[T]he reaction on the part of conservatives, many of whom are Catholic, over his speech in Ireland, is simply insane.Well, I read the Obamas' speeches (Michelle introduced Barack) and I disagree with Bill Donohue. Obama equated faith schools, both Catholic and Protestant, to "segregation." Here's what he said (in context, Bill):
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.Exactly what did the president say here? That having faith-based schools is segregation, that it is divisive, it causes fear and resentment, and encourages division. Interestingly, an organization in the U.K. agrees. The British Humanist Association (BHA) actively targets faith-based schools calling themselves "Britain’s only dedicated campaigner against ‘faith’ schools." Here's how they interpreted Obama's speech:
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.
United States President Barack Obama has called for an end to faith-based schooling in Northern Ireland, criticising ‘segregated schools’ as ‘encouraging division’ and ‘discouraging cooperation’. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the comments.Seems like the BHA understood Obama's speech better than Bill Donohue did!
Think about all this for a minute. Segregation in the United States was the forced separation of people by the color of their skin. Blacks could not attend white schools, sit at white only lunch counters, use white only restrooms and drinking fountains, etc. In every way whites were portrayed as superior to blacks including their privileged position at the front of the bus. It was a distinction based on how people look.
Faith schools, on the other hand, are based on what people believe and Catholics believe that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. The Catholic faith, properly taught, encourages respect, kindness, patience, charity, etc. Those virtues hardly "encourage division."
Now I'm not familiar enough with Irish schools to know whether Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland are open to children of other faiths. I suspect they are. However, if parents self select to send their children to schools that uphold and teach the faith they profess, that is a religious right that ought to be respected. Of course, we know from experience that Obama and his leftist cronies do not respect religious rights! And he carried that discrimination against religion into his Belfast speech. He condemned faith schools and blamed them, among other things, for the division and lack of peace in Northern Ireland.
No surprise there. Obama is an unregenerate liberal who would like nothing better than to force all children from the time they can toddle around the nursery into the failing public schools where they can be indoctrinated in leftist ideas and separated from the faith of the their fathers and mothers. He opposes parental choice in education and, I have no doubt, would eliminate home schooling if he could. He is the enemy of religion as his contraceptive mandate and forced abortion funding so strongly illustrate. His antagonism toward faith-based schools was definitely an attack that conservative critics recognized accurately!
I would never accuse Bill Donohue of being stupid, but his comments about Obama's speech were certainly naive in the extreme. Obama condemned not only Catholic schools, but Protestant schools as well. He essentially blamed the Christian faith for violence, a regular mantra of the left. While they declare Islam the "religion of peace," they blame Christianity for all the ills of the world...you know the drill....the crusades, the inquisition, the witch trials, yadda, yadda, yadda. It was a theme Obama continued in Belfast. How and why did Bill Donohue miss it? Beats me!