Using the Definition of Religion as “Ultimate Concern” Consider How Protestant Religion in Ulster Has Changed Between the 1830’s and the Present Day With Reference to the Presbyterian and Church of Ireland’s Views on General Education

Paul Tillich defines faith, and indirectly religion, as “ultimate concern.”[1] Religion is “direction or movement toward the ultimate or the unconditional.”[2] My purpose is to look at the ultimate concern of the two largest Protestant denominations as they write on the pressing educational issues which confronted them in both the 1830’s and the present day. Having divined their ultimate concern I will make preliminary suggestions as to the nature of their religion.

Tillich’s pithy definition will first be unfolded to develop the term’s meaning. Though synonymous with “religion” in this essay, “Ultimate Concern” need not be religious per se or narrowly confined to the Church[3]. The presence of religion-as-ultimate concern may not, therefore, be  indicated by the use Church jargon. The words be written by clerics or “religious” people, are not necessarily expressions of “ultimate concern” and may not, therefore, be genuinely religious. Furthermore, the topics discussed need not be questions of faith in order for them to be truly of ultimate concern. This term offers a means of disambiguation of what is revelatory of that which is truly of religious significance from what has the trappings of being “religious” but which is not, truly, of ultimate concern.

The idea of Ultimate concern implies both a subject and object,[4] the person who is “concerned” and the object which concerns him. The object of this concern need neither be religious nor need it, in fact, involve God, or gods nor anything in the noumenal realm. That which is totally secular or profane may very possibly serve as an “ultimate concern” or a “quasi-religion.”[5] This leads us away from a more traditional, and, arguably, less realistic conception of religion is. Another caveat outlining what ultimate concern is not needs to be added before ultimate concern can be described positively.

One can be taken up with an ultimate concern without being conscious that it has gripped you.[6] One can live as a genuinely religious person without being conscious that you have, in fact, been taken hold of by a religion. In fact, if we say that our ultimate concern need not be “religious” in the narrow sense of the word, and that the object of our ultimate concern need not even be God or a god, then we can say that one can be truly religious whilst being a convinced secularist. Furthermore, if we contend that religious language may not be revelatory of ultimate concern, and that ultimate concern can have a profane object, then it is logical to conclude that one can be gripped by a profane ultimate concern whilst nominally adhering to a Theistic object of ultimate concern, such as the God of the Bible. Indeed, one may be a leader in an institution associated with a diety, such as a church, and yet be gripped by another, foreign, ultimate concern.

Positively, to have an ultimate concern is, firstly to be grasped by it.[7] Although you are the subject, the concern the object, you are subject to that object. There is more to being grasped by an ultimate concern than mere dry rationalising about abstract concepts.  To be grasped by your religion  means being taken hold of at an irrational or emotional level even more that being “grasped” intellectually.[8]

Secondly, the ultimate concern is, by definition ultimate. There is nothing that can be said to be greater than this concern. Synonyms suggested by Tillich are the “ground of being” or “ultimate reality.”[9] Religion is  movement towards this ultimate concern or to the unconditional.[10] The ultimate concern need not be justified, or rationalised, nor need it be defended, or qualified it is, rather, assumed. An ultimate concern can be evident, then, as the “elephant in the room” is evident. It may take an outsider or a more self-conscious member of the in-group to identify the greatest of all facts to him who is unreflectively devoted to his ultimate concern.

Thirdly, one’s Ultimate concern need not be fixed, conversion from one true religion to another true religion is very possible.[11] What is true for individuals may well be true for man en masse and for the insitutions in which they operate and to which they belong. A man and an institution can have different religions at different points in time and space. It should be noted parenthetically that ultimate concern is not value free, religion-as-ultimate concern can, if focused upon that which is not infinite, be no more than an empty[12] idolatry.[13]

Ultimate concern is, thus, very different to narrow “Christian” conceptions of what religion is. In a land where even the flowers belong to one Christian sect or another[14] there is a great need for a more rigourous, non-religious definition which will resist being cast into  our sectarian moulds and sub-cultural church clichés. Tillich’s definition of religion is of particular use in sectarian Northern Ireland and also when addressing the testimony of churchmen who are so able in the use of religious jargon and who are conditioned to think of themselves as being having christianity as their “ultimate concern” by virtue of their position of leadership in a Christian institution.

Training the microscope on something directly is never a true picture of what is being focused in upon since the very fact of putting it on a glass plate or bombarding it with electrons alters the subject being examined. The value of this approach is that it seeks to measure religion indirectly. The clergyman, being a professional trained in a certain dogma reflects upon that dogma before answering as to the nature of his religion. The answer is self-conscious and reflective. When asked to speak on another topic, held to be “neutral” or outside the domain of “religion,” the cleric will, perhaps, more freely speak their mind. If the topic chosen is by nature one of ultimate concern whilst regarded by the clergy to be a matter of “religious” indifference this indirect measure of true religion will, very possibly be most productive. Can we say that education is by its nature or ultimate concern?

Education, though conceived of variously in different cultures, has, arguably some universal features. Education is never simply a value-free imparting of facts or traditions. It is a formation of the young into the most highly prized values of a culture.[15] It takes what has gripped a culture, that which is accepted without argument by those entrusted with the task of passing on the culture to the next generation. Though some educators may seek to subvert the existing order, no society will deliberately undermine themselves by failing to pass on that which is society’s ultimate concern, or teach that which is destructive of those most highly-prized values.

More prosaicly, however, few people are indifferent to education. One does not spend eighteen of the most formative years of one’s life in an institution and remain ambivalent thereto. The “old-boy network” and the feeling for one’s “alma mater” are clichés in Northern Irish culture. One has only to talk about alternative models of education, private schools or homeschools, to elicit a profoundly impassioned response.[16] Education as fact of life in our society is a matter of deep concern, if not ultimate concern, and will, at the very least, point us to that which is truly of ultimate concern.

Casting our eyes wider to the perspective of Christian history we see that education and religion were, in fact considered inseparable. All education in Northern Ireland before the twentieth century was undertaken by churches or Christian agencies[17]. The first Universities were founded by the Christian church,[18] the first experience of mother-tongue literacy for thousands of languages in the twentieth century has been the direct result of Christian Missions.[19] This emphasis upon education is particularly strong in the Calvinistic Churches,[20] which were formative of both the Episcopal and the Presbyterian church.

Education and religion are strongly linked not only historically, but also Biblically. The Torah was to be taught by parent to child.[21] An entire tribe was devoted in large part to teaching Israel.[22] An entire book of the Bible is devoted to the moral education of young men.[23] Jesus, the central focus of the Christian religion is called the teacher of Israel[24] and is, is “the Truth”[25] “in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.”[26] Education and religion then are necessarily inseparable because truth is personally located in the religion’s founder. Education both in the history of the Church and in the text of the scriptures is certainly of great concern and inseparable from the ultimate concern of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ. But this is not all, Christianity is not the only ultimate concern and is not the only religion which binds education together with ultimate concern.

Indeed if education is the transfer of culture, and culture is religion externalised[27] then we may justifiably say that education is necessarily the vehicle of ultimate concern from one generation to the next. The secular education movement, for example, was characterised by a demonstrably Messianic character[28] and employed Biblical language of salvation, redemption, priestly office, conversion and evangelism without the Bible or God. Perhaps the most influential educator of the twentieth century, John Dewey saw the state school as purveyors of a common faith[29] as against Christianity and saw the Schoolteachers as priests of the new faith. Otherwise pedantic histories of English education are salted with the occassional reference which identifies education as the new Christ, bringing abundant life to the nation and saving it from a certain doom.[30] More contemporary humanists echo this concern with the teachers in the secular state-school as “proselytizers of a new faith: a relgion of humanity” who will battle in the realm of the classroom, “the arena of conflict between the old and new – the rotting corpse of Christiaity together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith.”[31] It is demonstrable then, that humanists have, in the past and closer to the present, regarded education with a truly religious fervency and addressed the subject in religious terms.  Education is, then, a ripe field of investigation for those who would examine the ultimate concern in an indirect, and therefore potentially more accurate manner.

Two important periods of Northern Ireland’s educational history will be examined, the 1830’s and the present day. The debates will be analysed for clues to ultimate concern, language of threat and concern, the language of hope. The “givens” of those arguing will also be examined and together a picture of the ultimate concern of the two periods will be brought out.

The 1830’s education debate is also of particular note. This was a generation after the creation of the first openly secular state on earth.[32] All schooling heretofore in Ireland, since the arrival of the first missionaries, was markedly Christian and under Church control.[33] The state had influence in matters of education, with varying degrees of success[34], but this was a function of the nature of the civil governments at the time who had very close ties with the Church.[35] The divided nature of Irish Christianity was further complicated by the Reform Bill[36] and Catholic emancipation,[37] the Church of Ireland and Protestantism would have to relate to the Catholic church in a new way. The bill, which included provision for a national system of education[38] would, therefore, have to encompass both Protestant and Catholic in its bounds. The solution proffered for the education of a religiously divided nation was a partially state-funded, largely state-regulated system of secular education which would allow room for separate denominational instruction of children according to the wishes of the children’s parents. The manner in which this matter was handled by both the Presbyterian and the Church of Ireland clergy will be considered and their concerns, their hopes and their “given’s” will examined and reflected upon to characterise the nature of their ultimate commitment.

The first concern which drew the greatest attention from the Protestant churches was that of scripture. The Protestant Churches had been engaged, with the financial aid of the government, in supporting schools with the express view of exposing the child to the Bible[39], both in English and in Irish.[40] Scriptural education, “education according to the Scritpure” or “education directly derived from the Scriptures, used as a class-book” was the norm[41] and the separation of “moral and literary education” from religious education, as proposed by the board[42] was the innovation. Dr. Cooke testified that “the Bible and the Testament were invariably school books.”[43] Education was to be founded upon the Protestant principle[44] of the Bible at all times[45] free and unrestricted[46] read daily[47] as the foundation of all education.[48] The absence of the scriptures left any system of education “miserably defective”[49] even when attended by literary education the pupils were as savages without its influence.[50]  The bounds of the debate over the new government system of education were largely drawn by the issue of the loss of scriptures from the core of the school, so much so that proponents of the National board defended their schools as being a better means of conveying “to the instructed a sound knowledge of the facts and doctrines contained in the Bible” than the existing voluntary systems.[51]

There was a marked concern at the possibility of losing the Bible from the school. The Protestant public[52] were so concerned as to arm themselves en masse[53] intimidate schoolmaster and clergymen involved in the Board schools,[54] even going so far as to vandalising schools, tearing them down wholesale and burning them to ground.[55] The martial action of the laity was matched by the language of threat used by the clergy who wrote in opposition to the loss of the prime place of the Bible in the “Board Schools.”

The Word of God was the only possible principle of unity of Christians, it was dangerous to “throw aside that word” “in an age of irreligion and infidelity.”[56] The end of this throwing aside of the Bible? “darkness shall cover mankind,” reducing children to the level of beasts[57] the people would “for the Bible form a cairn.”[58] Ministers “…dreaded (emphasis mine) …sanctioning a system in which the Bible was not made the basis of education.”[59] The lack of a distinctively Christian education, with the Bible supreme would, it was feared, lead to a general uprising.[60]  The individual would first suffer, in his intellect[61] and his character would finally be ruined.[62] The family altar would be torn down[63] the nation would steadily decay into “wretchedness” and finally be overthrown.[64] The board’s proposed substitutes for the free use of the Bible themselves posed a very real threat.

The scripture portions were at best “an unworthy substitute”[65] which “mutilated the Bible”[66] and “corrupted” it “in a spirit of compromise” giving “more consideration… for the peculiar opinions of men, than for the truth of God and in condemnation of such a principle, no language can be too strong.”[67] The board’s mistranslation of God’s word was a “dirty work” which left a “foul stain.”[68] The mere fact of hanging scriptures up on the walls and not expounding upon them into the school proper was “worse than childishness” and “very bad theology” which sought to do the work of the living spirit by means of a “dead letter.”[69] So deep was the concern that the “Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland” devoted an entire chapter to complex questions of Hebrew and Greek grammar and Biblical exegesis.[70] The board’s alternative plans for education were bad enough for Protestant children, shaking their faith through a diversity of translations[71] but at least his minister would be able to instruct and catechise him outside of school hours, the situation was much worse for the Catholic Child.[72]

The Roman Catholic Child was seen to be threatened by a government who “wilfully delivered over…to these who deprive.. them of the word of God.”[73] This was doubly true as the Board Schools prospered through government largesse the Scriptural Schools, who are the true beacons of scripture-light, diminished.[74] This was “…a conspiracy between its supporters [of the Board] and the Romish priests, to keep the light of God’s word from ever shining upon a Roman Catholic child.”[75] The government, and those who ally themselves with it are, therefore “partakers in their [the “Papists”] guilt.”[76] The stakes in the battle for access to the scriptures were high, the “rescue the immortal souls of poor Roman Catholics.”[77] The threat to the Roman Catholic child of the loss of scriptures was only part of the wider threat the child, and wider society, faced from the “Papists.”

The “damnable doctrines” taught by the Priests of Rome were “dangerous” and “soul destroying”[78] they were locked in a deadly zero-sum-game fought against the truth.[79] The mistranslation of the scriptures were motivated by concessions to “Papal error”[80] allowing worship of the Virgin Mary and the idolatrous use of images.[81] As well as favouring the Mass,[82] and prayers to the saints.[83] What was true of the Board’s fruit in Board schools was also true of the nature of the Board itself;  made up of Roman Catholic and Protestant “from such a collection of heterogeneous materials, we never could except any good result.”[84] The Success of the board “…must be a source of joy the priests, and of grief (emphasis mine) to every lover of God’s holy word.”[85] The Church of Rome was by nature a tyrant[86] and the presence of Roman Catholic clergy on the board was to allow them to “become active in handling the population in chains into their cruel grasp,” in principle equivalent to the “sanction[ing of] the establishment of the inquisition in this country.”[87]

The menace of Roman Catholicism was joined by the threat of “Infidelism” whose cause “pernicious doctrines”[88] would flourish in this “…age of irreligion and infidelity”[89] as the Bible retreated from its once-exalted place in the schoolroom. The mal-effects of a totally secular education in France, were noted.[90] The threat of secularism was palpable, the board’s work was seen as part of “a plan, that will open the way for the tide of infidelity to sweep our country with the besom of destruction.”[91] “Infidelity” was placed alongside antichrist who was being seen to triumph in the gains made by the board schools.[92] “Radical infidelity” and “Popery” were “leagued together” to threaten “the truth.”[93] Such was the depth of feeling that Mr. Carlile, the leading Presbyterian on the board was accused of being an “infidel” and a Bible-burner.[94]

The language of threat revolves very clearly around a concern with the scriptures, their absence and their mutilation and also with the threats that arise from their absence, the rise in power of “Popery” and “Infidelism.” But, one can be a “prisoner of hope“ as much as being seized with the fear of looming threats. What was the hope that gripped the Protestant clergy as they discussed education generally, and the question of the National Board in particular?

“[T]he  delightful hope that the people who sat in darkness shall see a great light, by becoming Bible-reading people.”[95] The Synod of Ulster schools which used the Irish mother-tongue and the work of the “Irish Schools” would, it was hoped, bear the fruit of conversion through reading the Bible. The “…advancing education in the Bible” led to the creation of “more than eighty Congregations” the hope was that, the more Bible-education advanced, the more the Church would advance.[96] Obedience to God in the matter of education would, trusting in “in the blessing of Divine Providence[97]“ bring the sure and certain hope of national blessing for; “In a nation enjoying the benefits of a scriptural education, we look for all the elements of national prosperity and greatness.[98]” And again, rightly invested government subsidies would lead to the furtherance of “…the greatest of all public blessings  the extension of Christian truth.”[99] Through the advance of Bible knowledge “…the triumph of Infidelity and Antichrist will soon be over.”[100]

Both threats and hopes are, arguably, excellent indicators of “ultimate concern.” Closely tied to the idea of religion as ultimate concern is the concept of religion as “movement toward the unconditional.” That which is assumed, rather than argued for, may point us most certainly to the true north of religion since one can never propose more than one has pre-supposed. Those “givens” which sound most dissonant to modern ears will very likely be most revelatory of the difference in ultimate concern between the two periods.

Strikingly, in the 1830’s the use of scripture knows no bounds. The rôle of Scripture in public policy & in politics is unquestioned. The Bible is quoted to direct Church members on the imperative of taking responsibility for the education of their own family and that of their co-religionists.[101] The promises of scripture are readily invoked; if they will invest financially in the Christian education of their children that they will “scatter and yet increase.”[102] Again, those who choose the noble profession of teaching in a Christian schools will, as the meek before God, inherit the land.[103] Furthermore faulty pedagogical methods are critiqued along scriptural lines, critical education teaches “knowledge which puffeth up,”[104] the teachers should, rather, take the advice of Solomon and “bow down thine ear and hear the words of the wise.”[105] Scriptural quotations are directed outside the bounds of the Church and of school and are even used in evidence before the House of Lords; “The law of God is pure and good, And doth impart a light sublime.”[106] It has already been demonstrated that the bulk of the concern of the Churches faced with a largely secular school system directly concerned the scriptures, even to the most abstruse textual examination. Again, it has already been noted that the state, far from being given over to purely secular concerns, justified the superiority of the Board schools by maintaining that their schools were superior instruments for the dissemination of Christian doctrine.[107] It can further be maintained, then, that for all parties to the debate, and certainly for the Church of Ireland and Presbyterian churchmen, the Bible’s authority and jurisdiction in education was absolutely taken for granted. This despite the wave of “irreligion” and “scepticism” that has already been noted together with the presence of sects such as the Unitarians who had a much lower view of scripture and of Orthodox Christianity.

Such was the import of scriptural education that it was in terms of scripture that entire societies would either advance or retreat, “All the history of nations is proof of the connexion between these national blessings and a scriptural education.”[108] Greece and Rome, though well educated, through lack of the knowledge of God or rebellion against it fell, as Scotland is in process of doing and as France already has.[109] “A nation’s well-being is based upon its character.”[110] This was also the case for the community, the lack of religious education therein would be injurious to its character.[111] What was true for nation and community was emphatically the case for the individual pupil “…religious principle must, from the earliest dawn of intellect, be infused as a primary element in the formation of character.”[112]

This national, community and individual righteousness can only originate, in accordance with the scriptures, “in the regeneration of the soul… influencing the entire development of every member of the community.”[113] The great hope was that children be converted to Christ through mother-tongue scriptural education[114] or English-medium schooling, and that their character might be re-formed by “the new birth of the soul unto righteousness.”[115] The scriptures were there in the school that the “living spirit” should act upon the pupils.[116] Even proponents of the Board schools avowedly fostered this  desire to see “the influence and effect of divine truth” upon the children.[117] This was the great end envisaged by many Churchmen for the largest of all of the voluntary educational societies, the Kidlare Place society.[118]

Inasmuch as the scripture dominated, and the stakes of education were so high, even the eternal destiny of the children, the world of principle was taken for granted. Such small matters as seven days of Roman Catholic holidays which Board school celebrated were vital since it was a matter of high principle[119]. Hundreds of pages were expended on the meaning of words used in the Board’s translation of the scripture portions, which were counted unworthy on the principle that they were a mere “human compilation.”[120] The influence of scripture must not even be weakened, since principles, not just pragmatic concerns must prevail.[121] Compromise was opposed on principle,[122] there was to be no unity of differing creeds,[123] the draw of unity was not enough to sacrifice principle.[124] There can be no unity with Roman Catholic clergy “without a compromise of Protestant principles”[125] indeed, every compromise of any Biblical doctrine is “a foul, anti-christian dogma!”[126] Neither can democracy, sheer weight of numbers outweigh principles.[127] Bitter note was made that “preference and that preponderating influence which have been hitherto assigned to the purity and authority of religious truth, rather than to the numerical superiority.”[128] Churchmen, in particular must remain faithful to their ordination promises,[129] for a Churchman as school patron to open up his establishment to the board would, in principle, “be taking an active part in the dissemination of error”[130] making himself a “violator of Protestant principle.”[131] Rev. Carlile was singled out in this regard, being charged with unprincipled inconsistency, disseminating the Bible through membership of one society, whilst shutting the Bible out from children by virtue of his endorsement of the board’s activities.[132] The schools were, through their compromising nature “unprincipled establishments.”[133]

Even more characteristic of the “givens” of the opponents of the Board is the world of antithesis. This is not the antithesis of Hegel, which is transitional to a synthesis, which becomes the thesis which is qualified by an antithesis leading to a new, more truly true synthesis until truth is finally attained. The scripture and the Christ of scripture is the truth and this truth remains fixed. The only hope of reconciliation with this given thesis is through conversion, the alternative is defeat, only those who meekly accept the given “thesis” of Christ will inherit the earth. There is an antithesis on every page, between two irreconcilable fixed points, one of which is right, the other, wrong.

There is an antithesis between truth and error[134] between “Socinians and Papists” on the one hand and Protestants on the other,[135] the side of error are locked in conflict in “confederacy against (emphasis mine) God’s truth.”[136] Any attempt a taking a neutral stance between the side, developing a Bible translation accepted by all parties is “a sinful compromise.”[137] The sides may be counted differently, with “The spirit of liberalism” in “open opposition to divine truth and light.”[138] Or “radical infedility… joining hand with popery…against the truth.”[139] The “Protestant principle” of free and open scripture reading is negated by the “Catholic principle” of no scriptures being allowed to the laity in the vernacular.”[140] A gain for one side is a loss for the opposing side,[141] the acceptance by the Presbyterian delegation of the Board’s financial assistance in exchange for control of their schools was to “sell the pass” and betray the interests of Protestantism.[142] Again, religious instruction is “beneficial” to the community whilst irreligious education is “an evil of injurions tendency.”[143] Anarchy is contrasted with the righteous exaltation of the nation.[144] Health, brought about by the unhindered judicious use of the scriptures, is contrasted with the disease of sin.[145] Ultimately, these particular parties are but instances of “the peculiar opinions of men” who opposed “the truth of God.”[146] More explicitly still, to be a Sunday School teacher is to “fight under the banner of his Gospel,” if you do not fight, then the Church will fall to Satan.[147] The basic antithesis, then, is between Christ and Satan, represented figuratively by light on the one side and darkness on the other.[148] There is no doubt as to which side of the divide the opponents of the Board held themselves and their opponents to be and by what standard they drew the line of division, after all the Established clergy were “solemnly engaged to drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s holy word.”[149]

One hundred and seventy years later and, naturally, much has changed. It has, however, taken one hundred years for the Church schools to be entrusted finally into state hands[150] and, even now, the  “transferors” maintain a right to have the schools, revert to their ownership under certain conditions.[151]  This transfer of once church-owned property to the then Stormont government would have been an interesting historical footnote, but for the fact that this ownership has brought them influence, with a guaranteed level of representation of Church nominees the school boards. Issues have come into sharp focus as this influence, the last great vestige of direct statutory Church control, is presently threatened. A plan to rationalise the multiple school boards into a central single governing body would reduce the Churches influence to “to the point of extinction.”[152]

Before looking at the symptoms of Ultimate concern, the felt threats and concerns, the hopes and the “givens” of the Churchmen who are discussing the contemporary issues of general education some preliminary notes should be sounded.

It is very notable that there are no scripture references in the whole discussion in the public realm, not even an allusion to scripture passages or characters. When Churchmen addresses his co-religionists about educational policy there is neither quotation of, nor allusion to, the scriptures.[153] When the leader of the largest Protestant denomination talks about ethical issues education, again, scripture is absent.[154] In the same vein, there is a deliberate and conscious repudiation of what was formerly called “scriptural education,” the application of the content of scriptures to the core of education; “we have never been interested in the concept of religious formation (emphasis mine) as a part of education.”[155] There is, manifestly, a great difference between the two periods in the way in which they consciously approach the inter-relationship between scripture and education. The nature of the change and its bearing upon ultimate concern will be examined by addressing the perceived threats and concerns, the hopes and the “givens” of the churchmen as they address this most fundamental area of education.

Since all education is funded and regulated by the State and there exists no alternative Presbyterian or Church of Ireland system of education all players are, fundamentally on the same team and, naturally, we find less adversarial language being used. The language of threat, though less frequently heard, remains still. Witness for example the deep fear that in the absence of government regulation “the North’s schooling system would fall into an ‘abyss of unregulated arrangements.’”[156] Thus leaving the controlled sector[157] to fragment “we are afraid that the controlled sector could become fragmented, with large pieces of it floating off on their own.”[158] Also, Protestant schools in the south face “threats” from “swingeing cuts” of € two point eight million from voluntary secondary schools under Protestant management.[159] This would cause “huge difficulties” amongst teachers who will have to drop out of education in fee-charging schools in the South if the State does not maintain it’s spending.[160]
Again, Protestant Church leaders expressed “deep disquiet” at being largely overlooked in the reform process.[161] The “convenor of the church’s education board, warned the assembly that Presbyterians risk (emphasis mine) marginalisation under Stormont reforms.” Their influence may, finally “diminish to the point of extinction(emphasis mine)” under threatened government policy reforms.[162] Again, unequal levels of representation on the replacement school boards are a “gross injustice (emphasis mine).”[163]

There is a great concern that; “there should be democratic accountability at every level in education.”[164] Indeed the Transferors are “very concerned that the proposed replacement should have the maximum possible support from both the general community (emphasis mine) and those directly involved in education.”[165] Again, we are “very concerned that…change is introduced in a manner that will obtain the maximum possible community support (emphasis mine) and confidence.”[166] Unregulated transfer arrangements from primary to secondary schools are wrong because they are “unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of the whole community (emphasis mine).”[167] Not only should education be subject to the general will of the people but any move away from state funding leads to raises substantial concerns.[168]

Closely related to this concern for alignment to the will of the people is the desire that the equalitarian principle be upheld. The Transferors expressed “deep concern that the proposed criteria for admissions will not, in practice, achieve the objectives as stated in 9.25: ‘It is essential that these criteria should be equitable and designed to provide equality of opportunity in support of the best interests of the pupil.’”[169] For the Protestant Churches it is  “paramount that all children have equality of opportunity.”[170] This principle must be applied, not only to the child, but to the whole  educational structure as well as the children themselves, otherwise the system will be “…grossly inequitable…”[171]        An example of this inequity  is expressed in the concern about the “deficit in the support of RE teachers and teaching.”[172] This principle should be applied yet more widely, to the transferors themselves, since “other sectors that come before you have publicly-funded officials” but “there is no one with publicly-funded support that could come before the Committee and speak for … (the controlled) sector.”[173] Again this principle is applied in a protest against the “discriminatory” nature of funding cuts for Protestant schools in the Republic of Ireland.[174]

Democratic control and funding and adherence to the principle of equalitarianism are,   according to denominational representatives, the overwhelming concern of the Protestant Churches. These are not, however, their only concerns.  There is one note of concern raised about “jeopardising the Christian ethos of the schools that the state promised to uphold.”[175]  Some note should be made of this “Christian ethos” and what it is and is not. The notable absence of scripture references gives strong evidence to support the idea that the Bible has no direct reference to education; scripture is never quoted nor alluded to. “Religious formation” is strongly disavowed as a goal of any of the Protestant Churches.[176] The Christian ethos that is alluded to is never defined in terms of scripture, or even at all. “Christain ethos,” which is often mentioned, has, it would seem, no substantive relationship to scripture. It is Implicitly acknowledged that the Church does not have a clear idea what this ethos is and, therefore, it must aim “to develop, along with other churches, a clear and shared vision of education shaped by the core values of the Christian faith.”[177] These core values are, likewise, never named. When the Presbyterian moderator addresses the lack of clear moral direction in contemporary education he directs his readers not to the scriptures, but to core “moral values.” These universal and rationally justified mores are an amalgam of “Egyptian, old Norse, ancient Jewish, Babylonian, Hindu, Christian, Greek, Anglo-Saxon and ancient Indian” civilisations.[178] There is, however, one reference to Christ given by a senior Churchman in an address on the educational issue, again, without Biblical reference or allusion.[179]

What of the church’s hopes? what do they they wish to see happen in the future? There is hope expressed, in the context of meetings with politicians to discuss educational issues, that all might participate “in the structures of democracy as a means to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”[180] Again; there is hope that “the best way forward may be found for all children” through dialogue and consensus.[181] The clergy as “community leaders” hope to see, with others, the success of the “Shared Future vision.”[182] Perhaps the grandest hopes are for the complete transformation of the child by state education; “encouraging the development of an all-rounded person, including the moral, cultural, social, physical, emotional and creative aspects of the individual.”[183]

In contrast to a vague adherence to a “Christian ethos” there is an unanimous, unreflective and absolute commitment to the equalitarian principle. Witness; “equality legislation should be applied to the whole education community.”[184] The Presbyterian church’s Board of Eduation has enshrined the principle of equality in its remit; i.e. to “…ensure equality in education between the religious traditions.”[185] This principle should apply to each student “it is of paramount importance (emphasis mine) that each child should be valued equally.”[186] It is morally imperative that state funding should apply equally to Protestant and Catholic schools alike; “in vast tracts of the Republic of Ireland . . . the State is not, itself, providing free Protestant secondary schools.”[187] An increase in fees in Church schools to cover the needed increase in teaching staff was unacceptable since it is “not equitable.”[188]

The pursuit of equality in education as a moral goal has, according to the educational representatives of the Church been a key concern of theirs for a significant period of time. “Protestant church transferors have for several decades urged the Government to address the injustice that they receive no statutory support in the work they undertake within the controlled sector whereas the Maintained, Integrated and Irish Medium sectors have been so supported to a considerable level.”[189] The key aim of the Transferors Representative Council[190] has been their right to nominate governors for controlled schools, this right rests on the basis of fairness and equality.[191] This commitment to equality has been a double-edged sword for the council since their threatened loss of representation was based upon adherence to equality legislation. How completely the Churches educational representatives are captured by equalitarianism is seen in their defence against an application of equality legislation, which is, itself, founded on the church’s more proper adherence to the equalitarian principle.[192] Likewise, In the T.R.C. response to the proposed Northern Ireland Bill of Rights the principle of affirmative action in favour of women is opposed on the grounds that the Bill “…should surely be promoting gender equality rather than endorsing particular rights for women.”[193] The very ground of their position is the hope that their concerns would be addressed “on grounds of equality.”[194]

This principle of equalitarianism is more important than whatever religious principles might separate the churches; ”…the transferring Churches want to see our ethos as protected as the ethos of any other sector or any other Church.”[195] The church’s demands “…must be in the context of “equality for all” and receive the support of the Catholic Church and other political parties.”[196] Again, the Protestant ethos of the Transferor’s schools, no matter how important it might be, must not impinge upon the ethos of the “Catholic tradition.”[197] And again; “It is vital for purposes of equity that the two largest communities in NI receive parity of protection of the foundations of their schools’ distinctive Christian character.”[198] Indeed “It is a gross injustice for one community’s Church to be represented in one sector and for other community’s Churches to be excluded from another sector because of equality legislation.”[199]

There is, then, a deep, unconditioned, unreflective commitment to equality as a master-principle. This commitment to equalitarianism is matched by the unconditional and unquestioning orientation towards the democratic will of the people; “there should be democratic accountability at every level in education.”[200] The Churches and their educational representatives are “committed to building “a much better education system for all.”[201] The churches define themselves, not as the people of God, but as “faith communities”[202] i.e. as a constituent community in the wider democratic community. The clergy are not prophets of God but “community leaders” with “an important role” to play in moving democratic society forward to the future, democratically directed “shared vision.”[203] Education in general is for the democratic community. “Everyone has the right to an effective education… which enables all persons to participate effectively in the life of the community.”[204] The continuing importance of Religious Education lies in its ability to help the child to function in a diverse democratic society. “Very obvious links can be made in relation to a child’s understanding of the world, relationships, reconciliation and living with others in diverse societies. That links strongly with religious education.”[205] Consensus of Presbyterian opinion is what drives the church’s board of education “They will use opinions expressed to influence the Assembly’s formal debate on education later in the week, including its resolutions on education …which ultimately will be presented to the education authorities as the views of the Presbyterian Church.”[206]

Moreover, to be aligned to the will of the people is so important as to be a sine qua non of educational predication. Christianity’s right to speak is justified, at least in part upon the fact of the influence it wields. “Christianity is still the dominant social determinant in Ireland; there are other faiths, and those of no faiths, and we are able and willing to work them.”[207] Likewise the T.R.C should be listened to Transferors are justified since they are “…key stakeholders within the controlled sector and a significant voice,”[208] Again, the importance of Christianity in the classroom is justified by an appeal to a poll, Christian prayer is in the majority; “57% of children in Northern Ireland pray as opposed to 22% in the UK generally.”[209] Again, controlled schools should retain a Christian ethos for largely democratic reasons; “We believe that many parents and teachers (emphasis mine) share this understanding of the ethos of controlled schools.”[210]

Furthermore, it is assumed that education should be geared towards the needs of society in general; “There is an ongoing need for children to be equipped with the values, skills and training to meet the needs of a rapidly changing society.”[211] And again; “Education has the difficult task of preparing young people for the anticipated needs of society.”[212] School chaplaincy work justified because of “the importance of promoting positive mental health for young people.”[213] The application of morality to the schools is justified again according to its social utility. “These values prevent harm to both individuals and society. They are the essence of healthy relationships, and they build a sense of community. They enhance the well-being of everyone.”[214] Again, the Bill of rights only justified by its contribution to social utility “The Commission has rightly recognised that the production of a Bill of Rights only has validity as an element in the search for long-term peace and stability in Northern Ireland.”[215] This general focus on social utility narrows to a focus on the state. If Protestant schools are kept open then they will “enable people to play their part in the state”[216] The churches educational representatives are “working hard throughout Ireland” to “encourage everyone to play their part in the State.”[217]

The Church’s involvement in education is unconditionally located in the democratic community; they will only be involved in contributing to educational issues if it is “in partnership with  others,”[218] and this regardless of religion of philosophical creed, even if there is disagreement in principle with another party. “We live in a more diverse world now, and our views are shared by many; there are those who disagree with us, but we want to work in partnership with them.[219] Regardless of political affiliation; they are“…committed to joining  with all other education partners, including the Department and Sinn Fein…”[220] Membership of a non-Christian religion is not adequate grounds enough for non-cooperation. The Churches are committed to work with other faiths[221] they are “able and willing to work them.”[222]

The democratic principle is assumed to be an adequate moral yardstick, whose interests are prior to other moral concerns. Whatever the replacement for the contentious transfer test “we are very concerned that the proposed replacement should (emphasis mine) have the maximum possible support from … the general community.”[223] Again; unregulated arrangements are to be addressed because they are not in keeping with the majority’s will; “an unregulated system of transfer within Northern Ireland is something that is unacceptable (emphasis mine) to the overwhelming majority of the whole community.”[224] Protestant schools should be funded because “a large number” wish it so, “what is at stake are 21 schools serving the Protestant community, some hundreds of years old, which are supported by a large number of people who wish to exercise their right (emphasis mine) to be educated within their own ethos.”[225] The continued funding of schools with a Christian ethos is made contingent upon the expression of the democratic wishes of a minority group; “a minority down here are discriminated against (emphasis mine) and are not able at school to reflect the Christian ethos that their parents wish.”[226]

Indeed, moral values are built by a consensus of cultures around the world and are finally justified in terms of their social utility; as these moral values are, “the essence of healthy relationships, and they build a sense of community (emphasis mine). They enhance the well-being of everyone (emphasis mine).”[227] The T.R.C. response to the radical ethical implications of the proposed Bill of Rights is to appeal to the innate conservatism of society;  “The Commission should … pay attention to the conservative ethos of Northern Ireland society.”[228] Far from teaching the moral superiority of the Christian faith the churches vision for education is that; “…schools should foster tolerance of and respect for the beliefs of others.”[229] The democratic moral imperative not to judge others trumps the moral imperative of particular religions.

Not only is at a given that morality be aligned with the general will and justified democratically, there is a faith in the power of Democracy to exert change in society; change comes through building consensus.[230] Lasting peace, likewise, is brought about through Democracy. A delegation of Bishops who were discussing a  “range of social justice issues… including education…” urged Gerry Adams “…to participate in the structures of democracy as a means to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland – something the Church of Ireland has committed itself wholeheartedly to.”[231]

The assumption that democracy can change society is matched by faith in education to change the child in every respect. “Everyone has the right to an effective education which is to the greatest extent possible directed towards the full development of the person, including his or her talents, mental and physical abilities and sense of dignity and which enables all persons to participate effectively in the life of the community.”[232] This faith in the power of education to change a pupil knows no bounds. “Education has the difficult task of preparing young people for the anticipated needs of society while at the same time encouraging the development of an all-rounded person, including the intellectual, spiritual (emphasis mine), moral, cultural, social, physical, emotional and creative aspects of the individual.”[233] Education can lead to the full spiritual development of the child. “Education should lead to the development of children and adults in an holistic way, addressing body, mind and spirit.”[234] Indeed “Education has the difficult task of preparing young people for the anticipated needs of society while at the same time encouraging the development of an all-rounded person, including the intellectual, spiritual, moral, cultural, social, physical, emotional and creative aspects of the individual.”[235]

An overarching theme, together with the pre-reflective commitment to equality and  democracy, is the total commitment to the state as the natural educator of the child. The churches had, after all, handed over their entire stock of schools to the state “as a huge investment in the project of universal public education.”[236] Any threat to state education, such as the recent credit crunch[237] or the threat of part privatisation[238] are quickly addressed. There is an emphatic commitment to continued central state funding of education it simply “must be maintained.”[239] Bad governance is defined as the state failing to maintain adequate leadership in education.[240] It is assumed that control need not follow funding, the state should, therefore, fund the churches educational representatives; “There is no one with publicly-funded support that could come before the Committee and speak for that sector.”[241] Every voice on the boards has been or still is dependent upon state education for their income,[242] no questions are asked about possible conflicts of interest. Even when secularising tendencies of the state are acknowledged there is hope that “the Education and Skills Authority can become the disinterested patron (emphasis mine) of the full educational well being of all of our children, body, mind and spirit.”[243]

The omnicompetence and neutrality of the state is readily taken for granted. Religious education, by definition a religious subject is held be able to be taught adequately by a secular university. Queens University, a secular state-institution is thought to be able to equip teachers to “…continue to make teachers aware of “the sector’s distinctive [Christian] ethos” and “equip and prepare them to teach within it.”[244] The secular state is also believed to be capable of inspecting religious education and to train the inspectors, a right which the churches had previously fought to retain under their own control.[245] “Religious education is taught by professionals, and we want them to be trained in the delivery of religious education and to be as professional as any other teacher; we also advocate that they be inspected professionally.”[246] Such is the faith in the neutrality of the state that no not of protest is sounded when a piece of legislation which will create a statutory barrier between young people and those teaching them in any way and in any context which will affect more than half a million people and notably churches and church work with children and with young people.[247]

What lessons, then, can be drawn from the ultimate concern, expressed in relation to great issues of education in these two periods? The 1830’s reveal a religion which was emphatically Christian, grounded in the Bible as-the-word-of-God, a “fundamentalistic” faith. This faith drew a strong line between truth and falsehood, saved and unsaved and true and false Christianity. Unlike the traditional non-involvement of fundamentalism with public issues, this religion implicated itself unselfconsciously with the public affairs of the day, even up to the House of Lords. This was more like a Reformed faith, in keeping with the Thirty-Nine Articles of Anglicanism and the subordinate standards of the Westminster Confession and the catechisms of Presbyterianism.

Although the contemporary spokesmen represented the same denominations, and perhaps even shared the same churches with their forebears, their “ultimate concerns” are very markedly different. They had access to the same Bible, and the same denominational documents and yet at no point mentioned the books. It may suffice to say that they have a different conception of the jurisdiction of the Bible in relation to social issues. In that case the Churches might have veered off into an individualistic fundamentalism, or into a “two-kingdom” Lutheran conception of Church and state. However, if we concede that education is inherently religious one’s deepest concerns and hopes about education must at least point towards an object or objects of ultimate concern. Again, if we concede that a “given,” by its very nature is not subject to proof or question then one’s givens are one’s unconditional, and therefore indicative of religion. Again, when examining the “ultimate concern” of contemporary church representatives we find a faith of a religious magnitude. The question, then, is what is this non-Biblical religion?

It is, first of all equalitarian. This belief in equality was shared by Sade,[248] was the watchword for the French Revolution “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, ou la Mort.” Sade’s was particularly insistent that radical equalitarianism be made the guiding principle of civil government: “Equality, he told the revolutionists, is “that foremost law of your new government.”[249] It  has been esposused by prominent humanists such as Walt Whitman as a moral compass “”What is called good is perfect and what is called bad is just as perfect.”[250] For him, as for the representatives of the Church Boards of education this principle of equality was not to be subject to religious principle. Whitman, consistently, went as far as making himself equal to God: “I believe in you, my Soul – the other I am must not abase itself to you; And you must not be abased to the other.“[251] Equalitarianism is a feature of all three Humanist Manifestos, which take for granted the radical equality of all men and women from all races. It would not, I contend, be too great a leap to characterise their ultimate concern or religion as humanistic in character. Philosophically or, indeed theologically equalitarianism is the necessary outworking of the divinisation of man. “The equality of the new godhead, mankind is thereby asserted, and, in any theology, humanist or Biblical, the equal ultimacy of all persons in the godhead is a theological and philosophical necessity. The state as the firstborn has the prerogative of enforcing this equality on all so that society can be freed for subordinationism.”[252]

Democracy is the object, it seems, of the ultimate concern of the church’s educational representatives. Democracy, however, by its very nature is far from a-religious, after all, “Vox populi, vox Dei.” It is most significant that perhaps the clearest and most influential statement of democracy-as-religion comes from an educational theorist. John Dewey was self-conscious about the replacement of religion of Christianity with the religion of democracy and the great society. “To move forward in this faith will produce “a fuller and deeper religion,” possibly manifest already in the decay of the older forms, “the spiritual import of science and of demcracy” will lead to “that type of religion which will be the fine flower of the modern spirit’s achievement.””[253] The fact that modern educators and contemporary churchmen are not aware of the connection between religion and education and democracy does not negate its existence. The more secular a nation and its educational system becomes, the more the religious aspirations move to focus upon “the people.” “Man cannot live by bread alone, nor by methodology (emphasis mine) alone. As a result, the exaltation of the group, whether humanity, democracy, the proletariat or the folk, has steadily become religious, and the state school a religious institution.”[254]

The focus on the people and utility to the community is closely paralleled, as we have seen with a focus upon the state. This “education in terms of utility to the state or group” though axiomatic in the west for a century or more is, in fact set against “the traditional faith in education in terms of utility to God.”[255] The state, as with democracy and equalitarianism has an emphatically religious import in the modern world. “The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth… We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth, and consider, and consider that, if it is difficulty to comprehend Nature, it is harder to grasp the Essence of the State… the State is the March of God through the world…”[256] Again, ignorance of these pronouncements of influential philosophers does not blunt the force of the charge of latent state-worship. To worship as a god, is, after all, to attribute god-like worth, or attributes to an object of worship. The churches educational representatives do most certainly attribute “the impariality and transcendance of a god”[257] to the state and her state-representatives.

The most deeply buried and profoundly held “given” of the contemporary church is their faith in education. There are no shortage of pioneer state educators who have a messianic faith in education. Take for instance; “The day will come when ministers will preach the gospel of common education from the pulpit; yea, when it will be the grandest part of the great gospel of Jesus Christ.”[258] John Dewey openly discussed education as a religion John Dewey in article “Education as a Religion.”[259] No shortage of philosophers or sociologists could be found to endorse the inherent religious nature of education. Alfred North Whitehead was emphatic that “The essence of education is that it be religious.”[260] Government commissions have, themselves admitted that their own public schools conveyed a “”common faith”…”made up of leemnts provided by Rousseau, Jefferson, August Comte, and John Dewey. ‘Civil Religion’ is an apt designation for this faith.” No greater testimony on the religious faith placed in state education comes from the testimony of the practice of devoting our children “body, mind and spirit”[261] to fourteen years of state-directed, state-certified, state-funded education, new form of Moloch worship, or devotion of the child to the genius of the state.[262] Even more so is the fact that this is done in the hope that the child will be changed in every way, most notably spirituality. Here is the focal point of division between the old religion of Biblical Christianity and the new humanistic faith, the spiritual conversion of the child is no longer the matter a work of God, primarily, but for the statist education system. And here we find most clearly expressed conversion of ultimate concern from the transcendent God of the Bible to the immanent god of collective man. I submit, in the language of Tillich that the object of the ultimate concern of the church’s educational representatives is man and man, being by nature finite, their religion is, in fact, idolatrous.

 

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———. The silent revolution and the making of Victorian England. Ohio State University Press, 2000.

“spring09.pdf,” n.d. http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/spring09.pdf.

“spring10.pdf,” n.d. http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/spring10.pdf.

“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Child Evangelism Fellowship,” n.d. http://www.staffordcarson.com/2010/05/child-evangelism-fellowship/.

“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Graduation at UU,” n.d. http://www.staffordcarson.com/2009/07/graduation-at-uu/.

“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Presbyterians in Education,” n.d. http://www.staffordcarson.com/2010/04/presbyterians-in-education/.

“submission_110.pdf,” n.d. http://billofrights.nihrc.org/submissions/submission_110.pdf.

“summer09.pdf,” n.d. http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/summer09.pdf.

The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1829, 1829.

The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 1832.

The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 1835.

“The Iona Institute | 06 Oct 09 Protestant schools step up campaign against budget cuts,” n.d. http://www.ionainstitute.ie/index.php?id=503.

The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835. Vol. 6. Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1835.

The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836. Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1836.

The Orthodox Presbyterian 1837. Vol. 8. W. M’Comb, 1837.

The Orthodox Presbyterian 1838. Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1838.

The Orthodox Presbyterian 1840. Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1840.

Thomas, Anne. “Northern Ireland’s Protestants press Government on primary school exam,” March 20, 2009. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/northern.ireland.protestants.press.government.on.primary.school.exam/22830.htm.

Torney, Kathryn. “Church to talk education at assembly event.” The Belfast Telegraph, June 5, 2007. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/church-to-talk-education-at-assembly-event-13447774.html?service=Print.

“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report,” n.d. http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=information&id=83.

“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” December 14, 2007. http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/Information/Submissions/TRC/trc_141207.pdf.

“trc_response.pdf,” n.d. http://www.deni.gov.uk/trc_response.pdf.

 

 of


[1]D. Mackenzie  Brown, Ultimate Concern – Tillich in
Dialogue, Religion  Online Edition, PDF’ed by Nathan Conkey. (Harper &  Row, Publishers, 1965), 10.

[2]D. Mackenzie  Brown, Ultimate Concern – Tillich in
Dialogue, Religion  Online Edition, PDF’ed by Nathan Conkey. (Harper &  Row, Publishers, 1965), 10.

[3]Ibid., 14.

[4]Ibid., 22.

[5]Ibid., 14.

[6]Ibid., 247.

[7]Ibid., 13.

[8]Ibid., 27.

[9]Ibid., 64.

[10]Ibid., 10.

[11]Ibid., 248.

[12]Ibid., 246.

[13]Ibid., 39.

[14]“Orange Lilies” vs. “Easter Lilies.”

[15]Henry van Til draws a strong link between religion and culture in “The Calvinistic Concept of Culture” when he says that culture is “religion externalised.”

[16]This has been my experience on several occasions.

[17]John McCann, Education and Northern Ireland (University of Hull, 1995), 40.

[18]The first secular university in England was founded in 1828, Barnard, Howard Clive. A History of English education, From 1760. 2nd ed., 1961.

[19]Particularly through the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators whose basic thrust is Bible translation and literacy

[20]Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Philipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932),  p. 396 quoted in Short, Bruce N. The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Ross House Books, 2001, 298.

[21]Lev. 10:11, Deut. 4:10 , Deut. 6:7 , Deut. 11:19,

[22]Deuteronomy 33:10.

[23]The Book of Proverbs

[24]John 3:2

[25]John 14:6

[26]Col. 2:3

[27] Til, Henry R. Van. The Calvinistic Concept of Culture. Baker Academic, 2001, 200.

[28]Rushdoony’s study of American education which includes references to the British humanist Robert Owen focuses on this secular educational Messianism, Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Messianic Character of American Education. Ross House Books, 1995.

[29] Dewey, John. A common faith. Yale University Press, 1960.

[30]Howard Clive Barnard, A History of English education, From 1760, 2nd ed., 1961, 317.

[31]“A Religion for a new age,” The Humanist, January/February 1983, p. 26, quoted in Short, Bruce N. The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Ross House Books, 2001, p. 40.

 

[32]Republican France in 1789.

[33]McCann, Education and Northern Ireland, 40.

[34]James Godkin, The religious history of Ireland, primitive, papal, and protestant (Henry S. King & Co., 1873), 216,217.

[35]Since the English Monarch was supreme in Church and state, the two were linked inextricably.

[36]1831

[37]1830

[38]Graham Balfour, The Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland, n.d., 87.

[39]Both the Association for Discountenancing of Vice and the Kildare Place Society which superseded it were committed to the dissemenation of the scriptures to the Roman Catholic poor and were the primary educational agencies before the creation of the National Board Schools proc, Parliament, and Vict. Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 1838, 2.

[40]Thomas Hamilton, History of the Irish Presbyterian Church, ed. Marcus Dods and Alexander Whyte, Special Edition. (T. & T. Clark, 1887), 178.

[41]Parliament proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 1838, 22.

[42]Ibid., 14.

[43]Ibid., 24.

[44]Ibid., 22.

[45]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, vol. 6 (Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1835), 130.

[46]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1840 (Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1840), 178.

[47]Ibid., 177.

[48]Ibid., 176.

[49]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836 (Belfast: W. M’Comb, 1836), 135.

[50]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 1832, 311.

[51]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 24.

[52]Hamilton, History of the Irish Presbyterian Church, 161, 162.

[53]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 39.

[54]Ibid., 41.

[55]Ibid.

[56]Ibid.

[57]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 372.

[58]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 39, 40.

[59]Ibid., 33.

[60]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:196.

[61]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 135.

[62]Ibid., 138.

[63]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:132; The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 140.

[64]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 140.

[65]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 21.

[66]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 33; The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 1835, 688.

[67]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 689.

[68]Ibid., 859.

[69]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 80.

[70]Chapter IV, “Special Objections to the National System – The Scripture Extracts”, proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland.

[71]Ibid., 46.

[72]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 686.

[73]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1840, 178.The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 1832, 223, 310.

[74]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 33; The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1829, 1829, 31.

[75]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 686.

[76]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 78.

[77]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 27.

[78]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 856.

[79]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 81.

[80]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 859.

[81]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 49.

[82]Ibid., 51.

[83]Ibid., 54.

[84]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 74.

[85]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 686.

[86]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 24.

[87]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 76.

[88]William Dool Killen, History of congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and biographical notices of eminent Presbyterians (Belfast: James Keenan, 1886), 274.

[89]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 41.

[90]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 140.

[91]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 594.

[92]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 143.

[93]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 81.

[94]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 40.

[95]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1837, vol. 8 (W. M’Comb, 1837), 210.

[96]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 139.

[97]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 224.

[98]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 140, 141.

[99]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 312.

[100]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 143.

[101]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:129, 131.

[102]Ibid., 6:135.

[103]Ibid., 6:196.

[104]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1829, 412.

[105]Ibid.

[106]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 39, 40.

[107]Ibid., 24.

[108]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 140, 141.

[109]Ibid.

[110]Ibid., 141.

[111]“p; 175 – Objection to the school system – that it makes the Bible to be a book u,” n.d., 177.

[112]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 138.

[113]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:197.

[114]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 210.

[115]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 136.

[116]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 80.

[117]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1829, 34.

[118]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 2.

[119]Ibid., 73.

[120]Ibid., 21.

[121]Ibid., 41.

[122]Ibid., 26.

[123]Ibid., 15.

[124]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 368.

[125]Ibid., 224.

[126]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 39, 40.

[127]“p. 223 and democracy, not religious truth,” n.d., 223.

[128]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 223.

[129]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 26.

[130]Ibid., 119.

[131]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 78.

[132]Ibid., 310.

[133]Ibid., 80.

[134]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1836, 142; proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 119.

[135]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 859.

[136]Ibid., 686.

[137]Ibid., 691.

[138]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 81.

[139]Ibid.

[140]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 22.

[141]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 686.

[142]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1840, 110.

[143]Ibid., 177.

[144]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:195.

[145]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 311, 312.

[146]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1835, 689.

[147]The Orthodox Presbyterian 1835, 6:213.

[148]The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine 1832, 74.

[149]proc and Vict, Digest of the evidence, before the committees of the Houses of lords and commons … 1837, on the national system of education in Ireland, 26.

[150]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09,” n.d., http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/education/2007mandate/moe/090422.htm.

[151]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09,” n.d., http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/education/2007mandate/moe/090422.htm.

[152]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod,” Church of Ireland: A province of the Anglican Communion, n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=news&newsid=2608.

[153]Ibid.

[154]“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Presbyterians in Education,” n.d., http://www.staffordcarson.com/2010/04/presbyterians-in-education/.

[155]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[156]“RTÉ News: Churches warn over NI education uncertainty,” Protestant Churches in Ireland fear demise of Christian ethos in schools, n.d., http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/1105/northeducation.html.

[157]Those schools transferred to the state by the Protestant Churches in the 1930’s.

[158]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[159]“p. 264 Advisors Heavily implicated in state educations,” n.d., 269.

[160]Pamela Duncan, “Campaign to Resists cuts for Protestant Schools Intensifies,” The Irish Times, October 5, 2009, http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1005/1224255887534.html.

[161]“News – Our News – General Teaching Council For Northern Ireland,” n.d., http://www.gtcni.org.uk/index.cfm/area/News/page/News/news_key/179/.

[162]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[163]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[164]Ibid.

[165]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report,” n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=information&id=83.

[166]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report,” n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=information&id=83.

[167]Board of Education (N.I.), “Transferor Representatives’ Council Statement on Transfer Impasse,” Church of Ireland: A province of the Anglican Communion, n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=news&newsid=2530.

[168]“22-ppa-transferor_representatives_council__30_april_2002.pdf,” n.d., http://www.deni.gov.uk/22-ppa-transferor_representatives_council__30_april_2002.pdf.

[169]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report,” n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=information&id=83.

[170]“22-ppa-trc_admission_arrangements_response-4.pdf,” n.d., http://www.deni.gov.uk/22-ppa-trc_admission_arrangements_response-4.pdf.

[171]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010 (Belfast, 2010), 266.

[172]Ibid., 268.

[173]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[174]Duncan, “Campaign to Resists cuts for Protestant Schools Intensifies.”

[175]Maria MacKay, “Protestant Churches in Ireland fear demise of Christian ethos in schools,” Christian Today, December 14, 2007, http://www.christiantoday.com/article/protestant.churches.in.ireland.fear.demise.of.christian.ethos.in.schools/15549.htm.

[176]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[177]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[178]“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Presbyterians in Education.”

[179]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[180]“Church of Ireland Bishops Hold Meeting with Sinn Fein,” n.d., http://www.christiantoday.com/article/church.of.ireland.bishops.hold.meeting.with.sinn.fein/8104.htm.

[181]“RTÉ News: Churches warn over NI education uncertainty.”

[182]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” December 14, 2007, 6, http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/Information/Submissions/TRC/trc_141207.pdf.

[183]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report.”

[184]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[185]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 264.

[186]“22-ppa_trc_resptoburns.pdf,” n.d., http://www.deni.gov.uk/22-ppa_trc_resptoburns.pdf.

[187]“Meeting to focus on education cuts and funding – The Irish Times – Fri, May 08, 2009,” n.d., http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0508/1224246131511.html.

[188]Duncan, “Campaign to Resists cuts for Protestant Schools Intensifies.”

[189]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” 3.

[190]The Transferor’s Representative Council, also known as the T.R.C. A body of who represent the educational interests of the churches who transferred their schools into state hands in the 1930’s and the 1940’s.

[191]Board of Education (N.I.), “TRC Welcome Retention of Right to Nominate Governors,” Church of Ireland: A province of the Anglican Communion, n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=news&newsid=2424.

[192]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 267.

[193]“submission_110.pdf,” n.d., no. 17, http://billofrights.nihrc.org/submissions/submission_110.pdf.

[194]“News – Our News – General Teaching Council For Northern Ireland.”

[195]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[196]“Protestant Church Deny Criticism,” BBC News Channel, April 10, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8634508.stm.

[197]MacKay, “Protestant Churches in Ireland fear demise of Christian ethos in schools.”

[198]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” 5.

[199]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[200]Ibid.

[201]“spring10.pdf,” n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/spring10.pdf.

[202]“submission_110.pdf.”

[203]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” 6.

[204]“spring09.pdf,” n.d., no. 26, http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/spring09.pdf.

[205]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[206]Kathryn Torney, “Church to talk education at assembly event,” The Belfast Telegraph, June 5, 2007, http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/church-to-talk-education-at-assembly-event-13447774.html?service=Print.

[207]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[208]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” 1.

[209]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[210]“Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) Response to consultation on Policy Paper 21 Sectoral Support Post-RPA,” 4.

[211]“22-ppa_trc_resptoburns.pdf.”

[212]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report.”

[213]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 270.

[214]“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Presbyterians in Education.”

[215]“submission_110.pdf,” 2.

[216]“4 Trevor Gribben,” n.d.

[217]Duncan, “Campaign to Resists cuts for Protestant Schools Intensifies.”

[218]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[219]Ibid.

[220]“spring10.pdf.”

[221]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[222]Ibid.

[223]“22-ppa_trc_resptoburns.pdf.”

[224]Board of Education (N.I.), “Transferor Representatives’ Council Statement on Transfer Impasse.”

[225]Duncan, “Campaign to Resists cuts for Protestant Schools Intensifies.”

[226]Ibid.

[227]“Stafford Carson : Presbyterian Pastor » Presbyterians in Education.”

[228]“submission_110.pdf.”

[229]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[230]“spring10.pdf.”

[231]“Church of Ireland Bishops Hold Meeting with Sinn Fein.”

[232]“submission_110.pdf,” 28.

[233]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report.”

[234]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[235]“Transferor Representatives’ Council Response To The Review of Post Primary Education – Burns Report.”

[236]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[237]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 271.

[238]“22-ppa-transferor_representatives_council__30_april_2002.pdf”; “trc_response.pdf,” n.d., 2, http://www.deni.gov.uk/trc_response.pdf.

[239]“22-ppa-trc_admission_arrangements_response-4.pdf.”

[240]Board of Education (N.I.), “Transferor Representatives’ Council Statement on Transfer Impasse.”

[241]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[242]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 264.

[243]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[244]Presbyterian Church in Ireland, General Assembly 2010, 271.

[245]McCann, Education and Northern Ireland, 40.

[246]“Northern Ireland Assembly Education MOE Education Bill 22.04.09.”

[247]“summer09.pdf,” n.d., http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Commtte/BoE-NI/summer09.pdf.

[248]Rousas John Rushdoony, To be as God (Ross House Books, 2003), 16.

[249]Sade, in The Complete Justine etc., 309 quoted in Ibid., 13,14.

[250]Rousas John Rushdoony, The institutes of Biblical law, vol. 1 (Craig Press, 1973), 124.

[251]Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, “Walt Whitman,” 1 (New York, N.Y.; Grosset & Dunlap, n.d.), 9; 5 quoted in Rushdoony, To Be As God, 92.

[252]Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institute of Biblical Law, Vol 2: Law and Society (Chalcedon, 2003), 178.

[253]Rousas John Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education (Ross House Books, 1995), 158.

[254]Ibid., 314.

[255]Ibid., 309.

[256]From Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 4th ed., 2 vols. (Princeton Univ. Press, 1963), vol. 2, p. 31. Quoted in Schlossberg, Herbert. Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture. Crossway, 1993, 178.

[257]Ibid., 323.

[258]N.E.A. Journal, 1895, “The Training of Teachers,” p. 972, quoted in Ibid., 104.

[259]The New Republic, August, 1922, quoted in Ibid., 315.

[260]Alfred North Whitehead: The Aims of Education, p. 26. New                     York: Mentor Books, 1952  quoted in Ibid., 315.

[261]Board of Education (N.I.), “Archbishop of Armagh on NI Education, General Synod.”

[262]Rushdoony, The institutes of Biblical law, 1:40.

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