May 12, 2011

Group claims denominational schools fuel sectarianism

by Jan Harris

The Scottish Legal Action Group (Scolag) has called on the Scottish Government to stop funding denominational schools and to put an end to religion education, in order to clearly separate church and state.

The remarks were made after Sectarianism reared its head in Glasgow, with parcel bombs being sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon, his QC Paul McBride and former MSP Trish Godman.

Many people outside of Scotland are unaware that as well as being rivals on the football pitch, the two clubs are also divided by religion, with Rangers fans being mainly Protestant, while Celtic fans are mostly Catholic.

Scolag believes that ending denominational education in Scotland, where there are 387 Catholic schools, will get to the root of the problem of sectarianism and will help to confront and counter it.

However, Peter Kearney, media director of the Catholic Church is Scotland, said: “These comments constitute an ill-informed and unprovoked attack on religious freedom.

“Bearing in mind that over 95 per cent of Scottish Catholics attend Catholic schools and over 50 per cent of Scots Catholics marry non-Catholics, our schools, self-evidently, do not create life-long social divisions, quite the opposite.”

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