A Belfast-based Catholic bishop has criticised opponents of faith-based education for portraying its supporters as social "luddites" and divisive bigots.
Dr Donal McKeown also said that media descriptions of recent criminal attacks as ''sectarian'' reinforce those who want to banish religion from education.
He speculated that most of the attacks were based on perceived political rather than theological differences.
Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr McKeown made his remarks last night in Belfast's Church of Ireland Cathedral.
He was speaking at a ceremony marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
He urged the churches to continue to prioritise working together to ensure access to explicitly faith-based education in Northern Ireland.
He said that some had accused faith-based schooling of dividing Christians and turning them into violent bigots.
He also accepted the right of people of no religious convictions to a secular education.