The Scottish Secular Society are tying themselves in knots over my recent article in the Scotsman – yesterday there were four letters in the Scotsman attacking me – today The Scotsman printed the response below.
It was interesting to read four letters published in The Scotsman (20 November) accusing me of false witness and of being an extremist religious theocrat etc.
I stand completely by the comments that the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) is an anti-religious organisation that uses the guise of secularism as a cover for its anti-religious programme.
Anyone looking at its Facebook page will note that the vast majority of the threads are attacking and mocking religion (this week, for example you get one of their Scotsman letter writers saying of me: “He won’t be happy until a militant fundi atheist crucifies him outside his beloved Dens Park”).
The fact that a handful of members profess to be religious is of no more significance than the fact that some members of the BNP are non-white. It is interesting that SSS wants to create an “open democratic process” by banning the things it doesn’t agree with. Orwell would have been proud.
In its petition to the Scottish Parliament SSS was unable to provide one example of “creationism” being taught in science classes in Scottish schools.
Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, writing to the Scottish Parliament in response to the SSS petition, has also accused the society of using “inflammatory rhetoric”.
They are indeed using this issue as a Trojan Horse to try and exclude Christianity from public education.
Speaking of false accusations, let me point out that I do not seek church control over schools, I do not want religion taught as science, nor do I ask that my church be allowed to indoctrinate all with our beliefs.
I do, however, ask that we be allowed to express those beliefs in public, in politics and in education; and that we have the right, according to the UN charter of human rights, to have our children educated according to those beliefs – a right which SSS seeks to remove. Personal abuse and claims of “misrepresentation” don’t take away from facts.
Just because I refuse to bow before the secularist faith does not mean I should be crucified.
Meanwhile the following report appears in todays Herald. What is interesting is it shows how Secular Scotland work. Yesterday they could hardly contain their excitement – we have something big breaking tomorrow….can’t tell you its so exciting….we all waited with bated breath and then (drum roll now needed) today it arrived – “Mr Robertson has delivered sermons at the Cartsbridge Evangelical Church, in East Renfrewshire, where Mr Cunningham is a member…..Mr Fildes said: “We are aghast at the news that Mr Robertson has publicly targeted our society in sermons at Mr Cunningham’s Cartsbridge Church and it is equally incredulous to learn that Mr Noble preaches there.” I have spoken once at Cartsbridge Evangelical church – I have not delivered ‘sermons’ at Cartsbridge. And I did not target the Scottish Secular Society. I was speaking about how we proclaim the Gospel in secular Scotland today (meaning the nation – I don’t equate the tiny SSS with Scotland!) – you can hear the sermon here – http://cartsbridgechurch.com/sermons/?sermon_id=253
I mentioned them once during the sermon as a noisy minority, contrasting their activity with the churches inactivity and suggesting that we should pray for them. But Mr Fildes is ‘aghast’. I speak in many different churches every year. The notion that I have spoken in the same church as Mr Cunningham means nothing. I don’t know Mr Cunningham and as far as I know have never spoken to him. But such is the anti-religious paranoia of SSS that they engage in this kind of McCarthyite witchhunt – its not ‘reds under the bed’ but ‘Christians under the bed’. Its both amusing and pathetic that they somehow think my preaching at a church in which someone who critiqued them attends is somehow evidence of a great conspiracy!
The Herald report is below.
EDUCATION CORRESPONDENT MOVES to ban the study of creationism in Scottish schools have been criticised as “dangerous” by headteachers.
The attack came after the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for new government guidance on the issue.
The society believes schools should not be allowed to present the belief that the universe originates from acts of divine creation as a viable alternative to established science.
However, Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland (SLS), which represents secondary headteachers, said schools were fully aware of the need to protect pupils from “extremist” views.
In a letter to Holyrood’s public petitions committee he said banning the teaching of a particular topic would set a dangerous precedent.
“We do not feel this is a serious issue for schools, despite the inflammatory rhetoric frequently used by the petitioners,” the letter states.
“Speaking on behalf of secondary schools, we feel there are enough checks and balances KEN CUNNINGHAM: Schools aware of ‘extremist’ views already within the system to prevent extremist views being perpetrated.
“It is, we feel, always dangerous to identify particular views, whatever they be, and take the approach that is being suggested here.”
The intervention was welcomed by Rev David Robertson, the next Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.
He said: “This demonstrates the SSS are simply trying to scaremonger and we hope our MSPs have the sense not to give in.”
However, Spencer Fildes, chairman of the SSS, said creationist organisations were already attempting “with some success” to penetrate schools.
He went on to question whether the views expressed in the SLS submission were those of Mr Cunningham because of connections his church has with the Free Church of Scotland.
Mr Robertson has delivered sermons at the Cartsbridge Evangelical Church, in East Renfrewshire, where Mr Cunningham is a member.
Creationist advocate Alastair Noble, from the Centre for Intelligent Design, has also preached there – and was a former field officer for SLS.
Mr Fildes said: “We are aghast at the news that Mr Robertson has publicly targeted our society in sermons at Mr Cunningham’s Cartsbridge Church and it is equally incredulous to learn that Mr Noble preaches there.
“We believe Mr Cunningham is making a mockery of parliamentary procedure by not disclosing his clear connections with creationists giving sermons at his church.”
Last night, Mr Cunningham dismissed any suggestion the letter to the committee did not represent the views of the teaching union.
He said it reflected the official position of SLS after discussion with the organisation’s presidential team, comprising four serving headteachers.
“The letter was sent as a result of an official request for further information from the Scottish Parliament and reflects the views of the organisation,” he added.
“At no time does it pass judgement on the merits or otherwise of creationism, but raises only the view that professional school staff are best-placed to deal with all such issues.”
The SSS petition was lodged after it emerged members of a US pro-creationist religious sect had been working as classroom assistants at a primary school in East Kilbride.
In England and Wales the teaching of creationism as scientific theories is prohibited in schools.
Finally and somewhat amusingly its a good job that SSS don’t teach maths in Scotlands schools. Both on their FB page and the Scotsman letters comments page they make some very basic errors – ie. “Since they insist on counting, Gordon Bell cant even count. .01% of Scotland’s 5.5 million is 55,000 which is about 5.5 times the Wee Free adherents in Scotland (circa 10,000) So it isnt .01 more like .002%..” And this from a man who called me the Idiot Designate! I love the fact that the following exchange is on their FB page –
I sense he will respond angrily tomorrow to the inacruracy of the letter, where Leslie claimed DAR represents 0.01 % of Scotland’s faith population. Seems Leslie has been over generous, as the figure is actually 0.001%. You missed a ‘0’ out there. I can imagine DAR will pounce on that. lol
– What are your workings for that result, Steffy?
5.295 million people who are scotland’s population -vs- 5,400 communicant members of the Free Church of Scotland
– 5,400 divided by 5,295,000. Simples
What is even funnier is that several SSS members ‘like’ these posts although they are obviously mathematically illiterate. Just to help them. 0.01% of 5,250,000 is 525. 0.001% is 52. The Free Church actually now has around 15,000 members and adherents – which is 0.3% of the population. Perhaps I am being unkind – perhaps SSS were referring to their own membership – which is much nearer the 0.001%! Anyway how ironic that SSS in expressing their concern about the possibility of educational dumbing down, demonstrate great evidence of that dumbing down!