This is the text of a short article I wrote for CARE- Scotland. You can get the alternative point of view from my friend Dr Alaister Noble here as well –
Can a Christian vote for Independence?
Many Christians are understandably concerned about the possibility of Scotland voting for independence. We are concerned about the economics, the politics and the increased uncertainty in a world of increasing uncertainty, but as Christians our concerns are far deeper. We know that ‘sin is a reproach to any people’ and ‘righteousness exalts a nation’. What if Scotland leaves ‘Christian’ Britain and becomes Secular Scotland? One man at Keswick was heard to opine about yours truly ‘he seems such an intelligent and sensible Christian man, I can’t believe he would be for independence”. I offer the following as my personal opinion, not as the opinion of the Free Church or Solas, or even more importantly as the opinion of the bible. I am inclined towards voting ‘yes’ because of the following reasons:
1) Britain is past its sell by date – The United Kingdom was formed on the basis of the Empire, Protestantism and capitalism. Capitalism has triumphed but the other two reasons have gone. I am particularly concerned that the Christian foundation of Britain has been removed and we will not long have the fruits once the roots have gone.
2) We should govern ourselves – There is a basic principle of self-determination. Scotland should be governed from Scotland.
3) Scotland is a wealthy nation –A great deal of the argument is about oil but there are many other factors involved as well. Scotland is a small country with just over 5 million people. We have substantial resources in agriculture, industry, education, whisky, fishing, renewable energy, commerce and the arts. We are an inventive and creative people.
4) Social, economic and political justice – I believe that in a smaller nation with a strong democratic tradition, and less dependence on the City of London and Big Business, there is a greater prospect of a more just and equal society.
5) The Church will have more influence in an independent Scotland –Isn’t the Scottish parliament an institution that wants to distance itself from Scotland’s Christian past? It’s a moot point whether the UK or Scotland is going downhill quicker, but the fact is that they both are. Indeed they have descended at such a speed that I think we have to say that Christendom has gone. I am very concerned at some of the statements and actions coming from the Scottish Parliament in general and Alex Salmond in particular. But then I am equally concerned at what comes out of Westminster and David Cameron. Besides which voting for independence is not voting for a particular political party or leader.
I believe it will be easier for the Church and Christians to have a say in a society which is not centred on the worship of Mammon (the City of London), and which is a lot smaller. I certainly feel far more connected to Holyrood than Westminster. An independent Scotland will mean a new beginning. And the Church should be in there from the beginning seeking to be salt and light.
PS. Here is the best analysis of the current situation I have come across in Scotland – from my old University colleague and now BBC journalist – Allan Little.