Why advantage for religions?
Sir, – David Robertson (December 12) accuses secular societies of seeking to remove religion from the public square but the group to which I belong, Secular Scotland, has no such aim.
If he wishes to preach his religion in a street, we will not oppose any legal right he has to do so, as long as other users are not inconvenienced, and we do not object to religious campaigners petitioning parliament, forming political parties, advertising, publishing, blogging, or writing letters to newspapers.
That is because all non-violent belief groups have an equal right to advance ideas in the public realm by these means.
What we oppose is unequal rights caused by state discrimination in favour of religions.
Why should selected churches get reserved seats on public education committees?
Why should state-funded schools promote belief in God but not disbelief? Why can’t they leave the question of God’s existence alone and get on with promoting skills, knowledge and considerate behaviour?
A secular state that avoids religious preferences is definitely not seeking to become God, as God’s religious preferences are widely advertised, though disputed.
58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.
This was my response published yesterday….
Closing Down Religious Voices
Robert Canning of Secular Scotland (16th Dec), says that his group has no desire to remove religion from the public square – and yet anyone who visits their Facebook page would realise that that is precisely their aim.
They mock religion and especially any politician or public figure who professes Christian faith. He says that we are free to preach our religion in the street if we wish to, ‘ as long as other users are not inconvenienced’. The trouble is that it could easily be argued that any such preaching is an inconvenience!
He asked why should churches get reserved seats and public education committees?
The answer, as he well knows, is that churches such as the Roman Catholic church are directly involved in running schools, or as in the case of the Protestant churches, handed their schools over to the state on condition that they retained this minimal say.
If Secular Scotland wishes to change the education system then it would only be just and fair that the state agrees to fund religious schools for those who wish them. It surely would not be just and fair that the only state funded schools would be those who adopt the philosophy of the secular societies?
He asks why should state funded schools promote belief in God but not disbelief? The fact is that many state funded schools already promote disbelief but the secular society want those who promote belief to be banned.
(The following paragraph was not published – I presume due to space)….
Every school has a philosophy and an ethos. The Secular Society want every school to be based on and promote only their philosophy and belief. As our Christian state education system has been taken over, cuckoo like, by the more militant atheistic secularists, we are finding that they are being used more for social engineering than they are for education. As a Free Church minister I am fully supportive of the rights of the Catholic Church to have catholic schools. I also support the right of the secular society to run their own schools. I just simply ask on behalf of other Christians,can we have our schools back? Or do the Secular Society not agree with equality and diversity within the education system?
David A Robertson
St Peters Free Church