June 22 2013

Freedom of Religion and Education are not Obstacles to Peace, Mr. President

Vicki E. Alger

On Monday the President addressed “the people of Northern Ireland.” (See here, too). Go to the White House blog and you’ll read a lot of gobbledygook about how the president thinks we can build a future together. Get the full transcript, though, and you’ll see his disgraceful remarks about Catholic schools.

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.  

Not exactly a great way to promote world peace, Mr. President.

The segregation to which Obama refers is a plague of government’s own making when it tries to impose state-sanctioned religion on people. That’s why religious liberty is a core American constitutional right. Thanks to that liberty—and the toleration it engenders—religiously affiliated private schools in the U.S. typically enroll significant portions of students from other faiths. Nationwide, 16 percent of students enrolled in Catholic schools are not Catholics. (See Exhibit 27). Abundant research also shows that compared to government-run schools, religious schools, Catholic schools in particular, are more integrated (see pp. 18-22) and do a better job promoting civic values and engagement.

Breitbart News Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro reported:

On Thursday, the American Catholics for Religious Freedom fired back on President Obama’s words to 2,000 young people at the G8 Summit, stating, ‘President Obama’s anti-faith, secular agenda was shamefully on full display yesterday when he told the young people of Northern Ireland that Catholic education and other faith-based schools were divisive and an obstacle to peace.  All Americans of faith should be outraged by these comments…’

Yes. Yes, we should.

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