Newspaper Letters

Secularists Continue Campaign Against Christian Foodbanks – Letter in Dundee Courier and response

Tolerance by secularists

Continuing the secularists campaign against the Trussell Trust, Alistair McBay wrote the following letter in The Courier on the 27th of July.  Davids response on the 29th follows:

Sir, – I expected the customary fire and brimstone from the Free Church minister David Robertson over the Dundee foodbank and its discriminatory employment policies. But as usual he is wrong on many points.

It would be illegal for secularists to discriminate in a similar vein as he suggests, quite apart from the fact that many Christians, Muslims and Jews also consider themselves to be secular.I am sure we would select the best candidate in any case. After all, the vulnerable deserve better than to be denied the best on dubious grounds. It speaks volumes that it is religious people, not secularists, who demand exemptions from equality legislation.

Second, my organisation is not a charity and is funded by member subscriptions, nor do we run a food bank although our members donate to them.The Christian Institute, a campaigning organisation as is mine, doesn’t run a food bank either but it does exploit the tax advantage of charity status to promote Christianity. Whose motives are more pure?

Third, Mr Robertson says we spend our time attacking Christians who live out their faith while evidently it is fine for him to spend his time attacking us.We support the rights of religious people to live out their faith, but where that impinges upon the rights of others we act.

We campaign against people and groups, be they atheist or religious, who live out their beliefs or lack of them by demanding the right to discriminate unfairly in employment and education, or who campaign to curtail or remove the human rights of vulnerable groups, or to practise prejudice.Mr Robertson falls into all those categories.

Alistair McBay.
National Secular
5 Atholl Crescent,

Perverse View of Tolerance 

Dear Editor,

I am grateful to Alistair McBay of the National Secular Society for reminding us about secular version of ‘tolerance’ (letters 27th July). Apparently he wants us to believe that the National Secular Society would employ someone who was not a secularist and did not agree with their aims. I guess this means that the Labour party should be free to appoint a leader who does not share Labour party principles (or did they do that already?!).

For Mr McBay to claim that a specifically Christian organisation is guilty of ‘discrimination’ because they seek to employ a Christian as their leader is ridiculous – especially when that organisation has a GOR (general occupational requirement) for that post.

I am fully aware that the National Secular Society are not a charity and don’t set up food banks. My point is simply that if they object to churches setting up food bank charities why don’t the atheistic secularists set up their own, instead of attacking those who do?

For him to claim that the NSS campaigns against ‘discrimination in education’ reveals a great deal about the Secularist version of tolerance. Because the NSS campaigns to have only secular schools – they don’t campaign against the rich being able to segregate their children according to wealth. They only campaign against the human right of parents to have our children educated according to our values. That is the Secularist version of ‘tolerance’….they will tolerate anything as long as it agrees with their values. It’s a Brave New World where tolerance just means going along with one opinion! I prefer the Christian version where we allow diversity of views and practice – and where a Christian organisation with a Christian ethos is free to employ a Christian leader.

Yours etc

David A. Robertson
St Peters Free Church
4 St Peter St


  1. David, I suspect that you are not at all the kind of Christian leader that Mr McBay is used to dealing with. He, presumably, expects to deal with folk who are so liberal that they do not know what they believe, and so mealy-mouthed, that it would be impossible to extract a single coherent thought to argue with. From his perspective, this tends to set the bar pretty low, which is why he tends to trot out this kind of pap as a proxy for decent polemic.

    Mr McBay’s letter provides you with a number of points on which you might have some kind of decent debate, but I suspect that if you attempted to push back, it would be somewhat akin to trying to nail jelly to the wall.

    I suspect that you are quite right about Mr McBay’s definition of ‘tolerance’ – in practice they would ‘tolerate’ a Christianity which never ventured outside of the doors of the kirk to actually engage with Scottish culture.

  2. “Fire and brimstone”!

    So if anyone holds a different (Christian) view from the NSS they are guilty of – well I am unsure of what.

    Rational debate does not need this sort of language.

    “Argument weak here, shout louder” !!!!

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