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In order to examine how religion plays a role in the violence that occurs in the state of Northern Ireland, we must first look at one aspect: The separation of church and state. When we look at an issue that involves two groups with different religions

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Introduction

Investigate the potential for resolving conflicts between religion and politics The use of conflict to try and resolve political, religious or cultural differences has existed for centuries, Violence and the State are still two prevailing issues in our world today. It is often assumed that violence and fighting occurs between peoples of very different nationalities or cultures; that there differences are too great for there to ever be peace or compromise. This, however, is not the case; it is people with the most similar backgrounds that have the hardest time agreeing. This is the situation in Northern Ireland. The Anglo-Irish conflict in Northern Ireland is a complex web that involves a struggle between classes, government power, and religion. This conflict began before the 18th century when Ireland was ruled and governed by the British until a heightened sense of Irish nationalism arose. The Irish people wanted freedom from the British government and the independence to rule themselves. ...read more.

Middle

This point can be illustrated by republican hunger strike that occurred in Northern Ireland in 1981when men who served in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), were taken prisoners under the British rule as terrorists and were sentenced under criminal charges. The men refused to recognise the British Court System and insisted that they be held as prisoners of war, since they considered themselves to be soldiers fighting to preserve their country from foreign rule. The situation created disorder amongst lower class Irish Catholics who resided in Northern Ireland; wall murals in the Catholic ghettos portrayed the suffering of the hunger strikers in imagery that evoked the death of Christ; catholic clergy made similar comparisons before and during the hunger strike. Catholic priests, Bishops, and Cardinals became very influential in the protest. They were the only people allowed in the prisons in order to provide services and administer Holy Communion to the prisoners. ...read more.

Conclusion

This however, is not always the case. Not every Catholic is a radical republican and not every protestant is a Unionists. Religion, however, has been used to persecute and discriminate against. The numbers of innocent Irish Catholics, who have been arrested and penalised by the British system because they are assumed to be militant protestors, are immeasurable. The Irish saw Catholiscm as a way to express their identity and preserve their goals towards individual liberty, the English could never interpret Catholiscm as anything other than the enemy of liberty. In conclusion, violence and religion are two terms that are unfortunately very hard to separate. The shocking thing about the situation in Northern Ireland is that both sides of the dispute are Christian traditions. There is no doctrine or rule in either denomination of Christianity that calls for such violence. Christianity is supposed to be a religion that fosters peace and forgiveness. For peace to exist within religion, the UK would have to be run as a theocracy, however, this will never work as globalisation takes hold and multiculturalism and multiethnicity look to break barriers but fail. (1220) ...read more.

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