Max Dunbar picks up on a comment from the last piece.
Paul Fauvet raises the point that if a secular organisation were found guilty of such systematic and sustained evil – say, St Helens Council or the NCH children’s charity – the consequences for those responsible would be far harsher. Contra the self-pitying talk about the decline of religion, it’s clear that we still hold religious institutions to lower moral and legal standards than those to which the average citizen abides. If they could not condemn the perpetrators and send their hopes and prayers to the survivors and victims, it should have occurred to the pro-faith apologists that they should just stay out of this one. That they have not, illustrates the depths to which they are capable of sinking in defence of religion.
In the same thread Fabrio Barbieri claims that the double-standard lies with those who would abolish faith schools.
What some of you do not seem to know is that child abuse is more widespread in American state schools (where some statistics say that as many as eight per cent of children have been sexually abused by teachers or staff) than in Catholic schools. That is a fact. It is also a fact that all that was done in Catholic schools in Ireland was commissioned, tolerated and covered up for by the State. Why then don’t those among you who call for the destruction of the Catholic Church also demand the dissolution of the Irish Republic and of the American Department for Education? Because you are in bad faith.
Fortunately, if that’s quite the right word, my neighbours can settle the dispute. Islington council has just sacked Jay Henderson,the head of one of our local schools, for gross misconduct. He had been caught watching porn on the computer in his office. He protested that he worked long hours and at the end of a busy day did not have the time or the energy to titillate himself in the privacy of his home. His novel defence did not wash. Meanwhile, Robin Stringer, another teacher at the school, has been charged with repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a young girl.
Now what would happen if the leader of Islington Council or indeed the Secretary of State for Edcuation stood up and praised the “courage” of abusive teachers? Let me tell you what would happen, he would be fired on the spot. Anyone who argued that his dismissal was proof positive of a vile religious prejudice against the state school system would be laughed to scorn. And if a retired leader of Islington Council or previous Secretary of State chipped in with the opinion that atheists were a greater evil than rapists, they would be sectioned under the mental health act.