The following is a very revealing letter printed in the Courier (10th September 2015) , by Garry Otton of the SSS. My response, printed on the 12th follows after:
Alex Salmond asks in your newspaper: “what exactly is it that the secular society fear about religious faith which makes them so sensitive?” Here’s what we fear. Up to four unelected religious affiliates on every religious education committee in Scotland.
A robust support for the segregation of children into separate schools on the basis of what their parents believe. The spread of more divisive faith schools. Exemptions from equality legislation the rest of us have to abide by. The failure to stop religious proselytising in our schools.
Exemptions from taxes the rest of us have to pay. Millions in government grants and handouts to faith organisations and the attempt to get faith a privileged platform in Holyrood, like in Westminster, against the express wishes of the father of our parliament, Donald Dewar.
Do you want me to go on, Mr Salmond?
Garry Otton, Scottish Secular Society.
Gary Otton of the Scottish Secular Society is afraid. He fears that religious groups have representatives on the local education committees. He fears that children should be educated according to what their parents want. He fears that religious proselytising is taking place in schools. He fears that religious people are not paying their taxes. He fears that millions are being handed out in government grants to religious organisations. But like much of the fear mongering of the atheistic secularists,his fears are misplaced.They are simply the ignorance and prejudices which are used to blame the bogeyman of religion for all of humanities ills.
Most people think it is a great idea that parents should have a say in their own children’s education and would not like our children to be left to the indoctrination of the atheistic secularists. Given that so many schools have a religious ethos its a great idea that representatives of the churches which are so involved in eduction should be included on education committees. Religious proselytising is not taking place in state schools, however there are considerable attempts by the humanists and secularists to ensure that only their doctrines are taught and that our children are the recipients of their social engineering.
Religious people pay exactly the same taxes as everyone else. We get no exemptions. Not a single penny is handed out to religious organisations to enable them to spread their faith. On the other hand the government does see the value in the great work that many religious groups do, at no cost to the State, and so sometimes they support them. For example the Trussell Trust feeds tens of thousands through their food banks. Is this what the SSS are objecting to? Perhaps they should be more concerned about groups such as the Equality Network, a government funded organisation who are holding a dinner for hundreds for the LGBTI awards in a posh hotel in Glasgow.
The sad fact is that the tiny Scottish Secular Society and their comrades in arms, the Scottish Humanists, are really afraid that anyone would dare to think, speak or behave differently from them. Their fears lead them to a frightening intolerance. Little wonder that Alex Salmond prefers people of faith!
David A. Robertson
St Peters Free Church
4 St Peter St
DD1 4 JJ