “Building a United Community”—important next steps along your transformational journey.

Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity—symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others—these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it. If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs—if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation.

And I know, because America, we, too, have had to work hard over the decades, slowly, gradually, sometimes painfully, in fits and starts, to keep perfecting our union. A hundred and fifty years ago, we were torn open by a terrible conflict. Our Civil War was far shorter than The Troubles, but it killed hundreds of thousands of our people. And, of course, the legacy of slavery endured for generations.

Even a century after we achieved our own peace, we were not fully united. When I was a boy, many cities still had separate drinking fountains and lunch counters and washrooms for blacks and whites. My own parents’ marriage would have been illegal in certain states. And someone who looked like me often had a hard time casting a ballot, much less being on a ballot.

So apparently Catholic schools and Protestant schools are not about inculcating religious values, or teaching faith alongside academics, or strengthening communities. They are about segregation, fear, resentment, and division. They need to be swept aside, and all children sent together to a common school, one that will no doubt be secular, government-run, and used to indoctrinate kids into the increasingly anti-Christian views that dominate so much of society in the United Kingdom. Oh, and they are just like the Jim Crow schools Barack Obama never attended (just as he never had any trouble voting, because he wouldn’t have been able to cast his first ballot until 1979 or 1980).

I’m sure that proclamation will go far in helping Catholics and Protestants continue their project of reconciliation.


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14 comments

Boy, that Sarah Palin sure is an idiot.  Oh… who was that again?

It really shows what Obummer thinks about religion generally.  That and generally being clueless, tone deaf and utterly self-absorbed.

[1] Posted by Bill2 on 6-19-2013 at 10:17 PM · [top]

David,

While one could read into this a call for the end of sectarian education, the context of the speech that you q

[2] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 6-20-2013 at 03:16 AM · [top]

Hit the wrong button:

David,

While one could read into this a call for the end of sectarian education, the context of the speech that you quote is much more about the divided character of Northern Ireland and that remains more of a reality than one would wish, even after the Good Friday Agreement.

I remember one scholar of the 1922 partition pointing out how Carson and his allies had pressed for Ulster to be composed of six counties rather than the historic nine in order to ensure a substantive Protestant majority. Given Carson’s insistence on what would happen to Protestants under the Free State, one could only conclude either that he was willing to abandon his co-religionists in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to persecution or that he knew his language to be overblown but still employed it for political effect.   

The sectarian divide, while far less pronounced than when I was born (to see the DUP and Sinn Fein in government together would have been unimaginable in the 1970s and 1980s), remains a reality that many of those communal institutions that we all tend to favor frequently promote. One possible solution might be for Protestants and Catholics to contemplate jointly sponsoring religious schools that still affirmed the necessity of Christian identity.

[3] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 6-20-2013 at 03:56 AM · [top]

Obama MIGHT have meant that the schools should be working together.  Perhaps I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

However:

1. Given that he promised to veto a bill that makes it illegal to abort a baby after 20 weeks (after they can feel pain)
2.  How disrepectful his HHS has been towards matters of religious conscience
3.  How he has opened up the military to “all gay, all the time”

I don’t trust Obama as far as can throw him.

[4] Posted by B. Hunter on 6-20-2013 at 09:08 AM · [top]

This from a President who has done his best to divide the nation in to small groups and then to put them in conflict with each other.

[5] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 6-20-2013 at 09:30 AM · [top]

I don’t think [wink, nod] that Obama was calling for an end to all sectarian education.  After all, he didn’t say a single word about how Muslim schools should disband,

http://www.muslimeducation.ie

[6] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 6-20-2013 at 01:21 PM · [top]

We know he can’t stand it when bitter people cling to their guns or religion.

[7] Posted by polycarp on 6-20-2013 at 01:27 PM · [top]

RE: “One possible solution might be for Protestants and Catholics to contemplate jointly sponsoring religious schools that still affirmed the necessity of Christian identity.”

Why on earth would they wish to do that, though?  Unless they believed that somehow, people being either Protestant or Catholic was a bad thing, rather than a generic Christian?

[8] Posted by Sarah on 6-20-2013 at 07:44 PM · [top]

Perhaps because, in an Ulster context, denominational affiliation has often as much (if not more) about tribal identity as theology. It wouldn’t preclude separate religious instruction. I don’t imagine that it will happen. I’m merely suggesting that in that particular context it might actually foster a greater degree of common understanding in the next generation and Ulster desperately needs that, even now.

[9] Posted by Jeremy Bonner on 6-21-2013 at 01:11 AM · [top]

Who does this ego maniac think he is? Telling Ireland how to live and what to believe? Does he think anybody cares what he thinks??? really???

I feel like I just read the Obama Manifesto—bolder words than he would proclaim on American soil because we’ve got his number (at least those of us who are aware and paying attention to his rhetoric, lies and actions and those of his arrogant administration). 

Now the mask is off. He’s at war with religion, plain and simple. Now we KNOW he is one of those people who sees (as his IRS does) that mainstream, mainline Christian values is the enemy and we who believe in them are the enemy, also.

God help us to stand firm on the truth and the brotherhood of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that does not divide but unites us under Christ A Christ whom I feel allows us to choose which church or denomination we feel best expresses the Faith for us.  Unity is not conformity. Something an outsider to the Faith, such as Obama, does not understand. But then socialists fail to value the individual over the “good of society” where people look to the government to meet their needs and answer their prayers.

[10] Posted by Gloria Upson on 6-21-2013 at 10:17 AM · [top]

He has a lot of nerve telling others how to run an educational system (by some estimates Ireland ranks 11th in education and we rank 17th).

[11] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-21-2013 at 10:29 AM · [top]

O, he’s full of the blarney, all right.  And a legend in his own mind, I’m sure. He loves to make speeches and thinks that will win the day. One thing he doesn’t understand is that the TRUTH WILL COME OUT…it’s a promise…and it is.

[12] Posted by Gloria Upson on 6-21-2013 at 11:21 AM · [top]

Regardless of what you read into this speech, how dare he presume to lecture the Irish? He says, “We need you to get this right.” Who exactly is “we”? How dare he! My husband has always said that Obama aspires to be emperor of the world. This arrogance reinforces the concept of the Ugly American.

[13] Posted by Nellie on 6-21-2013 at 10:20 PM · [top]

Although The Late Great Planet Earth (Hal Lindsey) has fallen out of favor in most Christian circles, some of the things he said are happening, such as Russia and other powers coming together to support the enemies of Israel.  Of course Revelations says that too but without the specifics as Lindsey felt he was getting from God.  It’s chilling.

I feel with this man Obama is evil—from his actions and choices support the value judgment—is a huge danger to our country’s well fare both here and abroad. I know one thing he has done for good - sent me to my knees in prayer for God’s forgiveness and protection of our country (and I hope many others because that all that is going to save us from this steady decline).

[14] Posted by Gloria Upson on 6-22-2013 at 07:13 AM · [top]

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