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September 19, 2007

Zoe Williams: Amnesty, Catholic Schools and Abortion

An interesting question. Given that Catholic schools are now being advised to limit their interaction with Amnesty International over abortion policy, should Catholic schools continue to be recipients of tax funds?

Are we really happy to sit back and pay for this?

That's the thing about taxation: you don't have to be happy about everything which is done with what is taken from you. You are subject to the tyranny of the majority: they all get to vote on what your money is spent on.

Given that Catholics are taxed to pay for the abortions that Ms. Williams so thoroughly approves of, yes, it seems only fair that Ms. Williams ends up paying taxes for things she does not approve of.

September 19, 2007 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink

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Comments

"should Catholic schools continue to be recipients of tax funds?" No, nor Islamic, Jewish nor CoE schools. Introduce that, and then you've got a mighty coalition for the introduction of vouchers.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 19, 2007 11:52:27 AM

This is nuts.

I am in favour of taxpayer funded vouchers. As a rabid libertarian, I accept that some schools may adopt some nutty religious syllabus, but such is life. Indoctrination from birth to five cannot be fixed by the most modern and atheist of education anyway.

And since when does a school have to have a policy vis-a-vis Amnesty?

It's like asking 'should the taxpayer fund schools that don't support Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, aslym for Iraqi interpreter or any other cause du jour?'.

WTF?

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Sep 19, 2007 1:22:56 PM

I know of two sets of publically employed Guardian reading parents who are very happy to have had their children 'cherry-picked' for good Catholic schools, one in London and one in Chesterfield. Zoe is out of touch with many of her readers, who use faith schools to avoid the worst of the state system.

Posted by: Pete | Sep 19, 2007 3:07:52 PM

It's like asking 'should the taxpayer fund schools that don't support Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, aslym for Iraqi interpreter or any other cause du jour?'.

It isn't if you believe in separation of church and state.

Posted by: StuartA | Sep 19, 2007 6:44:47 PM

"You are subject to the tyranny of the majority: they all get to vote on what your money is spent on" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

When I voted Labour I knew that at some stage - although it was absent from their manifesto - that they would use my money to rescue a private bank run on a risky banking model.

Posted by: John Miller | Sep 19, 2007 11:05:01 PM

Perhaps a more pertinent question is, if Amnesty have moved from their traditional focus to taking a position on the contentious subject of abortion, should they continue to receive taxpayers' support through charitable status?

Posted by: Jeff Wood | Sep 20, 2007 10:19:01 AM

Stuart A, I am not sure what level of irony you are operating on.

I do believe in separation of Church and State.

I still think expecting a school to have a 'policy' on Amnesty (for or against) is totally laughable.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Sep 20, 2007 10:57:14 AM

Now she knows what those of us on the right side of the spectrum feel about most of what our tax is spent on.

Posted by: Serf | Sep 20, 2007 11:32:24 AM

Why should schools be penalised for not inviting any particular organisation to make representations to their pupils?

Posted by: Marcin Tustin | Sep 20, 2007 5:41:42 PM


Given that Catholics are taxed to pay for the abortions that Ms. Williams so thoroughly approves of, yes, it seems only fair that Ms. Williams ends up paying taxes for things she does not approve of.

Catholics are taxed to pay for access to abortions via the NHS, and Catholics are as likely to make use of this access as anyone else - if not more so, since Catholic doctrine holds that a woman who refrains from using contraception but just has an abortion every time she gets pregnant is sinning less than a woman who regularly uses effective contraception.

Zoe Williams' makes the valid point that Catholic schools are promoting an ugly agenda - that it's better for women to die horribly or suffer terribly than to champion abortion as a basic human right.

I think it's deeply ironic that the Catholic hierarchy has made the doctrinal decision that Jesus didn't really mean it when he said Matthew 25,42-45 - all that tosh about "what you do for the least, you do for me" - helping prisoners, looking after the sick. No, no, says the Catholic hierarchy, none of that is important next to the imperative that women made pregnant by rape in a war zone ought to suffer horribly without hope of aid.

"[Congo] Later the man [who raped me] came to my house. He found my parents there and he threatened them. So, my parents sent me to live with other family members. Then I realised that I was pregnant. When my parents found out, they chased me away. They told me that they couldn't take care of the baby as they were already having difficulties. I was very worried. Now I live with a neighbour who has a distant relationship with my mother. It is a life of suffering there. We eat with difficulty, even to find soap is difficult. It is hard. I regret I will have a baby soon. I have nothing to eat and to clothe it with. I was raped against my will. It is terrible because it isn't just me affected by this. There are many girls who visit me who also say that they are suffering. (link)

The Catholic church says to Amnesty "You want to help this woman, and others like her? We withdraw all support from you and from her, and walk away, washing our hands of you."

Those women in the Congo may be, to the Catholic Church, "the least of these". Unimportant in their suffering, mere incubators, whose pain and need can be ignored and denied.

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'"

Posted by: Jesurgislac | Sep 24, 2007 12:32:52 AM

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