There has been a heated public debate on the rise and devastating effects of sectarianism and bigotry among the citizens of the United Kingdom with more emphasis on Scotland and Northern Ireland. In some quarters, it is believed that sectarianism and bigotry have been an age long phenomenon which has escalated to its modern diversified manifestation. Some people are even of the opinion that each generation has a way of manifesting this “division” in all facets of life among the citizenry. However, it would be pertinent to understand the terms under examination and to critically evaluate its existence in the society under survey. This is to be done against the background of the claim that denominational schools are the “real” cause of sectarianism and bigotry in the Scotland. The government role and strategies are also to be considered.
Sectarianism is understood to mean the characteristic of a sect and adhering to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan, while bigotry connotes a stubborn and complete intolerance of any belief or opinion that differs from one’s own. Individual opinions are as old as humanity, and individuals cannot exist in an isolation of their opinions as they are guided by their orientation and background: culture, education and belief. These variables influences on human beings manifest more strongly while facing another with different experiences. Sigmund Freud in his psychological approach explores in details how differently we are made of; with each person possessing unique personality and temperaments. This “uniqueness” could conflict with learnt experiences. However, the essence of learning is not only to acquire knowledge, but also to expose how little one knows. With the advancement of academic specialisation, the stage is set for speedy progress, yet not without its modern challenges of limited knowledge (specialisation in one’s own field). As such education leads to civilisation which enhances development of human person and society.
However, with the steady progress of civilisation and the development of human society, the identification of the keynotes influence on people’s interactive tendencies in society has been narrowed down as belief (religion) and state (politics). Many democratic governments (democracies) in the world have separated these two entities with the intention to pave way in fostering co-existence of persons with diversified opinions and religious faith, consequently securing a stabilised society. In the most recent times, in spite of “non- union” of the two institutions, Scottish government has been burdened with the increase of the sectarianism and bigotry which has ravaged the society and has affected many people, old and young alike.. The sectarian tendencies have been identified in some public places like schools, football stadium, marches and parades, and even in the places of work where it is anticipated that people should work like a family with a common front. In some cases the bigotry has escalated to real fight and violence with ugly resultant effects: wounding or murdering of some people. Scotland is a widely acclaimed Christian society whose main tenet is to love and to live in total harmony with one another. Majority of the schools in Scotland are owned by the denominational faith or by the government where it is assumed that the moral and ethical values should be inculcated into the lives of the students there-by helping in forming their character and conscience in preparation for taking over the leadership of the country and other managerial positions. On the contrary, the denominational schools are being accused of being one the perpetrators of sectarianism and bigotry in the society which are devouring the very fabric of this country. John Downie, a director of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation argues in a blog on the (SCVO)