a Plural Society The Values, Attitudes and Practices of Churches in Protecting
is changing. We are experiencing an increase in social diversity
in terms of ethnicity, religion and sexual identity. We are
emerging out of a paradigm of sectarian division between two
populations into a society that now recognises the presence
of minority populations. With this recognition comes responsibility.
This research report is concerned with the responses and responsibilities
of Christian churches in Northern Ireland, who together form
a majority population, towards members of minority populations.
a free copy please email Helen
Smith or contact the office on 028 90325258
in a Plural Society
This project is
exploring how Catholic and Protestant Churches are responding
to Northern Ireland's increasing social diversity, specifically
in relation to ethnicity, religion and sexual identity.
Church members and
adherents are a majority population in Northern Ireland and
their faith informs how they understand and respond to diversity.
This research includes an examination of religious and civic
values, a survey of attitudes and activities of clergy, ministers
and pastors and their congregations, and in-depth interviews
with church leaders and members.
The project runs
from February 2007 to May 2008. If you would be interested
in talking to us about your experiences of diversity please
Porter or Anna
Rankin, tel: 028 90325258
The project has produced
a paper that explores current understandings of core civic
concepts alongside key religious ideas that inform Christian
approaches to society. The paper, Engaging Values: Understanding
Civic and Christian Approaches to Society, considers three
civic concepts of equality, human rights, and tolerance before
turning attention to three Christian religious concepts of
human personhood, social justice and truth. These are all
terms that can evoke strong emotion and energetic discussion
in Northern Ireland. Engaging Values suggests that
it may be more helpful to think less in terms of a clash
of values between civic society and Christian religion and
more in terms of different ways of seeing the world. Church
and civic society use different lenses to look at the same
reality. The task of this paper is to help us have some focus
through both sets of lenses.
with the past
The Northern Ireland
Affairs Committee (NIAC) is currently looking at "ways
of dealing with the past which recognise the pain, grief and
anger associated with it" in order to "build a better
future for the next generation." The Centre has produced
extensive work on forgiveness and, building on this, has made
a response to NIAC as part of our ongoing interest and contribution
to this area.
Equality is a crucial
topic in Northern Ireland, especially in efforts to build
an inclusive society. The UK government is working at formulating
a Single Equality Bill and the Centre has contributed to the
consultation process, maintaining an active interest in the
issue and its progress.
Summary of the
Response to the Single Equality Bill Consultation, Ben Walker
The Centre has published
several papers on Human Rights, especially pertaining to the
process of formulating a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland
and the concept of a shared future. We are currently working
on funding for a substantial Human Rights project.