Ethics Newspaper Letters

Secularists Shocked that Christian Organisation Employs Christian Manager!

Shocking News That Christian Organisation wants to Employ Christian Manager!

The following letter appeared in The Scotsman on Tuesday 21st  July

We were shocked to learn that a Dundee-based food bank charity run by the Trussell Trust has advertised a £24,000-a-year job insisting the role MUST go to a “committed Christian”.We fail to see why Christian belief or lack of it would in any way effect someone’s ability to take this job.Imagine the religious outcry if a similar position were to demand only non-religious candidates!Why do some Christians continue to believe that they uniquely are exempt from equality legislation?

 Neil Barber
Edinburgh Secular Society
The following response was published the next day: and a similar in The Courier on the 23rd-

Neil Barber of the Edinburgh Secular Society (Letters, 21 July) “fails to see” why a Christian food bank advertises for a manager who is a Christian.While I don’t think that society should be governed by the Secular Society’s inability to see the blindingly obvious, perhaps you will allow an attempt to bring light.

The Dundee food bank is part of the Trussell Trust, which provides for tens of thousands of people in need in Dundee and throughout the country. They do so regardless of religion, social status etc.But it is a Christian organisation that gets much of its support and volunteers from the churches. The manager is required to represent the food bank to those churches and speak at services etc, therefore it is perfectly legal and acceptable for it to ask that the manager be a Christian.

 If the Secular Society were advertising for a manager they would of course have a “closed shop policy” and advertise for someone who was a secularist and agreed with their aims.Those of us who don’t share their aims would not be shocked and fail to see why we were not able to apply.
If the secularists object to Christians running food banks they are perfectly free to start one of their own.This seems to be the pattern – Christians set up a trust to feed the poor, no matter their background, in accordance with what our faith instructs us to do, and the militant secularists attack the Christians for daring to express our faith in this practical way.

It is petty and vindictive and indicates precisely the difference between the Christian churches, who act upon their faith, and the secular faith, which spends all its time attacking others.

David Robertson

Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland

St Peters Free Church



  1. In Australia we put what is called a mueli on a fishing hook, we then throw the line into the water and then catch some really big fish. The big fish love this bait fish we use called mueli. I would suggest our secularists friends who write into the paper to attempt to disrupt, annoy and waste everyones time perhaps find another mueli for us to bite on that may be worth biting on. What a pathetic, petty, time wasting attempt by Neil barbour, which really should not surprise anyone as it a desperate attempt by Neil. Attempts like this by Neil Barbour remind me of two things. It reminds me of reading the childish low level garbage that Richard Dawkins uses to convert and gain disciples with. It also reminds me that Neil Barbour is no different to me in the fact that the Lord had to remove the salve from my eyes in order that I would see my sin and realise in order for there to be any form of justice, I needed the glorious risen Chirst as my saviour to save me from death, judgement and Hell – Neil Barbours pathetic wrtie up in the Scotsman only proves to me that only the Lord can open the blind eyes and that only the spirit of the living God can awakwn Neil barbour so he may pass from the death to life.

  2. I thought you were all about inclusion? I wouldn’t care if my local Secular Society was run by a Christian if he or she did their best to promote the mission.
    I also don’t care if the person handing me my drivers license isn’t a licensed driver, and I don’t care if the doctor prescribing my pills isn’t a pill manufacturer, and I wouldn’t care that my favorite baseball player is a fan of another team.
    I care about results.
    Christians, and particularly David Robertson, seem to care what people think and do in the own home and heads – and like typical teens – want to create cliques and clubs with “no gays allowed” or “no secularists allowed” or “no girls allowed in leadership roles.”

    Again the childishness of religion rears its ugly head.

    1. Brent – you are missing the point… you think that your local secular society should be run by a non-secularist? (there are secularists who are Christians). Once you answer that question you will begin to get the point….

      1. I addressed it. I wouldn’t care as long as the person performed their job well. I don’t care if they are trans-sexual, gay, Christian Buddhist Fascists.

        Actions are more important than privately held beliefs.

        It’s something you guys can’t let go. You want everyone to conform to your narrow view.

      2. Let me try again…are you saying that you would be happy for someone who was not a secularist to be appointed the leader of the secular society (and thus be the person responsible for promoting it in the media and elsewhere?)?

        Interesting that you think that Christianity is a ‘privately held belief’ – you wish!

        Even more interesting that you think that actions are more important – indeed they are…so why do you criticise a Christian group for acting to feed the poor and make no comment on the fact that no secularist groups do the same thing. Are their actions not more important?

        And the irony in your last comment is delicious. You come on to a Christian blog continually to moan and attack us – why? Just because we don’t conform to your narrow view!

      3. I have been clear. I’d be repeating myself 3 times. Re-read, David.

        And, you are factually wrong that there are no secular groups feeding the poor.

        But then, making claims you don’t care are true or not is your bag, isn’t it?

        I attack you for being bigots. You are welcome to your views, but you are not welcome to try to change government to conform to your singular view. Secularism doesn’t ask you to be a Secularist.

        You still don’t get it, do you David?

        You want everyone to be Christian. Whereas I don’t care what religious belief you hold.

        But, when your ACTIONS are to malign and attack good people because of your religious beliefs, you have crossed the line.

        I am not attacking ALL Christians, I am attacking YOUR ACTIONS.

        You attack all people who aren’t Christian. That’s the difference.

      4. No – you have not been clear at all…lets try again and see if you can manage to answer. Would you be happy for a non-secularist to lead a secular group and be their spokesperson?

        I am not aware of any foodbanks established and led by a secular society – would you like to inform us of any?

        Secularism doesn’t ask you to be a secularist? Really? What does it ask you to do?

        You really do care what we believe – its why you keep coming on here….if you didn’t you wouldn’t bother…methinks the atheist doth protest too much!

        I attack all people who aren’t Christian?! I think even you could manage to see the ridiculousness of that statement! Now please behave yourself and respond reasonably. I won’t be drawn into the kind of childish name calling tit for tat that the new atheists seem to specialise in….I look forward to the answers to my questions…

      5. This conversation is rather telling.

        1. Again, No I would not care if a religious person led a secular organization. It is done all the time. The US is a secular country but often led by a religious person. As long as they don’t vote because of supernatural reasons instead of good reasons, I don’t care if they are Satanists.

        Again, let me try to get you to answer a question: Why do you care what people privately believe? Don’t you only care if they do their job?

        2. Another example of your bigotry towards secular people. Here is a short list of secular charities:
        Accion micro-lending
        Action Aid
        Afghan Children’s Fund National Geographic fund to educate Afghan children
        Alternative Gifts International
        American Civil Liberties Union
        American Humanists
        American Lung Association
        American Red Cross
        American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
        Americares Delivering medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in crisis around the world.
        Amnesty International
        Atheist Centre of India runs 3 charities: disaster relief, women’s empowerment, criminal tribes
        Atheist Volunteers
        Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation working to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. It is ironically satisfying that this goal is very close to that of “healing amputees”, yet Christopher Reeve was an atheist. 🙂
        Coalition to stop the use of child soldiers
        Direct Relief International
        Doctors Without Borders <== Haiti Earthquake Relief
        Feeding America formerly known as America's Second Harvest
        FINCA International
        Freedom From Religion Foundation
        The Halo Trust Princess Diana apparently supported this land mine charity.
        Fred Hollows Foundation preventing blindness
        Heifer Project International
        Humane Society US
        Humanist Charities same as American Humanists
        International Committee of the Red Cross <== Haiti Earthquake Relief
        Kiva person-to-person micro-lending
        Lions Club International
        Meals On Wheels some local affiliates may be run by churches
        Mercy Corps
        Orbis saving eyesight worldwide
        Oxfam America
        Pathfinder International
        Partners In Health
        Peace Corps U.S. government org
        Planned Parenthood
        Rotary International
        Ryan's Well Foundation Digs wells in Africa
        Secular Coalition for America
        Secular Student Alliance supports freethinking kids on college campuses
        The Smile Train funds surgeries to correct children's cleft palate
        SOS Children's Villages

        Food Share and Food Cycle are UK-based foodbanks.

        Matt Dillahunty – a person you debated – heads a food drive in his town.

        3. Secular asks you to be a good neighbor to your fellow man. Summed up: "Don't be an asshole". That's about it.
        You are so wrapped up in your fear of Hell, Satan, God, angels and all that supernatural crap you can't see a basic, simple truth: just be good to each other, whether atheist, theist, gay, straight, etc.

        But NO!, you have to save their souls because you chose a religion when you were 12…..

        Very unimpressive…

        4. I don't care if you are a raging racist and homophobe. I care if you ACT against people.

        That said, I am also allowed to voice my opinion of other people's opinions.

        Or is that not allowed by your religion, too?

        5. I look forward to your explanation as to why you feel your supernatural beliefs should be enacted into law.

      6. You still are struggling with the basic question….its not whether a secularist organisation could be led by a Christian – there are Christians who are also secularists. The question is whether a secularist organisation (and to help you along I don’t mean a country, or your local store, etc I mean an organisation like secular Scotland which campaigns for a secular state without religion) should be led by a non-secularist -ie. someone who does not believe that. Now can you answer that?

        And I didn’t ask about secular charities – your cut and paste long list was a bit of a waste of time (but I have noticed how you often deflect things by answering questions that were not asked). I asked about the secular societies (see definition above), at least two of whom are campaigning against a Christian group actually feeding the poor, who are setting up food banks. Your list contains not one. And I would love to pick through your list of so called ‘secular’ charities….many of them could be described as religious as well. But that is not the issue here (and I find it intriguing that you include Planned Parenthood – the organisation that seems to think that babies in the womb are valueless non-humans – at least until it comes to selling their body parts!).

        Your definition of secular is fascinating. Its wishful thinking based upon what you would like it to be -rather than any fact. To prove me wrong just give me one dictionary that states secular means “be a good neighbour to your fellow man”. I think you are getting a wee bit confused.

        You can voice your opinion all you want….but you have your own blog and FB page to do that. I don’t have to allow your continual rantings on here – amusing as they are some times. You are a guest.

        As for my supernatural beliefs being enacted into law – I’m glad you think my beliefs are supernatural. I’m not too sure you understand my beliefs (which is why I would suggest that next time you take a deep breath and make sure that you are actually arguing against what I’m saying, not what your feverish atheist imagination is working up!). But if you want to tell us why you think your beliefs should be enacted in law, feel free to do so. I suspect that will be a little too much for you, so please lets stick to the main question of this thread. Do you think a secular society, set up to campaign for secularism, has the right to insist that its leader share those beliefs?

  3. There is a difference between agreeing with organisational aims and being a Christian/Secularist – surely you can see advertising in such a way is discriminatory! I believe I share many of your Christian values and have a highly developed moral code. I also have years of charitable experience and a real drive to help people – perhaps I’d be the perfect candidate based on these factors, but I wouldn’t be hired due to my lack of a ‘personal relationship with God.’ I say this because how can you ever really know what someone’s true faith is and it’s strength other than through their actions in helping others. I could attend church if I wanted, does that make me more applicable to apply? Perhaps that teamed with my charitable actions would convince you I’m ‘Christian’ enough. It’s farcical to use such ill defined requirements – stick to values & aims and you’ll get a much better candidate and much less hassle from the left.

    Also, the second paragraph of your rebuttal is particularly decisive – if it were me, I’d welcome any person who wishes to help others in to my organisation. Joint forces use less resources and help more people, but then again I’m not Christian so what would I know.

    Leanne, MD Project Mediate CIC

    1. Leanne,

      I think your problem is with the use of the word ‘discrimination’ – its always used as an accusatory word. The fact is that we discriminate all the time…..a newspaper would not hire a journalist who could not write, the Labour party would not elect a leader who was not Labour, etc. The question is not of discrimination per se but whether such discrimination is justified. If the humanist society of SCotland in their recent appointment of a leader (at £50,000 per year) decided not to accept my application because I was a) not a humanist and b) did not approve of their methods, are they ‘discriminating’ against me? Yes – but with good reason. On the other hand if they did not accept me because of my skin colour or gender (things which are not part of the job) then that would be wrong discrimination. I also don’t agree that you can judge what someone’s true faith is – even by their actions in helping others – people can do so for many different motivations. I find it interesting that you say stick to values and aims – which is precisely what the Trussell Trust are seeking to do. Those who don’t share those values should surely not apply? The Trussell Trust do welcome people from all different backgrounds to help…but surely they are allowed to have their own leaders based on their own values? Every other organisation would do exactly that. Or are you saying that it is only Christian organisations who are not allowed to do that?

      1. But David, if you didn’t agree with their methods, why would you be applying for the job?

        This is not a case of some Secularist wanting to turn a Church into a Secular organization. It’s simply a person looking for a job, and thinking they could help Christians increase their mission.

        You are creating a strawman by assuming the person is hostile to the mission.

        Of course people wouldn’t hire you if you were hostile to the mission! It wouldn’t matter if you believe in a Sky Daddy or not!

      2. Now you are beginning to get somewhere. See what happens when you stop to think before just emoting prejudice! The Dundee Foodbank manager job includes speaking in churches and leading prayers. So why would you apply for that job if you were an atheist? And no-one has been turned away from a job who wanted to help Christians increase their mission (and why would a non-Christian want to do that – if you don’t agree with their methods why apply for the job?!) – the job has been described in such a way that it could not actually be done by a non-Christian – at least not without lying and hypocrisy – and you wouldn’t want that would you?

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