Religion and Education in Northern Ireland

Christopher McCrudden (Queens University Belfast, University of Michigan Law School) has posted Religion and Education in Northern Ireland: Voluntary Segregation Reflecting Historical Divisions.  The abstract follows.

Since the foundation of Northern Ireland (‘NI’) in 1920, the issue of control over primary and secondary education has been a source of significant tension between its two main ethno-religious communities as well as between each and the NI government. Education in Northern Ireland is organised differently compared with the rest of the United Kingdom and several of its ‘unique features’ arise out of the particular form of its political and religious sensitivities concerning education. This chapter is structured as follows. First, I shall outline the features of the governance of education in the NI model. Secondly, I shall attempt to explain briefly why these features came about. Thirdly, I shall consider research that has attempted to understand the effects of the model on the religious background of pupils in different schools. Fourthly, I shall address the role of teachers in this model. Fifthly, I shall consider issues relating to curriculum and collective worship. Sixthly, the crucial issue of school funding will be examined. Finally, I shall consider the prospects for the model in the future by considering pupil opinion on the structure of schooling and I shall explain how this model relates to political developments in Northern Ireland generally.


Hertzke (ed.), The Future of Religious Freedom

This November, Oxford University Press will publish The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges edited by Allen D. Hertzke (University of Oklahoma). The publisher’s description follows.

What is the status of religious freedom in the world today? What barriers does it face? What are the realistic prospects for improvement, and why does this matter? The Future of Religious Freedom addresses these critical questions by assembling in one volume some of the best forward-thinking and empirical research on religious liberty, international legal trends, and societal dynamics. Top scholars from law, political science, diplomacy, sociology, and religion explore the status, value, and challenges of religious liberty around the world – with illustrations from a wide range of historical situations, contemporary contexts, and constitutional regimes. Read more

Religious Groups Still Oppose Health Care Law

In the “Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead” category, the Wall Street Journal reports that religious groups suing the Administration over the ACA’s contraceptive mandate are continuing with their lawsuits, notwithstanding today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the statute. No surprise there: today’s decision didn’t address the groups’ First Amendment claims.

Come Rack! Come Rope! Come IRS!

I am in the middle of reading Robert Hugh Benson’s historical novel “Come Rack! Come Rope!” which chronicles the lives of English Catholics under Queen Elizabeth.  Prominently featured in the book’s early going are the various fees and fines imposed upon those Catholics who failed to abide by the government’s bidding and attend Anglican church services.

As I read today’s Supreme Court decision regarding the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, I am struck by a certain parallel.

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