The announcement of Northern Ireland's first integrated Irish language preschool was enthusiastically received and soon its 16 places were filled by, among others, the children of mixed — Catholic and Protestant — marriages.
But a hate campaign against the naíscoil and its founder, Linda Ervine, quickly emerged on social media and on lampposts, driving her to consider moving it from the grounds of a primary school to protect the children.
A Protestant, Ervine is a dedicated Unionist — she identifies as British and hopes that her birthplace will always remain part of the United Kingdom, as it has been since its creation in 1921.
"It's been tough, it's been depressing, it's been very stressful for all of us," she said of the bullying and intimidation. "The idea that somebody would deny me the right to speak Irish because I'm a Protestant and tell me that I'm doing something wrong, is some form of insanity."
Click here for background on the integrated education that some parents and teachers in Northern Ireland believe would help young Catholics and Protestants to forge relationships to cement the gains of the peace process.
In his latest column, NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters writes about the National Catholic Bioethics Center's continued foolish defense of "vaccine hesitancy" and the center's flirtation with the idea that there are well-grounded moral reasons to object to getting the vaccine.
The center's most recent statement says it notes "with great sadness the increasingly heated rhetoric and even violence associated with the vaccine mandate debates."
"You know what makes me sad? Watching people die from COVID-19 unnecessarily because culture warriors insist that the vaccines are morally compromised because of a very remote connection to an abortion that happened decades ago," Winters writes.
"No one, so far as I know, is arguing that people who do not want to get vaccinated should be strapped to a gurney and given a vaccine against their will," Winters later states. "What many of us are arguing is that if you want to continue to participate in our society, to dine in common spaces, learn or teach at schools, work in a shared office space, you need to show sufficient respect for the health of your co-workers, and sufficient self-respect, that you get vaccinated against the deadly threat to all."
Catch up on Winters' first column calling out the National Catholic Bioethics Center for choosing to engage the culture wars over Catholic theology.
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In a new column, Rebecca Collins Jordan says that amid rising hospitalizations and wildfire smoke, our current times call for action that builds community.
At EarthBeat, read about a recent workshop that pointed to the rise in flood events in Charleston, South Carolina, where development has replaced critical marshlands with waterfront properties in one of the country's fastest-growing cities.
ICYMI: Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese writes about the U.S. making the same mistakes in Afghanistan as it did in Vietnam. "In Vietnam, we saw every insurgent as part of a worldwide communist conspiracy against the United States. In Afghanistan, we saw every Taliban as a terrorist who wanted to attack the United States," he says. "In both countries we ignored the deep resentment of their populations to foreign occupation."