Sunday, 6 June 2010

Secularism - The Separation of State and Church

This week my eyes were open, by a letter written by Anna Latin to the Chronic and published on the 3rd June 2010, to an issue that I had never given much thought.  It was on the subject of government schools and secularism, briefly explained secularism is the separation of state and church.  In this sense, it is a subject closely related to the ongoing debate on the equalisation in law of the heterosexual and homosexual age of consent.

Briefly explained Anna points out that whilst government schools are secular in name they are in fact run as Roman Catholic schools, with daily prayers, services at Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Marian Services etc. , walls and public spaces in schools are also covered with crucifixes and religious statues, preparation for sacraments are under the control and auspices of schools, and all this without adequate arrangements being made for children whose parents are not in agreement with such matters.

She complains, rightly, that children, whose parents do not want them to participate in Roman Catholic sacraments, are left to feel socially different and awkward by a lack of proper arrangements. The only arrangement being that they are left at the back of the class in the hopes that they ignore what is being said.  I cannot think of any more insensitive treatment of a child of such a tender and impressionable age.

I must agree with Anna's request that all this preparation for the Roman Catholic sacraments should take place outside schools and school hours and be the responsibility of the Roman Catholic church and, I would add, done at its expense. The functions of a state school, if it is not denominational and the attendance of a child is with the specific consent of his/her guardian, is to educate and within that process to teach comparative religions as an academic subject and not concentrate on any denominational religion.

In fact, if what is happening is what Anna says is happening, and I have no reason to doubt her,  it engages the 2006 Constitution.  The 2006 constitution guarantees freedom of religion.  This includes the right not to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance save with his/her or his/her guardians consent and then in that individuals denomination.  It seems to me that this right is breached by all that Anna complains of, not just sitting at the back of the class being bombarded with religious denominational propaganda but also being exposed overtly and surreptitiously to one denomination: Roman Catholicism.

And before anyone suggests otherwise, yes I am a Roman Catholic and, because I am, I respect the rights and freedoms of others.


  1. Robert
    You have created a monster

  2. Yes Robert for once the truth in this and other subjects, I refered to your blog as the monster as seen by those who prefer not to see or hear the truth

  3. Fred says:

    Well done Ms Latin; I know exactly what she is talking about, and it does make children feel awkward.

    I am an ardent secularist, but I am not anti-faith. I simply think that religious views create narrow identities that undermine social cohesion. I am absolutely against faith schools, be they overt or covert.

    The fact is that religious practice in Gibraltar is simply another veneer for discrimination and intolerance, even as we trumpet our "tolerant" society - absolute rot.

    Schools should play no part in this.

  4. The way society is going, we should be glad that some religion is taught at school. After all in essence religion teaches goodness.
    Kids are bombarded with evil, violence etc every day through television, tv games etc.
    What perhaps should be done is to cater properly for those who do not which to take religous teaching

  5. Hi anonymous at 23:38

    You confuse morality and discipline with religion. To make matters worse you conflate the teaching of religion with the teaching of one denomination Roman Catholicism.

    Surely, whilst schools have a part to play in the teaching of morality and discipline, the primary responsibility lies with parents? On the teaching of any denomination surely that responsibility lies with the parents and the ministers of that religion?

  6. being a practising roman catholic,uno de los peores I may add, i could not agree more with the contents of your latest post. i am of the opinion that religion should be taught by the relevant institution, be it catholic, hebrew etc., and reinforced by a supportive practising family unit. having said that it should be the responsibility of the state, via education, to lay a moral foundation throughout the schooling years upon which these religious beliefs can be built on. can this division between state and church be achieved with this or any other administration? difficult one if you ask me. if so what would happen with the state funded hebrew primary and secondary schools? would we end up having separate catholic, muslim, hindu etc schools? ley pa uno ley pa todo!

  7. I'm chomping on the bit RV............I was born a Catholic (had no choice in the matter!!) and resent almost everything to do with this outdated right wing institution!

    My 3 children have been educated in Gib's schools and I am sometimes gobsmacked upon hearing their recollections of the school day. Just a few weeks ago my 10 year old daughter told me that a certain teacher (who I won't name) said that only Catholics really believed in God!!

    Well I can call that a lie as I firmly don't, but I find the peddling of religious doctrine to impressionable young children as unnecessary and offensive!!!!!

    This issue is indeed a 'monster' and one which we can debate here.. But woe betide us anywhere else in righteous Catholic Gib...

    We are governed by a Party which prides itself in being 'holier than thou' with front benches in the cathedral specially reserved for the select few. I have often heard the comment that 'PC gets my vote as he is a believer' and find that particularly difficult to digest!!!

    Our schools should educate, full stop!!! I don't know if there is pressure from above (No higher than No 6!!) to peddle religious twaddle but if that is the case it must stop now!!!!

    Everyone is free to believe whatever they believe, but I find this almost forceful imposition of RC doctrine by our supposed educators to be an infringement of an individuals right of choice....!!!...Max

  8. Fred says:

    Morality does not need religion, it can stand on its own two feet. What we need to do is to get people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Religion all too often excuses and covers up the worst excesses of human nature.

  9. Easy says

    We have already seen what the hebrew schools have achieved as regards the non intermixing of jewish children with other non jewish children.
    Schools, should cater for all main religions but in the same school so that children grow up together and respecting each others religions.

  10. Fred says:

    Max, you are so right. Thank you for blowing a gasket for the rest of us :) Good stuff!

    Some teachers and their bigoted and puerile views on spirituality are indeed the worst offenders. They pervert the message of the Gospels in the same way that other extremists distort their own scriptures.

  11. I cannot believe this overly politically correct dribble. What next- let us not celebrate Christmas publicly as it may offend those in Main Street that are not Roman Catholic. In fact lets not call it Christmas (which has connotations to Christ) and lets call it the annual secular holiday.

    The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians are R Catholics. Those that have come to Gibraltar have done so in that knowledge, those that go to the schools do so too. A faction within our society that didnt like it established the Hebrew School.

    I have hihdu friends that attended school and were exposed to RC customs. None are the worse for it nor have they ever complained about it as they integrate very well. Perhaps instead of removing these things (which form a minority of the school curriculum) we should analyse and discuss how our society is becoming more defragmented with the increased isolation of the jewish community.

    I do not follow my religion but understand that things such as the holy communion and xmas carols are part of our custom. I would not want to see it removed and replaced by nothing or meaningless secular non-specific nonsense.

    Its time that countries show non discrimination by providing facilities to immigrants and those of ethnic or religious minorities but not at the expense of the established majority

  12. Fred....I just had to get this off my chest....I am grateful to LW for allowing me the opportunity to do so!!!...Max

  13. Good job I don't refer to the bible in search of morality.

    Are there any commandments against slavery, abuse of children, treating women like livestock?

  14. This Blog illustrates one of the most exasperating Gibraltarian traits i.e. the habit of following UK trends years after they have become outmoded. The particular UK trend which you now espouse is especially dangerous. For Catholics, preparation for the Sacraments is part of the educational system and indeed most of our schools originate from schools set up by Christian churches. I agree that proper provision be made for non Catholics whilst Catholic children are being prepared for the Holy Sacraments but you suggest that Catholicism be excluded from the schools. The logical conclusion to such a measure would be that the Catholic church would set up its own schools again (a measure which, if what you advocate actually happens, I would strongly support). Thus in one fell swoop the religious comity that we are so proud of in Gibraltar would be broken for good. I do not believe that the numerical predominance of Christianity in Gibraltar offends Jews, or Muslims or Hindus. For her last birthday my daughter was given a statue of Our Lady of Europe by am Muslim school friend; in my view that reflects a religious reality which we should treasure. Of course there is a rising tide of aggressive secularism but that is another story and the more strident among the secularists should ponder on the fact that the majority of people in Gibraltar are Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus who are entitled to respect for their faiths.

  15. Anon. We don't have to go from one extreme to the other. Taking out the Catholic/Communion aspect from our schools does not mean we have to stop celebrating Christmas or stop singing carols. Christmas is not the sole domain of Catholics!

    Communion preparation could easily be conducted via ones parish church and not through the schools thus avoiding the isolation of other children including other Christians.

    It would also mean that all those children preparing for their communion would have to go to church on a Sunday with their families.

  16. NewKlear said:

    This has nothing to do with political correctness. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and recall those that weren’t had to sit at the back of the class, or worse still sat in excluded groups in other rooms. Anna Latin makes a very good point.

    The point is that not everyone is a Roman Catholic. Furthermore, children should not be pigeonholed by their parents' religion. There is no way a 7 year old can appreciate the gamut of beliefs that being a Roman Catholic entails.

    As for the arguments as to morality etc, atheists can be happy, objective, moral, and intellectually fulfilled as Richard Dawkins so commendably advocates.

    We all want our children to develop healthy independent minds and this is but one reason why our schools should be truly secular.

  17. Honney Bee says...

    It`s blatantly obvious that our schools are not secular and never have been. LW you make a good point though which is that in the main most of us will not have ever given it much thought given the RC majority.

    I have however, often wondered how teachers handle questions from increasingly savvy students who question contradictions between the sciences and religion as taught. Can the two really sit side by side comfortably in schools ?

    There`s definately a debate to had here - although I fear that not all in the community will be welcoming it !

  18. More rubbish from the PC / "liberal" brigade ! Gibraltar is a Roman Catholic Society. It is an important part of who we are and how we live.

    I cant see why traditions which have be held for generations are now questioned by a few who consider themselves the voice of freedom & respect.

    Prayer in school is positive and so are the religious activities including preparation for sacraments. This is an important part of the upbringing of a child. Whether or not in later life they wish to continue to be active in their faith is a personal choice.

    Clearly it is the parents who want these children not to take part in religious activities the ones alienating and marginalising their own children. What harm is there in saying a few prayers and preparing for sacraments?

    After all .... the schools are called St Josephs St Annes St Mary's Bishop Fitzgerald etc etc .....

  19. Perhaps we could have a faith school for those of us who want our children to grow up in the Christian faith? But then those with non-faith might find this as discrimination. I agree that Religious education should be optional, but in a RC country, one can not object to the main faith having some degree of influence over the structure of our society.

    I agree that morality and ethics should be taught at home. As a practicing Catholic I have seen plenty of people in Church that have a serious lack of both ethics and morality as soon as they leave through the Church doors. They certainly do not learn much from Mass sermons or from the Catechism. Morality is something that needs to grow and be guided, preferably through the aid of ones family and friends (and assisted by the institution of faith, in my case the R.C. Church). This should however be optional.

    Again as a practicing Catholic who cares and believes in the Christian church, having attended this years Communion and Confirmation service, my impression was that this was a massive piss-take. A majority of parents were hardly interested in the service or the importance of it, and thus the entire celebration was a parody of what the day should have really been all about. Therefore, I agree that schools should be secular, but I think that an optional faith school should be provided. And I also believe that only children having received the education of the catechism should subsequently receive Holy Communion, or else the entire Catholic faith stands to become diluted into nothing less than a carnival for those with little respect or care for its doctrine.

  20. to "Mike"

    you can agree or disagree with the jewish schools but at least get your facts right...

    the Hebrew school is a state funded school but the taxpayer does not pay a SINGLE penny towards any religous instruction there.

    as a former pupil i know that the way this has always worked is that mornings lessons at the school are run and completely funded by the Department of Education following the national curriculum.

    by contrast, the whole of the afternoon is dedicated to religious instruction. the afternoon teachers, materials, etc are 100% funded by the parents of the children who attend, a not insignificant amount of money I am reliably informed...

    (As past and present non-jewish pupils at the hebrew school will know, the non-jewish pupils are taught in the afternoons by their DoE teachers in separate classes.)

    so in essence, the jewish kids are being taught the national carriculum only in mornings so as to have time to learn about their religion in the afternoons.

    as far as the secondary jewish schools are concerned, they are 100% funded by parents school fees. Even the secular part of the curriculum is NOT funded by the Govt.
    Again, I'm reliably informed that this is significantly more expensive for parents than the primary school Thousands of pounds a year per pupil, yet that is the parents choice and right!!!

  21. Benedict Says:

    An easy solution to this and several issues would be to elect The Pope as head of State of Gibraltar.

    Imagine the possibilities?

    No problem with Spain
    No age of consent issues
    No more complaining from the PC brigade about Religion in schools
    No more party politics

  22. Honney Bee says...

    Anon @ 12.35

    Whilst you may consider that this is `rubbish from the PC/liberal brigade` the bottom line is that while our schools profess to be secular in reality they are not.

    Scholar educations should be about imparting knowledge and skills for children in preparation for their adult lives, irrespective of what the religious beliefs of their parents are and so I question whether schools are the right place for this. Prayer and preparation for sacraments may be positive in a spiritual sense but should this be at school or are they best placed within the church or at home ?

    I am Catholic, albeit non practising, but I am a firm believer in using my brain to question everything. Science ( with a little help from Darwin along the way!) has proved that at the very least, some of the teachings that we will have recieved as children are questionable today and indeed my own children have on occassion struggled with contradictory views expressed to them.

  23. LW- I think that some good sense is required regarding this subject. Certainly, alternative arrangements should be available for those children whose parents feel that they should not be exposed to RC customs and teachings at school. However, I disagree that preparations for RC sacraments, or indeed any preparations required as part of other religions, should be done outside the school environment.

    It should indeed be every parent's obligation to suitably educate their child in the ways of their religion as they see fit. However, our school system has an important role to play for those children who would not otherwise receive any religious guidance from their parents. With the benefit of information, children are more than capable of deciding for themselves whether they wish to believe in something, or not, as the case may be.

    The rise of an overtly secular society is something that I think should be avoided in Gib. We are a small community and further moves to produce an even more disjointed educational system would be counterproductive to the cohesion of our society. The tolerance and harmony still prevalent to a large extent in Gib arose because of us living cheek by jowel for many years. This engendered a natural respect for each other's religions, views and ways of life. To wholly remove all aspects of RC education in our educational system would in my view be a regressive step. It would be far better to tailor a child's religious education at school depending on their individual requirements whilst keeping them in the same building. This would promote harmony amongst our youngsters and hopefully greater understanding of each others faiths.

  24. Rebecca says: "Christmas is not the sole domain of Catholics!" but I have never heard anyone say it was. Christmas is the celebtartion of the birth of the founder of Christanity and is the domain of all Christians.

  25. Why don't secularists start there own schools?

  26. Anonymous at 20.38:

    Perhaps because Gibraltar's schools are for all, so what is needed is a system that caters for all without marginalising certain children, making them feel different and so causing them psychological abuse, however unintended.

    Do you call yourself a Roman Catholic, please at least practice the religion when you make a comment. I suggest the sacrament of Confession before you next go to Communion.

    You do your religion no favours by the intolerance evidenced by your comment.

  27. LW said: "Do you call yourself a Roman Catholic, please at least practice the religion when you make a comment. I suggest the sacrament of Confession before you next go to Communion".

    How do you know that I am a Roman Catholic?

    Do you think only Catholics and secularists are interested in this topic?

    Your appalling refusal to contenance the secularists' right to open their own schools puts into doubt your democratic credentials.

  28. I am doing the Cusillo in a couple of weeks time. The title is "Please God stop Robert Vasquez and the GSLP winning the next general elections". Let us pray...

  29. The Cursillo is dear to the hearts of many people and your flop of a joke "Please God stop Robert Vasquez and the GSLP winning the next general elections" is as an unnecessary as it is ill mannered.

  30. Anonymous at 21:26:

    Anyone and everyone has a right to start schools but you traduce the issue, which is about non-denominational Government schools being used to marginalise and albeit unintentionally psychologically abuse children.

    What are you if you are not RC? But do not hide behind anonymity if you are to answer.

    My democratic credentials are that I allow everyone to have their say. I do not need to agree with everyone to remain a democrat.

  31. Anonymous at 21:26:

    I have no intention of standing for election, so let them save their prayers for another person or cause.

  32. Dear Anon 21.33, I thought you lot had a sense of humour. I guess not. Life is therefore not as colourful for you guys as I once thought. I am sure Anon 21.26 comments were not intended to offend your Religious Sect.

  33. to anonymous @ 12:36

    i wholeheartedly agree, and indeed admire, the religious instruction @ the hebrew school but restate the fact that if secularisation of ALL state schools is what is being pushed for, then it should be "ley pa uno, ley pa todo". i have simply refered to the hebrew school as there is no other example of that kind in Gibraltar, that I am aware of. I stand corrected on the funding arrangements at the school and take on board your "reliable sources" as gospel truth - pardon the pun!

  34. to anonymous 21:26

    Who are you to brand GSLP supporters,RV or anybody else as anti Catholic??? You put us Catholics to shame with unnecessary comments like that... Perhaps you need the cursillo more than you think!

  35. Organized Religion is the greatest poison humanity has had to endure. People have never taken so much pleasure in torturing, burning and killing than in the name of God. The relationship between man and man is infinitely more important than the relationship between man and God. Organised religion has done very little to achieve the enhancement of human relations. I will not go into the multitude of atrocities committed by so-called religious people against Man and entire civilisations, as these can be read in our history books. This religious garbage hopefully one day will be a thing of the past, and future generations will feel shame and disgust at the ignorance of their ancestors. Humans will then start loving humans above the so-called God and promises of paradise that no one has can testify to.

    Babies and children are pure and are not born sinners. The idea that my child would confess sins to anyone, let alone any priest, now knowing full well the horrendous cover-up that has been going on in the Church, is abhorrent and ironic. There are many men and women of the cloth, involved directly or indirectly in crimes against children, who should be the ones confessing their crimes to a court of law. The Vatican cannot be above the law and therefore should be answerable to the law and the people.

    In the past a forum of this nature, where free thinking is expressed, would have resulted in burning at the stake or torture. Thankfully, nowadays we at least have the freedom to express ourselves.

    Lets learn from history. The seeds that have been sown by religious organisations must now be reaped with disastrous consequences to the world. Let us use our logic and common sense and instead sow the seeds of compassion and love and our children shall surely reap the benefits in the future.

  36. wow
    Anon 22.35 ease up mate, that was a bit intense.

    Also how can you say on the one hand "religious garbage...will be a thing of the past" and then say that "Babies and children are born pure, free of sin". So adults are sinners then??? what sins??? would it be against religious doctrines which should be scraped of the face of the earth in you view???

    Come on guys keep it real, we are talking about schools here.

  37. I am referring to the lie that we are told, that our innocent children are born with original sin. Its lies like these that should have no place in our schools.

  38. Honney Bee says...

    Hi Paco

    I realise that religious beliefs are a very sensitive and personal matter which should not be treated lightly, but I`d be intertested to hear your views as to why you think preparations for religious sacraments should be kept within schools. Would a truly secular education system where children of all faiths are encouraged to learn side by side whilst leaving their religious beliefs at the front door, not be a better mechanism to the cohesion of society.

  39. Anon 22.35....I agree with you entirely!!! To quote you..

    'The idea that my child would confess sins to anyone, let alone any priest, now knowing full well the horrendous cover-up that has been going on in the Church, is abhorrent'

    That is so 100% true and you cannot believe how many times I have said those exact same words!! Young children should be educated to be open minded, tolerant and respectful ....In fact that is the total opposite of the outdated Catholic dogma they are force fed every day by those to whom we entrust their education!!!!!!....Max

  40. I was amused by Charles Gomez's use of the phrase "aggressive secularism", which he, and some others, appear to profess to be rampant in Gibraltar today.

    Would he be so kind as to expound on this theory?

    Last time I checked, the only aggressions and transgressions (in Gibraltar thus far happily only of the verbal and written type) were being committed not by secularists, but by fundamentalists of all creeds.

    There is no "aggressive secularism", but there is plenty of "aggressive fundamentalism" in Gibraltar, and perhaps Charles should consider this before launching another diatribe on secularists.

  41. Honney Bee makes yet another sensible, valid post saying that when you go to school in a multi-ethnic society like ours you can leave your religion at the door. If parents want to bring their children up with religion they can do this after school at a church of their choice. That is what the muslims, hindus, other Christians etc.etc. do in our schools now and from what we see around us it hasn't dented their faith.
    This is what happens in many other countries including predominantly Catholic countries.

    The burning question is, how many children/parents would actually do the prep for the first communion if it wasn't organised for them during school hours?

  42. Charles Gomez.8 June 2010 at 11:19

    To Calpetano: By "aggressive secularism" I mean the growing trend to belittle religion. Modern day aggressive secularism is manifested with a venom that used to be associated with medieval religion. Aggressive secularists are convinced that they are right and treat with mocking contempt those who believe in the Gospel and that the Christian religion is the corner stone of Western Civilization. Allied to aggressive secularists is a type of person who, having only a slight knowledge of Christianity, although more often than not they have been baptized, argue issues which they know little of. Together they present a picture which far from being enlightened and modern as they think they come across, reminds me of scenes of cackling creatures from Dante's inferno. Before some bright spark accuses me of being a fundamentalist I need to say that although a reasonably regular Catholic Church goer I am unfortunately not currently in communion with the Church,have never been to a Cursillo or any other retreat other than the non-denominational Alpha Course, but am becoming increasingly (perhaps in an unchristian way) angry with the way some people treat religion with disrespect. As I said in my previous contribution let us make sure that non Catholic children are not made to feel ostracised in school but this must be done without limiting even further the religious education of Catholics within the school environment.

  43. Mark A, Independent Commentator8 June 2010 at 11:41

    Did anyone hear the Chief Minister on Newswatch yesterday evening:

    "There is insufficient debating of issues of public importance."

    This is truly an incredible statement coming an autocratic ruler such as Pete. It is only because he is seriously behind in the polls that he suddenly wants to "debate issues".

    Up until the latest polls woe betide anyone who publicly expressed any view contrary to his. Few dared to do so for fear of reprisals from Pete.

    Thankfully we have now had Llanito Word for a few months, so it would be more accurate to say:

    "There was insufficient debating of issues of public importance prior to the launch of Llanito World."

  44. We must not confuse two entirely different concepts, the first which is the imposition of religion on a child, and the second which is secularism.
    The first opens up a can of worms and is a matter which merits discussion entirely on its own. Linked though the concepts are they are both capable of standing together and on their own, although in this case they seem to be inextricably linked.
    I do feel, the complete secularism is not healthy, in the same way that i feel that no secularism isnt either. The balance must be found, where ALL creeds and beliefs are empraced and respected. There are valuable lessons to be learnt from all so perhaps a little more inclusion and acceptance of all is the way forward.
    Ultimately, and this is where i said before that the concepts are inextricably linked one must not lose sight of the fact that we are a predominantly Roman Catholic community. Most of the students at Bayside Comprehensive (and indeed the other schools with the exception of the obvious) have been baptised and have gone through the whole communion and confirmation process. It is therefore, and should not come as a surprise that schools lean towards this majority. The problem lies with the minority left behind, here is where my idea of more inclusion and acceptance comes in, these children should be catered for appropriately, and not left behind in the playground for 2 hours whilst others attend church.

  45. Guiri says

    Isn't there a difference between teaching religion and teaching about religions?

    I can well understand parents objecting to their children being taught a faith that they do not share. But aggresive atheism that denies religions their place (that they have because people choose to believe in them) in society is not the only alternative.

    Would not it be better to teach all children about the religions that exist in the community? Religious belief is a potent force in the World, of which children should not be kept ignorant. They can be taught that certain faiths believe and teach certain things, others different things, without seeking to indoctrinate them that any particular one is right (or, for that matter, wrong).

  46. Hi Honney Bee.

    I think that the merits of one approach versus another really do boil down to personal opinion and previous experiences. In my view, I think that our school system would be failing our children if they weren't educated in the ways of their particular faith. The primary responsibility for this, like many other things, should of course come from parents but I think that it is also encumbent on society as a whole to ensure that our children receive a balanced education which includes matters of their faith. Parents who feel that their children should have no tuition in such matters should be free to express this in the knowledge that suitable alternative arrangements exist.

    Additionally, if a child then chooses to disagree with what has been presented to him or her by way of formal education at school then this is an informed choice. In my view, it is better to base decisions from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance.

    I also don't think that purely secular schools would work as well as the alternative because children are then deprived of exposure to the myriad of faiths and cultures that make up modern society. Not being permitted to learn about one's faith at school is as bad as having it "force fed" to an unwilling participant. There needs to be a middle ground.

    From experience, I enjoyed having friends at school of different faiths. The cultural and ecumenical relationships between people are something that exist in the real world outside of schools so I do not see why our pupils should not also experience them within our academic system.

  47. NewKlear said ...

    Charles Gomez should not confuse secularism with anti-clericalism. All that secularists want is a community where activities and decisions are uninfluenced by religion of any denomination.

  48. Is Charles Gomez QC going to stand for election again but this time for the Christian party?

  49. Lets be tolerant with one another.
    Lets respect one another above all else.

    Topic of religion is a very personal one and someone is bound to be offended.

  50. Our RC churches are half full of people who attend just to be seen, they then go out and go about their business in a disgusting manner.

    The clergy embrace them warmly at the exit because the give regular donations and overlook what they rest of us know about them.

    We share the same churches but under different rules, only god can judge us.

    The other half that truly believe just get on with their beliefs and religion and do not try and impress anyone.

  51. Why are we talking about religion when we could be talking about the Gspdlpsdpp? This blog is spoiling the fun for those of us who only think of local village politics. Well done the anonymous guy who wrote pitting the Cursillo (obviously a GSD movement) against the GSLP (clearly the party of God bashers). Well done Rebecca for your quick fix: if this girl gets into government she will solve all the world's current problems in 10 minutes (problem is that when she has finished ther will be even bigger problems but who cares). Who's going to win the nexrt election, eh? Who's going to win the world cup?

  52. I must agree with Guiri.
    There should be more open teachings on all cultures and religions in our schools.
    Children should be taught to understand the existance of all faiths while it is at home where they are geared towards a certain practice, if their parents so wish. Lets not forget that our society is evolving and mixed marriages and offsrping are not uncommon. Marginalising children at school based on their origin is not a positive practice by any means. Any religious/ethical studies should be about teaching tolerance and respect for all walks of life.

  53. Totally agree with the blog post, religion should be taught as a subject and all religions should be taught. However no indoctrination should take place and it is very unfair on children having to sit at the back of the class.

  54. In addition to my previous comments, it would be more benefecial to our local society that children not only learn about religious tolerance and the existance of other faiths to catholicism...but that the focus should be on prepaing our children for the complex nature of society itself. Children's education should in addition to basic the curriculum teach/emphasise "social studies" which should also include religion/politics, and learning to understand history as well as current affairs in the world. We are obliged to ask our children to question the world around us and not merely to accept dogmatic teachings. I personally learned a great deal at Bayside through Sociology (elective) and this has helped me tremendously in my adult years. Just fyg I am of Indian/Hindu origin and I chose to always participate in religion classes and nativity plays at school and by no means did this affect me negatively. Quite the opposite. It taught me to integrate better with my peers. Our children should be encouraged to embrace cross cultural/denominational understanding. The benefit of Gibraltar is that we a small society and as such we are able to adapt to reality and great our own identity, which should not be imposed on us by (historically)traditional institutions.

  55. Religion as a GCSE subject is compulsory in Gibraltar when options are chosen. The GCSE isn't about world religions, cultures and all that type of stuff that is very interesting and would provoke a good discussion in our multi-ethnic schools even if you are completely faithless. The GCSE in religion is Christianity and if you don't want your child to study this because you are a non-Christian or an atheist, you cannot opt out of it and choose another subject. You cannot leave the room and maybe go to the library and study for one of your other subjects either. For those who don't want to/cannot study Christianity that is a complete waste of a GCSE which is a great shame.

    The churches are there to welcome us and teach us their faiths, they are interactive places, they are open all the time and they are free to anyone who wishes to enter.

  56. Rebecca...The fact that GCSE Religion is 'compulsory' is the clearest evidence available that our schools feel some kind of perverse need to ram religion down students throats!!

    When I did my 'O' levels it was optional and 99 percent of my peers dropped out with me!! That was over 30 years ago and says a lot about how far behind (and short sighted) we are locally in 2010.

    The current pass rate on this 'compulsory' GCSE subject is extremely low and in my view a justified 'protest vote' by those upon whom it is imposed!!

    I have never been a believer but have also never sought to influence my children's views on the church. They have exercised their own free will in rejecting it's hypocritical messages and I applaud them for it!!...Max

  57. In my first contribution above I complained about our habit in Gibraltar of following UK trends years after they have become stale. Many of the your contributors resent the remaining vestiges of Catholicism in our schools and want them eliminated. When something similar happened in the UK several decades ago the Churches consolidated their own schools. Ironically places in these schools are now highly sought after not only by Christians but also by others on account of their perceived superiority to some state schools. Perhaps the Church here should look into following that model and the model of the local Hebrew Schools and extend the work of the Loreto Convent into secondary education. It is not acceptable to me as a Catholic that the teaching of the Gospels (which requires a great deal of quality time and is best done in school) should be replaced with lessons on comparative religions. I myself have a natural curiosity and sympathy for other people's faiths but I count myself lucky that my own schooling allowed me to learn my own religion which is not only the bedrock on which our western democratic societies and laws are based but also the source of my own very humble spiritual enlightenment.

  58. I had a similar experience to Max and nobody wanted to take RE as an option back when there was a choice. I don't feel that I missed out on religion as we were sent to Sunday school and I learnt my religion there, didn't need it taught to me in school.

    We in Gibraltar cannot pick and choose what secondary school our children go to unless we want to pay fees at Loreto or send them overseas and pay even more fees. There is no choice, we are too small. I like it that way, it's a great leveller.

  59. I agree wholeheartedly with Charles Gomez and reiterate my previous post. If secularism is so avidly sought then perhaps Gibraltar should provide both secular and faith schools.

    Religious education in secondary school taught me about other Christian faiths and as far as I can remember was as boring as other subjects that I was made to take, but which were rudimentary, apparently for my education. It was in fact the catechesis as taught to me by Monsignor Grima coupled with my parent’s insistence that I attend Mass on Sundays that moulded me as a Catholic. On a question of faith, it is important to note that the Church is not just a building but the entire host of people that attend this institution. This ‘character assassination’ of said institution, as can be easily viewed from the comments of some posters, whilst on the by-the-by also attempting to discredit other political groups ‘other than the GSLP’ speaks volumes of the uglier side of Socialism. God help us.

  60. Cuando pensamos en Dios, en que pensamoS? Si creemos en la libertad religiosa debemos crear los espacios para que los ninos puedan ver y experimentar y asi por su propia cuenta decidir que es lo que ellos mismo quieren y le conviene. Es ahi que el factor de la educacion religiosa es un espacio de educacion y formacion de la conciencia, es decir es un granito mas en la formacion del nino/a, no solo para ser buenos ciudadanos sinos mas bien un espacio para que ellos puedan redescubir una nueva realidad y despues optar por ella o no. Esto es lo que se llama respetar. Ademas por que privar a los que si creen, que son la mayoria de ese espacio formativo y educacional para su vida personal? Creo que tambien tiene el derecho de recibir lo que ellos necesitan... Y por ultimo el tener esos espacios no solo ayuda sino que tambien hace crecer como persona a estos ninos, es decir antes de ser una desventaja es una ventaja. Es como si yo dijera que no necesito un leer por que ya se leer, es decir sino me sigo informando mi conocimiento se reducen o llegan hasta un cierto nivel, pero si lo sigo haciendo tengo mucho mas posibilidad de mirar la vida de diferente forma..

  61. To Charles Gomez: With respect, Charles, the mocking of faith is not secularism. I am a secularist myself but do not subscribe to any school of thought which belittles faith of any kind, or indeed the lack of any such faith. You should be careful not to fall into the trap of accusing "aggressive secularists" of something which you appear close to doing yourself, and that is preaching the paramountcy of one belief-system over all others. I find it astonishing that school lessons on comparative religions should be "unacceptable" to you, and that you should seek to preserve a one-faith structure in our schools which is based exclusively on the teaching of Christian (Catholic) tenets.

    I do not see secularism as a "danger" to our society at all. The real danger, in my opinion, is the way in which many local religious groups are reacting to this perceived "onslaught" of secularism. I would question that such an "onslaught" exists in any case, but more importantly, and more alarmingly, the response to it has been the palpable radicalisation of many religious positions locally.

    Herein lies the real danger to our community, and not from any notion that evil secularists are at work trying to rid society of all overt expressions of religiosity. A secular society is NOT a religion-less, morality-free society.

    To TinTin: What is more dangerous? Secularism? Or your attempt to associate particular religious convictions with particular political ones? I sincerely hope you are not one of those individuals who views Gibraltarian politics through the prism of GSD equals champions of Catholicism; GSLP equals evil atheistic socialism.

    You should remember that on either side of our political divide there are men and women of faith, as well as men and women of none.

    For the sake of sanity and intelligent political discourse in Gibraltar, I hope such mindsets belong to a very select, misguided few.

  62. Olla: The "great leveller" as Rebecca calls it is the search for the lowest common denominator a.k.a "dumbing down". Gibraltarian Jews have seen this and started their own schools. If Charles Gomez posts are anything to go by then the Catholic church could follow. I think that it is a mistake to trifle with peoples religion. I say that if aint broke dont fix it but I think that it is too late to stop the secularist campaign to ban Christianity from the public sector. We will all be the losers for this.

  63. LW -

    Your answer to the offended Ms Latins letter is extreme, totalitarian even. You propose that if there are children whose parents do not want them to take part in religious sacraments that the sacraments should be scrapped from schools altogether. Surely it would be a better idea for these children to be given work to do in a separate classroom rather than scrap these religious customs. There should be “proper arrangements” made, whether it be a separate room for those with overbearing parents, or even private tuition provided – I would add at the parents expense – if of course these people feel that understanding/learning about the predominant religion in Gibraltar would amount to harassment.

    “The 2006 constitution guarantees freedom of religion”- This thankfully also applies to those who want religion, or (as Anna Latin points out) whose Parents want their children to receive religious teaching. Would those children not feel ostracized for wanting religion but not being able to have it in their place of learning. I believe that religion should be taught to all, except to those whose parents – who rather ironically get involved in their children’s lives when it involves religion but don’t intervene in regards to television and the internet which as we all know constantly bombard viewers with sex, crime, violence and gambling as well as the current celebrity culture (which looking at most of them is nothing to look up to) – feel it intolerable for their children to be taught about religion.

    I find the idea of taking the subject religion out of school as ridiculous as taking history out of schools. They are both comparable in that Religion is largely based on History. I fully expect all those who actively pursue the removal of religion from school to also pursue the removal of History, for Religion is History and if Religion offends therefore History must also offend. We are going to achieve what is found only in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the Holocaust is vehemently denied as is the state of Israel largely because it offends. What would be next? Take English out of the curriculum as well because it is not the first language of the Morrocans who currently reside here? It’s funny because I don’t recall Catholics in Gibraltar trying to prevent their children from attending Science classes because what was being taught goes against the Old Testament. If anything Science should be the most offensive subject for our poor impressionable children since Science is very often making mistakes, for example does anyone remember when it was scientifically proven that cigarettes were good for you? Or how about good old Bayer selling Heroin to the public as a pain relieving drug. Or how about pharmaceutical companies prescribing Ritalin (basically Amphetamines) to children suffering from ADHD – ridiculous since amphetamine is colloquially known as speed which for anyone suffering from ADHD would be like giving someone wanting to sleep a redbull after having a cup of coffee.

    Max –

    Your comment 6th June 23:51 is scaremongering at its very worst. You are portraying the entire educational establishment in Gibraltar as being religious fundamentalists. What is worse is that you made this comment under a pseudonym, which to be totally honest makes me doubt you have a ten year old daughter. But that aside if you feel so utterly disgusted by this behaviour – which I don’t blame you for it is a very Llanito World-esque totalitarian view – I suggest that you take it up with the teacher directly and even inform the school board, instead of going to a public forum and painting all of Gibraltars teachers with the same brush. That teacher should be rebuked for that statement, the rest of them mean whilst should not have to suffer the generalisation which you put forth.

  64. I have not seen it mentioned in the comments but do you know our children are forced as part of the curriculum to sit GCSE Religion (which is basically Catholic doctrine)? I have discussed this with my children who believe that it would have been more productive sitting other more useful subjects - none of my children want to go into the priesthood or become a nun. Have they been indoctrinated into religious thinking? No they just find it an absolute waste of time having Roman Catholicism shoved down their throats. They actually resent the religion more now than before! They are still not church goers!

  65. on 07/06/2010 at 8.47 Albert Yome asked -Are there any commandments against slavery, abuse of children, treating women like livestock? The answer is yes. Jesus said that there were only 2 commandments 1. Love God and 2. Treat your neighbour as you would be treated yourself. As to the abuse of children Jesus specifically prescribed the harshest of penalties. I recommend that Albert reads the Gospels.

  66. Tin Tin....
    I find your post offensive and uncalled for. If their is character assasination it has been by people like you and your party. I am a socialist by conviction, a GSLP member and a practising Roman Catholic. My political inclination has nothing to do with my faith. By your comments, you bring out the uglier side of our community which is bigoted.

  67. I used to enjoy Religion GCSE lessons. Not through my never ending devotion but because it was the only subject which wasnt banded and was much more relaxed than the other GCSE subjects. It meant I could have a laugh with my mates whom otherwise were in a lower band for other subjects.
    Incidentally, it was the only GCSE I failed.
    However, and importantly, I recall that when choosing my options I was furious at the fact that I ad to choose between two subjects which I enjoyed (Geography and Physical Education)bacause i had to study GCSE RE.The whole point of choosing your options is that the education system understands you are at an age where you are capable of deciding your future and have the ability to make reasoned and calculated decisions.
    Compulsory GCSE RE should be abolished right now!

  68. Charles Gomez.9 June 2010 at 18:35

    Calpetano tells me that mocking of faith is not secularism. I never said that it was but that "aggressive" secularists and ignoramuses and other uncultured people do mock religion. Moreover, Calpetano's warning against preaching the paramountcy of one belief-system over all others completely misses the point. I DO believe that Christianity IS the paramount "belief system," all practising Catholics do; but it does not bother me that Jews believe that Judaism is superior or that Muslims think the same of Islam and Hindus of Hinduism and I would not presume to say that a person should not be entitled to be an atheist or a pagan etc. Neither have I said that I have anything against studying comparative religion what I did say was that I do not want my children, who are Catholics by choice as well as birth, to have the study of Christianity replaced by "comparative studies". My complaint is against aggressive or militant secularists not secularism itself. I do not for one moment advocate a theocracy and have never known anyone who does, indeed Jesus Christ himself is to my mind the origin of the separation of Church and State when he tells us to give unto Caeser what is is Caeser's and to God what is God's. The issue here is that the teaching of religion comes under the latter jurisdiction and most of our schools originate from schools founded by the Church. If the schools are now to become completely secular then the Church will have to establish new schools for the Faithful in the same way as the Jewish community has done. We in Gibraltar need to decide whether non Catholics are accommodated properly within the current system (as they absolutely must and can be) or we use the sledge hammer approach and remove Christianity from state schools and so force Christians, who appear in every Census as the great majority of citizens, to seek a separate educational system that suits them.

  69. To Elen

    If you have read the above mentioned posts, you will see instances were people brandish the GSD as bible-bashers and other posts that discredit Rebecca (PDP) member for her views and yet this does not offend you? It is rather obvious to me that there are a number of pro-GSLP and/or GSLP executive members here that are trying to discredit other political mindsets and promote their secular views. If you are a socialist, you will be aware that in some cases some die-hard socialists can lean more towards the left than is healthy. Just look at how Spain is turning out, with the PSOE constantly causing the Spanish diocese to spit nails. Socialism and religion are like oil and water, to quote from V.I. Lenin “Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.”

    I can accept that you like might be pro-GSLP because you find no better alternative in Gibraltar, but are you really a Socialist if you are indeed a true, practicing Roman Catholic. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Joe Bossano and he gets one of my votes every time, but that is as far as I go. JB gets my vote because I regard him as a ‘true’ Gibraltarian with Gibraltars best interest at heart. But as a Catholic, whose religion is of vital importance, I needed to react to the above slating of my faith by people with obvious GSLP leanings. If this has offended you, I sincerely apologise and hope that you in turn as a good Catholic accept my appologies.

  70. Orwell (George is it?)...I don't know whether the entire educational establishment in Gibraltar are 'religious fundamentalists' but the evidence suggests that it is rife!!

    But that's not my reason for replying to you matey !!!!!!!!

    You have the hypocritical nerve to criticise me for using a pseudonym when you do precisely the same!!! But what is totally unacceptable is that you go further and accuse me of lying about MY family!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My daughter is a REAL person (her name is Amy), I love her dearly and how dare you even begin to suggest that I somehow 'invented her' for the purpose of stirring things up, you blinkered religious bigot !!

    If you had bothered to read other posts here (and in previous blogs) you would have a pretty good idea of who I am!!

    I will probably now be accused again by the righteous of being a 'nasty socialist'...I really don't give a damn!!!....Max

  71. Carlito...Well said!! Let those who want to do RE do it, and excuse all others!!

    It's a question of freedom of choice, nothing more and nothing less!!

    Our 'educators' will doubtless disagree with this as most RE teachers may well find themselves in the dole queue!! ....Max

  72. Hi Charles Gomez:

    I do not believe any secularist mocks religion. I think you have the term mixed up with persons who are rabidly anti- religion. This is not what is being debated. You are beginning to sound like an intolerant Christian, who wishes to take advantage of a majority position without regard to the minority. Pleas remember that human rights is about the protection of both majorities and minorities.

    No one suggests that your children cannot and should not be taught Catholicism, just that there is a right place and a wrong place to teach it. A secular government funded school may not be that right place and if it is then it should be done in a compassionate way, which is what Catholicism preaches and should practice.

    Let the Church do as it wishes but i believe there is no need for it to fund schools. Solutions to this issue can be found within the existing system that does not result in psychological abuse being caused to any child.

  73. La economia is the next one up. Be prepared.

  74. Charles Gomez.10 June 2010 at 10:21

    Hello Robert: HM the Queen's Coronation Oath included an affirmative answer to the question: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?" Her Majesty being the source of our government and laws, it is therefore not correct for you to imply that ours is a secular government. We are still part of a Christian State de jure. Having said that I confirm for the 4th and hopefully final time that I strongly agree that non Christian children should never be ostracised in school or any where else. I think that your use of the term "psychological abuse" needs some evidence or lacking that, a retraction; without that you could be accused of hysteria. Finally I am relieved to see that you have since the beginning of this blog relented from your initial position when you said: "all this preparation for the Roman Catholic sacraments should take place outside schools and school hours." For my part I think it should not be at all difficult to accommodate majority Christians and minority children in a way that all are treated with dignity, great care and tenderness.

  75. How can anyone in their right mind expect schools called St Annes St Marys St Joseph BISHOP Fitzgerald be secular?

    Since when is sitting at the back of the class doing homework or whatever whilst the mayority prepare for say communion be psychological abuse?

    Lets get things in perspective.

  76. Hi Charles and Anonymous at 10:26-

    To rely on a secular Head of a Christian Church that split from Rome for the historical reasons that it did, especially when she is the Head of a State in which secularism in government schools has been embraced despite her role within the Church of England, is bizarre.

    If our Government is not secular, God help us. Perhaps that warped thinking is what is getting it into trouble on several fronts, not least the age of consent issue.

    As to perspectives and "psychological abuse" I will certainly not detract, save to say that I do not doubt it is unthinking and so an unintended consequence. The perspective that I take on this issue is that of a parent. In evidence I put forward the letter so eruditely and well argued written by Anna Latin (a parent) to the Chronic.

    Why are people who put diffferent but valid views so often attacked by accusations of hysteria (usually from a bigotted standpoint), is that not an hysteriacl reaction itself? Ponder on this for a moment.

    I do not relent from my original position taht schools should not be involved in denomination religious teachings (that is so in goverment schools for Judaism, Hinduism and islam). It is an ideal that the system should strive for. If for practical considerations another solution needs to be found then so be it, so long as it is sensitive to the feelings and psychological development of others.

  77. Honney Bee says...


    From the tone of your last post I can tell that you feel offended by some of the posts and I entirely respect you right to do so. I can only speak for my own contributions which were not intended to offend, but to discuss whether our education system is indeed secular and in the case of my comments whether schools are best placed for religious instruction. I may not be a practising RC but I do have the greatest respect for all faiths and I welcome all views and opinions.

    I do , however, hope that that your suggestions to question the vailidity of other academic subjects such as history and the sciences were a `fit of the moment` and not something that you really feel is a valid argument. The sciences, for example provide the doctors and proffesionals that make up hospitals and to do away with them would take us back to the middle ages.

    I have placed great importance, within the upbringing of my own children, on teaching them respect and tolerance for all people, faiths and cultures and again whilst wishing no disrespect, this has not come from my own faith or anything that I might have learnt within RE at school - it comes from the upbringing that I had for which I`m grateful.

  78. Charles Gomez.10 June 2010 at 12:20

    Hi Robert: you finished your article above by making the following inflammatory statement: ".... sitting at the back of the class being bombarded with religious denominational propaganda but also being exposed overtly and surreptitiously to one denomination: Roman Catholicism". Now you say: "I do not doubt it is unthinking and so an unintended consequence". At least you have moderated your position in terms of motive but I have to say with respect that your use of the sentence "psychological abuse" is highly improper and degrades real psychological abuse which there is no evidence any of the children in our schools suffer because their Catholic colleagues are being taught their religion. Perhaps we should focus on the real psychological abuse that poorer children suffer on account of societal pressures to acquire branded goods, or from violence on TV, the cinema and computer games. I have never understood why the liberal left and allied do-gooders are so quick to cry abuse when there is no abuse and yet so shy to do so when commercial interests are demonstrably the cause of REAL pain and suffering to children.

  79. Hi Charles:

    I consider my statements to be mutually exclusive and totally compatible and do not constitute moderation.

    The existence of other forms of psychological abuse does not detract. I am grateful for highlighting that issue.

    At last we get a political admission from you that you neither belong to the liberal left, that you consider them to be go-gooders (which is a compliment because "good" is what we should all strive for as good Roman Catholics)... does that make you a right wing conservative reactionary?

  80. In my opinion there are more chances for a non-Christian (such as a Gibraltarian of Morocan descent) to suffer as a result of the witnessing of his/her parents been treated as second class citizens in Gibraltar, than they would by witnessing their class mates learn about religion.

  81. Charles Gomez.10 June 2010 at 13:21

    Hi Robert, I most certainly am not a right wing conservative reactionary and it is a sad indictment on the liberal left that anyone who does not agree with its half cooked notions and failed social engineering should be accused of right wing conservatism. I agree with you however that your statements "do not constitute moderation." In particular,your use of the term "psychological abuse" in the context of a quiet afternoon catching up with some reading at the back of a class is nothing short of outlandish.

  82. Anna Latin seems deeply offended that religion should play such a prominent role in our schools, and resents the fact that her children should be “subjected” to it. As a mother I would think her prime concern would be in protecting her children from the incessant outpour of filth that comes through the media. It does not take much to realize which is the more detrimental to the psychological wellbeing and balance of our children. Being in the presence of events of a religious nature does not harm our them. It provides them with a healthy and balanced moral upbringing. It is parents like her who, with their extreme ideas, are the actual ones causing their children to feel marginalised. I doubt a child who is asked to refrain from attending a class will rebel, but actually welcome it with open arms! To suggest that such s/he will suffer psychologically is absolute nonsense and borders on the hysterical!

    Christianity has been an important influence in the shaping western civilization, and this we cannot overlook – we see its positive impacts in the fields of law, medicine, education, music, art, literature, philosophy, morality. Christianity is deeply rooted in the entire fabric of our society. To campaign for its removal from our educational system serves none other than to reveal the sheer ignorance of those who proudly advocate that we can do without the Church’s teachings.

    Rather than provide schools for children of parents who are staunchly opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church, or campaign for the removal of religion altogether, the logical solution would be to ensure that these children are properly catered for. We mustn’t forget there are still a substantial number of us who feel it is important to have schools encourage the teaching of religion. After all, it is where our children spend most of their day. Having said this, I believe the onus should not be placed solely on our schools, but also on the parents and the Church.

    But to scrap religion from our schools, definitely no. We are every day witnessing what harm turning away from Christian principles is doing to our world. It is indeed sad that it is precisely those who have been born into the Roman Catholic religion that are the ones who are so opposed to the idea – people of other faiths are not the ones complaining. It is abundantly clear that they haven’t bothered delving deeper into the richness of our Faith and practising it. If they had they wouldn’t so readily reject its many benefits.

  83. Anna Latin seems deeply offended that religion should play such a prominent role in our schools, and resents the fact that her children should be “subjected” to it. As a mother I would think her prime concern would be in protecting her children from the incessant outpour of filth that comes through the media. It does not take much to realize which is the more detrimental to the psychological wellbeing and balance of our children. Being in the presence of events of a religious nature does not harm them. It provides them with a healthy and balanced moral upbringing. It is parents like her who, with their extreme ideas, are the actual ones causing their children to feel marginalised. I doubt a child who is asked to refrain from attending a class will rebel, but actually welcome it with open arms! To suggest that such children will suffer psychologically is absolute nonsense and borders on the hysterical!

    Christianity has been an important influence in the shaping of western civilization, and this we cannot overlook – we see its positive impacts in the fields of law, medicine, education, music, art, literature, philosophy, morality. Christianity is deeply rooted in the entire fabric of our society. To campaign for its removal from our educational system serves none other than to reveal the sheer ignorance of those who proudly advocate that we can do without the Church’s teachings.

    Rather than provide schools for children of parents who are staunchly opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church, or campaign for its complete removal, the logical solution would be to ensure that these children are properly catered for. We mustn’t forget there are still a substantial number of us who feel it is important to have schools encourage the teaching of religion. After all, it is where our children spend most of their day. Having said this, I believe the onus should not be placed solely on our schools, but also on the parents and the Church.

    But to scrap religion from our schools, definitely no. We are every day witnessing what harm turning away from Christian principles is doing to our world. It is indeed sad that it is precisely those who have been born into the Roman Catholic religion that are advocating the idea – people of other faiths are not the ones complaining. It is abundantly clear that they haven’t bothered delving deeper into the richness of our Faith and practising it. If they had they wouldn’t so readily reject its benefits.

  84. I don't believe that young members of other religions worry about children of the Christian faith being taught the Bible in school. But Robert may have a point about "psychological abuse." It is possible that children of a Christian background whose parents impose on them their atheistic beliefs feel excluded but not by the system but by their parents. Just a thought.

  85. Yani
    You say that Anna Latin's prime concern should be to protect her children from the media filth, how do you know that she doesn't already do that? Protecting kids from the media is very easy, just don't let them watch certain TV channels or leave tabloids lying around for them to read.
    On the other hand, if people like Anna feel strongly about the effects of RC communion prep and compulsory RE (Christianity only) GCSE in our state schools she cannot just simply switch off can she.

    Lots of people do feel very strongly about this, many of whom do not read this blog. Anna has gone that step further in making her views public in a very measured way.

  86. Hi Anonymous:

    A dangerous and subversive thought. Subversive of freedom and parental rights. Are you a parent? Are you a Roman Catholic?

  87. Hi Charles:

    You protest too much. Your political hue is not for you to argue or determine. It is for others to judge by your views, what you say and do.

    Rarely have I seen such right wing reactionary conservative views expressed. If you are free to lbel otehrs as liberal left do-gooders, am I not free to label you? Or is this just another manisfestation of your right wing reactionsary conservative atittude?

    I will say no more on the subject so feel free to vent your right wing conservative reactionary anger as you see fit.

  88. Rebecca, I was just pointing out that there are other things which are irrevocably detrimental to our children, that need to be addressed as a priority.

    How can you possibly be serious when you say that it is easy to avoid contact with the filth in the media, by simply turning off the offensive channel or getting rid of any unsuitable literary material??? Are you living in the real world??? THE FILTH IS EVERYWHERE!!!

    As for RE being taught in schools, all it takes is for the parents concerned to make the headteacher aware of their opposition, so that provision is made to accommodate their children. It is totally absurd that others, who are quite happy with the current system, should suffer, and that something that can be easily taken care of should be the cause of such hysteria!

  89. Yani, the provision isn't made to accomodate the children, they have to stay in the class. I went to a Westside 'options' meeting a couple of years ago and the head adressed the parents about the proceedure. He actually said "It is against the law not to take RE GCSE in Gibraltar" and that was before anybody even asked about the dos and don'ts!!! Very, very defensive attitude. He didn't say it was "against the law" not to take Spanish or English or Maths, or other compulsory subjects.

    Can you Lawyers out there confirm that it is indeed "against the law" not to take RE GCSE in Gibraltar?

    What sort of filth are we talking about Yani?

  90. Fausto Says:

    Not only should there be religious education in school but also we should consider the following:

    1- Daily Prayer
    2- Scrap the watered down "christian" GCSE and get some proper Catholic teachings.
    3- Compulsory Camino de Santiago at age 16
    4- Cursillo at age 18
    5- Scrap the Hoodie / Chav tracksuits that are allowed to pass as uniforms and demand Jacket & Ties for Boys and Jacket Ties and Skirts for Girls.

  91. Where have we got to when the common sense of a level headed man like Charles Gomez is hysterically accused of being a right wing reactionary conservative. I have been a socialist all my life and I agree with everything that he has said does that make me a reactionary conservative. Or does it make you a hysteric.

  92. To miss the point. When I was choosing my options, RE was forced upon me. I was not given the choice! (options = choices). Had I been given the choice I would have chosen Geography, or Science, or whatever the hell I wanted to do... But my reaction, (and belive me i still recall questioning the teacher who advised me on my options) to compulsory Re was "I dont want to do it"....what was the teachers reply..."you HAVE to"

    Are you seriously suggesting that my parents should have kicked up a fuss about this? I would not have allowed them to, at that age having your parents at a school meeting is embarassing enough. So what did I do, I had to stick with it!

  93. I agree with Yani, why discriminate against a majority for the sakes of a minority? That is surely democracy in reverse!

  94. Honey Bee -

    I find removing religion from schools to be as ridiculous as removing the sciences or history.

    Max -

    I find it hilarious that you take your 10 year old "daughters" solitary experience and not only push it as evidence that the educational establishment is full of religious fundamentalists but that you also deem it fit (in your self righteous way) to brandish the whole establishment as being religious fundamentalists based on the one experience. God forbid you ever get mugged by an African American, or swindled by an Asian for you would brandish both races as being thieves and we would have another Henry Ford on our hands. If you were talking about a race you would be brandished a racist (the type of contempt which a grand imperial wizard would receive) if you were talking about homosexuals you would be brandished a homophobe. You are what is wrong with society today, you have no tolerance for other people and feel it right to stereotype huge sections of society. Especially those who have the honourable and unenviable job of teaching our youth. I restate my position on those who have the prestigious job of teaching our youth, that if they overstep their teaching ambit and give opinions on which faith believes in the one true God then they should be rebuked and the incident be brought to the headmasters attention.

    Your third paragraph is particularly amusing. If - and I stress IF because at the end of the day I don't know who you are (pseudonym) and you could be a militant atheist bent on tarnishing the name of religion for your own purposes - you do have a 10 year old I find it comical that you would take a 10 year olds reconstruction of an event as fact. I mean when I was 10 I believed in the tooth fairy. So unfortunately your cover appears to be blown and your militant atheist colours are shining for all to see now.
    It is very sad and sickening, if you do have a daughter, that you use her as a front for your distaste towards religion. THAT is totally unacceptable.

    "if you had...other posts" - After reading the one post I was unfortunate enough to have read, I have no doubt in my mind that I do not want to read about your bigoted and obnoxious thoughts on anything, unless of course I need to know the best way to stereotype an entire section on society.

  95. Hi All:

    Nothing like religion to bring out hysteria in all. LOL!


    Democracy and human rights is also about respecting minorities.

    Anonymous at 16:31-

    The answer is "probably" as in the famous lager advert. Is your socialism measured by you or independently by others who know your views and how you act?

  96. Fausto; the "hoodie" or capuchin is a long established Christian attire.

  97. To day in the UK press we read that the English flag has been banned by certain local authorities in England in case it offends people who do not support England in the World Cup. This is the sort of insanity that LW's type liberal view of life has created in the mother country. The problem is n't the liberals but the out and out nutcases who no doubt think that the the sight of the Flag of st. George could be psychological abuse.

  98. To anonymous at 18:12

    I love the tolerance shown by someone who calls me a nutcase.

  99. LW said: I love the tolerance shown by someone who calls me a nutcase. Are you a masochist then?

  100. Orwell....I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that you are a total nutter!!

    In your haste to defend the established 'order' (which you clearly seem to feel is threatened by opposing views!!)you come out with a string of ludicrous accusations which can only be described as laughable!!!

    So I am a Homophobe, Racist and maybe even a member of the Ku Klux Klan??.That is of course if anyone here is daft enough to believe you pisha!!! I am sorry to disappoint you but I am none of those though I am highly amused that in your pathetic attempt to discredit me you should resort to such a tirade of complete nonsense!!

    If (as you say) you still believed in the 'tooth fairy' when you were TEN, I would venture to suggest that that would explain a lot about the mindset of the 'Orwell' of today!!

    So, because I (in passing) mention a comment made by my daughter (and she IS my daughter so get it in to your thick skull!)you have (in your opinion) blown my cover as a 'Militant Atheist'....Congratulations on such expeditious detective work and carry on taking the pills,as you obviously need them!!!

    By the way.... You refer to Homophobia which I assume you should (?) know is enshrined in the Catholic doctrine you so zealousy defend....If you are such a devout believer then you are probably most of the things you have attempted to
    accuse me of being...Except of course an atheist (but not a militant one !!!!)....Max

  101. Oh, and P.S. Orwell....I found this little gem of a sermon (copied n pasted it)on one of those 'Faith' sites that keep popping up on Facebook.... I'm sure you will like it so read on!!

    '2011 AD—On May 21st, Judgement Day will begin and the rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will occur at the end of the 23-year great tribulation. On October 21st, the world will be destroyed by fire (7000 years ...from the flood; 13,023 years from creation)'

    As you are obviously one of 'God's elect people' you're not going to get fried which I'm sure is very re-assuring to know. I will take my chances on atheism.. Lol !!...Max

  102. Max you need some bed rest. See a doctor.

    El GAMBA

  103. Tin Tin.... 9th June 18.38
    As a paid up member of the GSLP I feel offended when my party is slandered as THAT includes me.
    I do not subscribe to the views of the PDP. So why should I feel offended?

    You say that participating in this blog are executive members of the GSLP promoting their secular views.

    The GSLP have no policy on this subject nor have they expressed any views as a party. I rung the GSLP office this morning and asked.

    You have quoted Lenin ( who was quoting Marx)as an example of why a socialist can not be a practising Roman Catholic.Who do you think you are to doubt my ability to combine my my political inclination with my faith?
    Shall I numerate some of the horrors inflicted by the Inquisition and Torquemada, or shall we discuss the wars caused by the Roman Catholic Church? Inspite of the above I am still a practising Roman Catholic, so why should I not be a socialist inspite of Lenin or Marx?

    I accept your apologies but remember that the Roman Catholic Church says that there is forgiveness only when there is genuine


  104. Rebecca, my suspicions have been proved right –you do not live in the real world!

    Carlito – since you didn’t have much choice other than having to take Religion, perhaps you could have made the most of the time spent in such lessons to learn about the beautiful Truths of the Faith you were born into.

    Robert Vasquez – yes, democracy and human rights is also about respecting minorities, but certainly not at the expense of the majority. This kind of thinking is what is causing so many problems. In the UK, for example, the increasing trend towards political correctness is preventing Christians from sharing their faith openly.

    Max, if you had bothered to learn anything about the teachings of the Catholic Church, you would realize that just because it doesn’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle it doesn’t mean it is homophobic. It is so tiring to listen to the same kind of hateful trash spewed upon the Catholic Church by like-minded individuals like yourself. You purport to advocate tolerance, when in reality you are hugely intolerant towards people whose opinions are not in conformity with yours, resorting to insults, hence the nonsensical arguments you direct towards Orwell. Another complete error that you have made, no doubt showing how misinformed you are, is that of mentioning the “rapture” - this is a belief shared by evangelicals, not Catholics! Catholics do not believe in the rapture!

  105. Honney Bee says...

    WOW...and here was me thinking that fanatisism and hysteria was the sole reserve of politics in Gib.

    It does sort of take the pee out of the idea that we are a tolerant lot...

  106. El Gamba....maybe you need to become art of a prawn cocktail!!...Max

  107. Yani.....The beautiful truths????????????

    Since you are such a devout Catholic (and follower of Orwell too!!) could you please answer the following questions honestly....

    1) Do you accept that it is an individuals absolute right to follow their sexuality?

    2) Do you accept that divorce is better than living in a turbulent relationship?

    3) Do you accept that contraception is surely a safeguard against the ruining of young peoples lives (especially women) before they have even begun to enjoy them?

    4) Do you condone the behaviour of countless paedophile Priests who have been protected by the Vatican??

    Think about it before answering ....I don't engage in 'hateful trash' as you say... But I am guilty as charged of provoking religious fundamentalists into a real debate!!!....And I know you just hate it!!!...Max

  108. PART of a prawn cocktail...Lol !!...Max

  109. Yani.....Oh sorry, I'm not religious....Evangelicals must be as misguided as you are!!!....Max

  110. Dear (or "Hi") Robert, You cannot call a person a conservative who does not want to conserve the current politically correct liberal Establishment undemocratically imposed on Western Europe by the Judges of the ECHR. Also, I loathe the ideology of inherited position and the class structure and I think that you know that I believe strongly in meritocracy so you must be joking when you accuse me of being right wing. However I am absolutely delighted at the way that the anti- Catholics are being given a good old hiding in this Blog. For too long the lazier thinkers of the liberal Establishment have thought that Christianity was an easy target but as they say, on this occasion: "con la Iglesia se han topado"

  111. LW: In what World do we live in when we purport to defend the right of the few at the expense of a majority? So what do you suggest that we discriminate against a majority of families that are non-secular for the sake of the few, whom you claim are at a disadvantage? That in my opinion is utter tripe. I agree with Charles Gomez that better efforts can be made to accommodate the FEW that do not wish to engage in religious education, but surely not at the expense of a MAJORITY. Such, I believe is the essence of all democracies and forward-thinking societies.

    Elen: I am genuinely sorry if I have offended you. But I do not retract from my opinions. I do not have leanings towards any party (despite what some have expressed due to my inability to spell correctly, but please lets not get my dyslexia cause further confusion. I do use a Word Processor prior to submitting my posts, but they don’t really recognise surnames). I do not retract my opinions because it is extremely evident to me that only those with GSLP leanings in this blog have been the ones that are slating my faith, which for me comes way above the GSD, GSLP or PDP. Thus by logical conclusion and by the process of elimination, one can only deduct that this must be inspired by socialist ideals. In my opinion Socialism and atheism walk hand in hand. You of course are one of many exceptions, but the general consensus for many avid Catholics such as I is that you are the minority and that the majority of Socialists are indeed secular in their attitudes. Further more it is very amusing to see that many pro-secular contributors in this forum are quick to call the defenders of the faith ‘Right Wingers’ or ‘Bigots’ but are in turn offended when their Socialist secular inclinations appear to become tarnished. Pot – Kettle – Black. Also the inquisition etc. are evident fallibilities of a church that was run in a time where Kingdoms and rulers were evidently no better if not worse. Thus we can only criticize humanity as it was at the time. But for the sake of argument, I can also highlight the actions of many good Christian institutions of those times, such as ‘Los Trinitarios’ whose brothers would trade themselves for people who had become slaves and thus suffer a life time of misery for the good of others. But that I suppose is another story. Christianity and indeed most faiths are today world leaders in charitable causes and engage in alleviating the suffering of the many for little in return.

    In conclusion, there are greater issues in Gibraltar regarding minority discrimination such as naturalisation issues. For example, a legally employed non-EU worker in most European countries can apply for naturalisation after 8-10 years. In Gibraltar they can apply for naturalisation after 25 years and still this does NOT ensure them with a passport, or the right to vote, or the right to cross the frontier, or the right to govt. housing, or the right for their children to get a government grant to study in the UK etc etc etc. Funnily enough I did not see either Max or LW or Ana Latin marching in support for these non EU workers when the last rally was organised.

    This has nothing to do with supporting minorities, this has to do with pushing secular ideals of the few down the throats of a majority who do not share or want to share the same view.

  112. Yani, again you miss the point. If I had wanted to learn about those beautiful truths I would have CHOSEN to do so, not have it rammed down my throat.

  113. Max, the purpose of this little questionnaire you have put before me is to try and catch me out – this is always the predictable course of action taken by those who feel threatened! However, as my beliefs are well established, and I have nothing to fear when speaking out the, yes, beautiful Truths of the Faith, I will answer your questions:

  114. 1. Every person is free to exercise his will as he wishes, in every aspect of his life, but he must also exercise the use of his conscience to decide whether his actions are right or wrong. God created man as a rational being, with free will and full knowledge of the consequences of his behaviour. If a person insists on doing the wrong thing, ignoring the voice of his conscience, it is only he who is responsible for his ultimate demise. Homosexuals are not rejected by God. What God cannot condone is the homosexual lifestyle.
    2. The reasons for wanting a divorce are completely different in every individual case – regrettably, many people are not prepared to try and work out their problems, resulting in the ever-increasing number of divorces we witness today. Our modern society sadly promotes the idea that you are free to do what you will, as long as you believe it’s alright, leading to people finding the easy way out, without any regard for those who will inevitably suffer from their actions. Most of the time you will find that it is the children who are the unfortunate victims, leading them to search in the wrong places for that love and security they have the right to expect from their parents. No wonder our world is in such a complete mess. You ask me whether it is wise to stick to an unhappy marriage – as I said before, the reasons for wanting a separation are different in each case, so it is up to a Canon Lawyer to ascertain whether the persons involved have any real grounds for divorce.
    3. Why is it so hard for people to accept the fact that sex was created for procreation purposes and therefore limited to the context of marriage?! It is society’s fault for allowing the contamination of sexual influences to penetrate every single aspect of our lives! We should be teaching our children the value of chastity and purity, instead of encouraging them to enter into sexual relationships at a time when they haven’t fully matured and are not aware of the psychological, physical and spiritual consequences that result from this. It is so sad that our youth is being misguided and told that sex is OK as long as you use contraception. If it were OK, why is there an increasing number of people acquiring sexually transmitted diseases; why is there a growing number of teenage pregnancies, leading to more and more children being murdered in their own mother’s wombs? Contraception encourages promiscuity! Is it that hard to see?!

    4. we unoriginal! The latest weapon to attack the Church with – the scandals!!! Max, I could go into an extensive explanation about man’s fallen nature, about the spiritual battle every single person is engaged in, about how Satan’s “smoke” has penetrated the Vatican....but I don’t think it is going to make any difference to your biased views of our Faith. What I find unbelievable is that you should ask me if I condone such behaviour! Amazing! Who, in their right mind would do so? If you wish to know what the Catholic Church thinks of this, there are many articles in the internet which will open your eyes, and hopefully make you realize there is another side to the story. Before you start, if you are bothered that is, I would suggest you enter reliable Catholic sites as there are many which are solely concerned with pouring out even more venom upon the Church.

    One last thing – you accuse me and others who think like me to be religious fundamentalists! So what you are really insinuating is that everyone who takes their religion seriously is a fundamentalist! You really must be careful as to how you choose your words!

    I do hope and pray that one day your heart will be open to receive the abundant blessings that your Father in Heaven can’t wait to shower you with!

  115. Hi All
    I think that not unusually for this subject concensus is not going to be possible even with the aid of prayer. I will not be publishing any further comments. Can we all please move on to the new blog or do you all agree?

  116. Yani,
    Contraception encourages promiscuity? What about contraception between married couples who don't want to have any/any more children?

    You say there is a rise of teenage pregnancies, these people obviously DID NOT use contraception.

    Let's just stop having sex altogether, unless you want to have a child of course, then by all means go ahead but make sure you get married first!

  117. Rebecca

    Of course the easy availability of contraceptives encourages promiscuity!!! If they didn’t exist do you think people would indulge in sex so readily? And many times with a wide range of different partners?

    There is an alternative to artificial contraception for married couples known as Natural Family Planning which works with the woman's cycle and other signs she needs to watch out for – NFP has been proved to be as effective, or even more, than other forms of contraception, and obviously has the added benefit of having no side effects whatsoever.

    You might be interested to see the trailer of a shocking documentary called "Blood Money", which exposes the gruesome business of an organisation, Planned Parenthood, which deals with the exploitation of young women who are offered “sex education”, after which they are handed out low dose contraceptive pills or defective condoms, with the aim to have them come back for an abortion!!! If you find this hard to believe, you can see for yourself:

    So, are you still of the opinion that all the young girls who get pregnant don't use contraception?

    Yes, I maintain that the answer for our youth is chastity and purity, and to save themselves for marriage. Anyway, what is the rush? Why would we want to encourage them to grow up before their time, and expose them to the many dangers associated with it? This idea has worked well in Uganda, where the rate of AIDS has come down to nearly nought because of a programme designed to educate the young ones to save themselves for marriage, whereas in other places in Africa where this programme has not been put into place, the rate of AIDS continues to rise. And this even with all the free contraceptives that the USA “kindly” sends over to them!!!

    Rebecca, it’s time you woke up to the reality of life!

  118. Rebecca

    I forgot to add....the good news is that NFP is approved by the Church as the couple is still open to life, as opposed to those who use artificial means of contraception :)

  119. I thought this subject was now closed....and have consequently missed out on some hot stuff!!!

    Yani....How can you in all honesty say "Homosexuals are not rejected by God. What God cannot condone is the homosexual lifestyle". Pardon me but isn't that the same thing? Or am I missing something here??

    Also....Do you really stand by your comment that "Our modern society sadly promotes the idea that you are free to do what you will" ?? I firmly believe in freedom of choice (within the bounds of the law) but you obviously do not!!

    Do you really believe that " Sex was created for procreation purposes and therefore limted to the context of marriage" ???????????? I don't know your gender Yani but you must have either a very frustrating life or lots of children!!

    On a more serious note I would just conclude that (as LW says) we will never find a consensus here. The 2 sides of the argument are just poles apart!!...Max

  120. Honney Bee says...

    Yani you say that you..." maintain that the answer for our youth is chastity and purity, and to save themselves for marriage. Anyway, what is the rush? Why would we want to encourage them to grow up before their time, and expose them to the many dangers associated with it?"

    But yet the age at which the Church consents to marriage is 14 for girls. Do you not consider that this is nothing short of barbaric in this day and age ? The thought of any of my kids being married at this young age, with all the responsibility that goes with marriage, quite frankly makes my hair stand on end and has no place in civilised society today.

  121. I am a practicing Catholic who does not believe that St Paul's draconian ideas on sex are mandatory. St. Paul himself said that they were not and in any case I take my guidance from the words of Jesus first and then much later St Paul and other doctors of the Church. having said that I think that Max is bang out of order. I do not care or want to know whether Max is a sex machine or any one else is celibate. You liberated sexy groovie people get on with your lives and let the rest of us do the same. It would help if the trendy lot read the Gospels before discussing Christianity.

  122. I have never been called a sex machine before.....~blush~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Max

  123. Also Anon 09.47....Is the 'bang out of order' an unintentional pun or do you really have a sense of humour!!!!....Max

  124. Max, I’m afraid that you ARE missing something - God does not reject the homosexual as a person - He loves him/her in the same way as He loves every other sinner (which we all are). But what He doesn’t agree with is the homosexual act. Sex between people of the same gender is gravely disordered and goes against the natural law – these are not my own ideas but teachings from the Catechism.

    Which brings me to what I said before, of course sex WAS created for procreation purposes – why, otherwise, would there be an end result – a baby – as a consequence of the act???!!! I know this must be hard for the sex-obsessed to swallow as the truth does indeed hurt.

    So, what is the answer for homosexuals, you might ask – well, homosexuals are called to live a life of celibacy. Yes, CELIBACY!!! Quite a taboo word in our “forward thinking” culture!!! I am fully aware this will ruffle a few feathers (possibly a great deal of feathers!) but, again, the truth has to come to light.

    I, too, believe in freedom for everyone, but only where morality takes centre stage – this society of ours is clearly very confused, and there is no distinction between what is morally right and what is morally wrong – the kind of thinking that, in the guise of freedom, endorses the idea that as long as the individual feels something is alright for him personally, then it MUST be alright. Ultimately everyone will be accountable to God for their behaviour and, even if things are lawful by human standards, it doesn't mean they are lawful in the eyes of God - for our ways are not His ways...

    Max, I have been very happily married for over 25 years – quite a record these days! - and I thank God every day for coming into my life, for it is by living close to Him that I receive the strength and wisdom to carry on in my daily path towards Him, in spite of all the lures and empty promises the world continuously offers. Living a life with God, believe it or not, actually frees me from these “frustrations” you yourself evidently seem to be an expert in!

    As it is obvious we will never reach common ground, I will refrain from taking part in this discussion any further. In all fairness to you, I would advise you not to direct any more comments to me as you would be wasting your time. Besides, I really do have better things to do!

    One last word I would like to address to everyone reading this - it is only when the Divine Laws that God has provided us with to help us live life simply and happily, are followed, that we will finally find inner peace and real freedom – not the “freedom” the world offers, but true freedom that only comes from Him.

  125. Yani....I really hope that some homosexuals read your last post as I believe it is rampantly homophobic !

    You may be surprised to hear that I have been married for 23 years and am not the 'free love' sexual predator some of you may try to paint me as!!! The difference between me and some of you is that I respect an individuals choice of partner, which is NOT a sin and is determined by their genetic make up on the day they were born.

    I am not interested in the teachings of the catechism or anything else that seeks to shackle the way in which we can freely choose to lead our lives.

    Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so, but if you are right and I am wrong I will answer to your God on the day of judgement with a clear conscience!!!...Max

  126. Max...
    I do not agree with some of the things you say but on the following I am 100% with you, "your sexual inclination is determined on the day you are born". Tomorrow, it could be my doughter or my son or the children of my children. I would like them to lead a normal life, not discriminated in any way or form. And if their is a God i think he would agree with us.

  127. Anon 11.19.....It's nice to see somebody agree with me for a change!

    As you rightly say, homosexuality is an issue which any family may have to address at some stage and should do so in a compassionate manner.

    The RC Church (and not the supposed God) holds an opposite view which I find totally unpalatable!! Discrimination of any type is abhorrent and I stand 100 percent behind my views.. Even if that leaves me open to the venom spewed out by the righteous!!...Max

  128. A few hundred years ago they would have rounded us up along with whoever had a few grains of grey matter and would have tortured us and then set us on fire. Thank goodness they are not in power anymore.

  129. Anonymous at 1808: It is a shame that you only have a few grains of grey matter. If you had a bit more you would not write such rubbish. Have you ever cionsidered evening classes at the John Mackintosh hall or travel to broaden your mind?

  130. the truth hurts I obviously know my history better than you

  131. Anonymous at 23.47: If you knew your history or indeed had any education you would not write as you do. Seriously I feel for you you build a big monumant to your ignorance. Read more, get out more.

  132. Tin Tin ..... 11 June 2010 11:43

    I have just read your post of the above date, and if you have Dyslexia I must have Dysgraphia for I have been unable to get my point across. The keyword was INSPITE.

    When the GSLP was in power the Roman Catholic Church was treated with the maximum respect as were all other faiths (as it should be)inspite of all the scaremongering that had been doing the rounds before the elections.
    I have found,that believing in God does not make you a better person. There are many atheist who show more love, respect, tolerance and compassion than some of my fellow Roman Catholics.
    You are right in one thing, and that is, that there are greater issues regarding minorities here in Gib which are not being tackled or talked about, also psychological abuse of children which if you dare to talk about you get served with a lawsuit.

  133. Max -

    If you can show me exactly where I called you a racist, part of the KKK, or even a Homophobe I will totally refrain from calling you a militant atheist.

    A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. As far as I know the RC church does not fear homosexuals let alone have an irrational fear of them. Neither do they have an irrational dislike towards homosexuals. There is rational thinking behind their dislike towards the homosexual act and lifestyle (as Yani clearly pointed out). I am glad that Yani quickly pointed out that it is in fact the Evangelicals who believe in the rapture, I therefore suggest you have a quick read before making wild allegations which have been commonplace in this forum.
    I am hugely surprised at your question number 4 directed at Yani asking whether she agreed/condoned the behaviour of "countless pedophile priests". This is getting embarrassing now Max. However I have come to the conclusion that your infamous generalisations are not made out of malice but merely out of stupidity. I sincerely suggest that you never tell anyone about who you are in this forum, nor engage in a religious debate with anyone because your assertions are comparable in ridiculousness to the brainwashed beliefs of those under the control of the "dear leader".

  134. I agree with Orwell, Max is making an immense fool of himself (almost, but not quite as ridiculous as the anonymous poster who confessed that he only had a few grains of grey matter). Read the Gospels Max (and the guy with little grey matter)and you will be amazed at how shallow your critisms of Christianity have been. At best you might realise that Christianity works for you, at worst you will be able to base your arguments on facts and not atheistic post marxist dumbed down gobbledegook.

  135. Max -

    "But I am guilty as charged of provoking religious fundamentalists into a real debate"

    Your having a laugh aren't you?
    If by "real" you mean "unfounded assumption" and by "debate" you mean "generalizing and stereotyping" then yes you are guilty as charged!!!

  136. Orwell...I thought you had gone on holiday or something...Welcome back!!

    In one of your previous 'sermons' that was directed at me you refer to homophobia, racism and Grand Imperial Wizards (KKK if i'm not mistaken!!)in what I believe was an attempt to suggest that I could potentially be any of those if need be. In my book (not the good one!) that is an indirect accusation and I stand by what I said before.

    I really can't begin to understand what the difference is between (and to quote you)..

    "A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. As far as I know the RC church does not fear homosexuals let alone have an irrational fear of them. Neither do they have an irrational dislike towards homosexuals. There is rational thinking behind their dislike towards the homosexual act and lifestyle (as Yani clearly pointed out)."

    Well if that isn't homophobia then I don't know what is!! You seriously appear to be seeking to defend the indefensible on his one!!

    Oh, and the Evangelicals! I don't know anything about the 'Rapture', and am not particularly interested, but copied and pasted that quote as it referred to 'God's elect people' of which I'm sure you are one!!....Max

  137. Orwell.....Enlighten me...Who is "dear leader" ???????????????...Max

  138. Dear Orwel....
    Could you please be more explicit as to whom you call the "dear leader" and enlighten us out here, to whom you atribute the power of brainwashing and controlling fellow human beings, also elucidate us on those "beliefs". I just love to collect. FACTS?????

  139. Dear All,

    I really think this is all getting to personal.


  140. LW....Agreed....It has certainly become far too personal.I am perhaps guilty of rising to provocation...Max

  141. LW....
    It might have become personal between Max and Orwel but that does not detract from the fact that insinuations have been made and some of us out here would like to know to whom is he refering, that is Orwel, "dear leader" "brain washing" "control" quite strong words to use. With all due respect LW I would still like Orwell to answer not to Max but to some of us out there.

  142. Feldwebbel: I have read all the entries carefully and conclude that Max and others have been completely routed in their debate with Orwell. Orwell does not come across at all like a religious fundamentalist but those arguing against him seem to promote shallow arguments that they have not thought through carefuly enough or are incapable of articulating. I have been an atheist since I was 14 but reading this forum makes me wish that we had our own Orwell. I now understand why Catholicism is the largest religion in the world. I am appalled that in 21st century Gibraltar we cannot come up with an intelligent denunciation of Catholic superstition. Surely the Catholics don't have a monoploy of intelligence and debating techniques. Where is the Llanito Dawkins??????

  143. Feldwebbel....With all due respect, your post is totally contradictory and I doubt your supposed atheist credentials.

    Why do you wish we "had our own Orwell"...because he's your friend ? or you are Orwell in disguise?

    I'm sorry but you are far from believeable....Max

  144. Feldwebbel....I assume you are referring to Richard Dawkins? Since you are obviously more intelligent? articulate? etc than me....the stage is yours...Max

  145. Dear Max, No I was referring to Manolito Dawkins the cook in the Sal y Sol chiringuito. He makes excellent pescaito frito.Do you know it?Regards, Feldwebbel

  146. Feldwebbel..... I believe that there is more to Orwell's post than the rantings of a religious fanatic (which I like you believe he is not). Orwell is attributing questionable methods of persuasion to somebody he calls 'dear leader'.
    Orwell is a pseudonym which he is perfectly entitled to use like I do mine and you yours, but at least he should have the courage, to, under the protection of his pseudonym say what he means, but let us be clear this has nothing to do with religion his attack is political. Orwell gives a lot away in his posts to anybody who cares to see.

  147. Never been there before, but as you recommend it I will give it a try!!!....Max

  148. Max -
    I didn't realise you needed credentials to be an atheist. In fact if i'm not mistaken all that is needed to be an atheist is a lack of belief in something. Credentials imply that you have some special knowledge or authority. In this case you have "knowledge" of nothing sic the credentials for atheism are the same as for ignorance. And no I am not Feldwebbel. I am Orwell. Fu i

    Spirit -
    *sigh* I was referring to - in my knowledge - the only living person who has an imperial cult following. Brainwashing takes place everyday by convincing the youth that both the "great leader" and the "dear leader" were placed on a mountain and transformed into human beings (sounds a bit like scientology).
    The controlling take the form of deciding when aid comes in for the starving and by killing or imprisoning anyone who tries to flee the state or shows any antipathy towards the state or the "dear leader" Kim Jong Il. Is that enough facts for you? You know all of this was just a click away.
    My point was that Max's ideas are as ridiculous as those of the people in North Korea in relation to their "dear leader".
    Next time I shall try to use simpler language for your benefit.

    RV/LW - I thought that there weren't going to be any more comments permitted. What happened?

  149. Orwell.......Fu i?....That is the biggest give away ever that you know exactly who I am!!

    I am rapidly coming around to agreeing with Spirit's views on you.All that 'pseudo-intellectual' nonsense you attempt to impress everyone with is nothing more than a charade!

    I call a spade a spade and tell it how I see it, and always will. I am now beginning to understand why you have sought to provoke me on a regular basis!!....Fu i...aka Max!!!

  150. I have greatly enjoyed Orwell's intelligent contributions on this blog and gope to hear from him in other fori. He is bound to raise the level of debate. well done Orwy!

  151. Felwebbel aka German Sergeant: 16 june 22:59

    The largest of the Christian religions is the Roman Catholic, but there are many other religions which are none christian which have more followers than Roman Catholicism. We all know that the number of believers does not mean that the religious teachings are correct.
    When most of Europe was Roman Catholic they almost burned Galileo for saying that the earth went round the sun.

    Orwell...... 18 June 13:23

    No one knows what goes on inside North Korea, so you must have very special contacts to know what Kim Jong 1 "dear leader" tell the nations youth every morning, but, if your sources tells you that the message in a communist athist state, is that it's "dear leader" and his daddy "great leader" were placed on a mountain by an unknown entity and transformed into human beings, (it sounds familiar)it sounds more like a religious sect that the communist party. Could your sources be wrong?
    Also, I appreciate your concern for those of us who do not have your high intellect and need simpler language. By the way, you didn't bump into the great leader on the mountain by any chance?

  152. Anon 11.08....Yes Orwy (?) is indeed a super intellect. So honest, transparent and above all ....Cut!!! That's what you Feldwebbel and Orwy (if you aren't the Holy Trinity roled into one) would have us believe!!....Fu i...aka Max

  153. Anon @ 23:01 is mistaken because the Roman Catholic (excluding other Christians) religion is the largest in the world follwed by Islam but that does not mean that Catholicism has the answer to all the problems and you tried to burn Galileo, so there. Well done Max for your hilarious joke have you ever thought fo stand up comedy as a profession?

  154. Anon 19.03....Never had given it much thought! I'm not as intelligent as Orwy so I would invite you to explain what it is you find so funny!....Fu i...aka Max

  155. Anon @ 19:03......
    I am not mistaken, Islam has surpassed Roman Cathlicism as the world largest religion. I happen to be quoting Monsignor Vittorio Formenti who gave an interview to the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatori Romano. Monsignor Formenti compiles the Vatican Yearbook. He said that catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population - while muslims were at 19.2 percent. FACT.

  156. Max -
    Please have some dignity! Pseudo intellectual?? Do you even know the meaning of the word? I think Nicholas Rescher's definition of pseudo philosophy (used in the OED) defines you entirely. Also Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On the Basis of Morality' the criticism on Hegel (can be found on Wikipedia). Have a look! Also please provide some reasoning as to why you think what I say is a "charade".

    I only found out who you were before typing my last post courtesy of Facebook - it looks like all the worry regarding the privacy issues was not a joke.
    I found your comments on the facebook Llanito world group. I still don't know who you are, I only know your name. If you remember this started off with you stereotyping the educational establishment as being full of religious fundamentalists, not because of Who you are. This is not personal. I did however enjoy your three in one joke, but no I am not anon, and neither am I Feldwebbel.

    Spirit -
    Don't mistake your own incandescent ignorance with what "anyone" else knows. What I mentioned earlier is known thanks to the countless brave defectors who have successfully fled North Korea to China (30,000+), to South Korea a.k.a "Bukhanitalchumin", Russia (10,000 approx), Japan, Mongolia and the Phillipines. Despite the irregularity which you point out I would much rather side with the real life first hand experiences of the North Koreans than with Marxist theories.
    Also I would like to point out Re: your comment directed to anon - "I am not ... 19.2%". Unfortunately Islam branches off into different beliefs - as does Christianity - like Sunni, Shi'ite, Sufism etc. So perhaps (I have not looked into it) Roman Catholicism is still the largest.

  157. Orwell....
    Oscar Wilde once said "Give a man a mask and he'll show you his true self"
    Insults are are the tools of weak people, it shows that your arguments lack logic and that you lack the ability to mount a defendable position. The occasional barb is ok, but your exchange with Max deteriorated into an exchange of insults provoked by you. You will not provoke me by calling me ignorant.
    A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.
    BY the way I passed on your message to the Vatican so that they can correct Monsignor Formenti.
    Goodbye Orwell.

  158. Orwell....Even in your more 'conciliatory'last post you can't resist having a dig.

    To be totally honest I have never heard of Rescher or Schopenhauer, nor am I really bothered !

    North Korea is not a country I have ever taken much interest in but I do know they lost 7-0 to Portugal today!!!!!!

    We are very different in many more ways than our religious beliefs, or lack of them!! I think this particular debate has just about run it's course, don't you?....Max