Resolving Conflicts Between Religion And Politics

1210 words - 5 pages

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. Eventually the disputes were
consolidated to Northern Ireland. Factors such as class struggle and
politics became further entwined in this web. In Ireland, two distinct
groups eventually emerged. There was the lower class that supported
nationalism and the freedom of Ireland, and the upper class
(unionists) that supported the “union” of England and Ireland.

In general, the English and upper classes are Protestant, and the
lower class nationalists are Roman Catholic; however religion does not
play a direct role in the conflict. It does, however, have some effect
on the constant struggles between the two groups. For example, the
fighting is not due to a disagreement over religious beliefs. Religion
has, however, played a major role in distinguishing one class or group
from the other, and both religious groups, especially the Roman
Catholics have been persecuted for their religion.

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, we must ask
ourselves one question. “If religion were absent, would the fighting
still exist?” In the case of Northern Ireland it most certainly would.
This is why we can say that religion does not play a direct role in
the conflict. We can’t say, however, that it has no effect on the
politics that surround the issue. The mix of church and state in the
conflict is inevitable due to the strong religious values that each
side of the conflict abides by. 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...

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