Charles_ClarkeThe former Labour Education Secretary Charles Clarke has called on the government to legislate to have the state determine the religious content of all teaching in all schools in Britain whether private or state, denominational or not. I heard him propose this on the Today Programme a few days ago. He sounded oh so reasonable and the sweeping and draconian nature of his proposals was glossed over by both ‘statesman’ and interviewer. It is not surprising that Mr Clarke should seek to wipe out Christian education as he has already advocated the airbrushing of Christendom from the minds of the nation’s students. This is the man who said the concept of education for its own sake is “a bit dodgy” and that Mediaeval history should not be funded in universities. The university exists, his then official spokesman explained, “to enable the British economy and society to deal with the challenges posed by the increasingly rapid process of global change.” It is interesting that it was Mediaeval history that particularly revolted Mr Clarke. In this week when we are supposed to be remembering the liberties established by our mediaeval Catholic forebears it is fitting that this particularly banal representative of modernity should manifest the contempt in which freedom is ultimately held by him and his kind. The thirteenth century, the apogee of Christendom is the century that gave us universal isonomia – liberty under the rule of law. It is particularly interesting that the parliamentary system of government, which inherited the liberties of Runnymede is a transposition of the Constitutions of the Order of Preachers. It is often forgotten that the First English Parliament of 1258 wasmagnacarta summoned by Simon de Montfort who knew St Dominic personally and met in Blackfriars Oxford. The author of parliamentary democracy is thus also the apostle of the Rosary and the founder of the Holy Inquisition. Stephen Cardinal Langton Archbishop of Canterbury and probably the author of the Magna Carta (who imposed obedience to the Charter upon all Englishmen under pain of excommunication in 1225) is also responsible for the chapter divisions in the Bible, the elevation of the Host and Chalice at Mass and the Golden Sequence. No wonder an atheist like Clarke doesn’t want us studying Mediaeval history. Were we not ignorant of our history we might chose to repeat it.

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