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Hide Your Crosses and Bibles – How Equality leads to the removal of public Christianity.

Cycling home last night I received a phone call from a journalist who wanted to ask my views on a story he was covering.  When he told me the story I had to stop before I fell off my bike.  Could you repeat that?   He did. This is the story.

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Watchdog’s warning that Christian symbols on display at funerals could breach equality laws

Christian symbols are being removed from funeral services amid growing fears they could be in breach of equality laws.Bibles, crucifixes and prayer books could disappear from chapels after ‘militant atheists’ and minorities complained they are offensive.

Scotland’s Inspector of Crematoria, Robert Swanson, said that demands for the removal of Christian symbols before funerals are on the rise.He warned that failure to comply could result in accusations of ‘discrimination as defined under the Equality Act 2010’.In a report, the inspector highlighted growing ‘concern’ about ‘the presence of Christian religious symbols’.

But church groups spoke out against an ‘attack on Christianity’ and ‘creeping secularisation’. In his annual report, Mr Swanson wrote: ‘A matter which has recently been raised relates to the lack of inclusive space for interment or scattering of ashes for those of a non-Christian faith or of no religion.’

He added: ‘There have also been concerns raised over the presence of Christian religious symbols, particularly the “cross” in chapels and gardens of remembrance.There have been a number of occasions where at the request of applicants steps have been taken, where practical, to remove or conceal the cross (in chapel) for the duration of the service.

‘The inspector is involved in ongoing discussion with a number of stakeholders, and has met with the Humanist Society of Scotland to address some of these concerns. ‘It is their view that current practices leave their 15,000 members and those of other non-Christian faiths and beliefs open to discrimination as defined under the Equality Act 2010.’

One source of complaint has been the automatic laying out of Bibles and prayer books on seats before funeral services.

The Rev David Robertson, former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said: ‘This is an attack on Christianity by militant atheists and secular groups under the guise of the Equality Act.

‘Most people in Scotland are nominally Christian and even if they are not particularly religious, they will have a Christian funeral service.‘This is an example of the Equality Act being used to create less equality. What if a Catholic complained that there wasn’t enough symbolism at a crematorium?‘Or if a crematorium was painted blue and someone decided it discriminated against a Celtic supporter?‘Taken to its extreme, it will result in crematoria becoming bland and featureless.’

Ciaran Kelly of the Christian Institute said that Scotland ‘should be wary of creeping secularisation in the guise of equality’.

But Gordon MacRae, chief executive of the Humanist Society of Scotland, said: ‘Modern Scotland is both diverse and increasingly non-religious but some parts of the public sector are yet to catch up. We see that with things like crematoria.‘The crematoria issue is particularly painful for a lot of people. If you had a negative experience of religion, it’s a very difficult time for somebody to have to mark the passing of a loved one in a way that feels dishonest or brings back bad memories. What we want to get away from is a default setting that just assumes everyone is Christian.’

Julie Dunk of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management said: ‘We would recommend that crematoria chapels are open to all denominations and none.

‘They should comply with a family’s request to have crosses or symbols removed or covered up wherever possible.‘Sometimes, however, the symbols are built into the fabric of the building or the surrounding landscape and removing them would be as upsetting for some people as seeing them would be for others.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘Each crematorium in Scotland is different – some have religious symbols displayed in their chapels and service rooms, some do not. In every case the Inspector of Crematoria asks that the wishes of the deceased, their family and next of kin are carefully and sensitively considered.’

So this is what Equalities legislation is used for – in the name of ‘equality’ all Christianity must be removed from public life?  Society has to be ‘neutral’ (which means secular humanist).  Get a couple of people to complain and the Scottish governments inspectorate will comply.   This is not ‘equality’.  It is petty discrimination.

The Humanists are either delicate snowflakes who are triggered by any Christian symbols or just petty and vindictive people who will use anything to attack Christianity.  But perhaps they have a point?  Maybe all organs should be removed in case a strict Free Presbyterian is upset?  Maybe we should ban cut flowers in case someone who believes that all plants are living creatures that need to be protected, wants to use the facility?   Maybe we should ban memorial plaques for the sake of those who are triggered by the use of gender specific names?  Or keep all cars out of the crematorium car parks because of those who have had bad experiences of cars?

Has there been a mass (sorry about the RC connotations for any ultra Protestants who get triggered by that word – I do want to be ‘equal’) of complaints? I doubt it.  I have taken many funerals of non-religious people in crematorium and have never had any complaints.  Indeed I did one last week.  I even read the Bible and prayed and was thanked by one of the non-religious people there for making it ‘personal, funny and especially religious”!  If the poor Humanists had been present I suspect I may have had another funeral to do – such is their level of sensitivity!  (Mind you the last humanist funeral I was at – the first five minutes were spent advertising the humanist society).

What’s next in the name of equality?  Should church spires be pulled down because they are taller than other buildings (it’s not fair on bungalows!) or, as is happening in China, because they have crosses on them?  In an ‘equal society’ one can hardly expect the poor Humanist snowflake to have to gaze upon such symbols of religious oppression as they travel home on the bus!

And look at the language.  The inspectorate consulted ‘stakeholders’?  The only ones mentioned are the humanists, but as far as I know they did not consult the Free Church or many other churches.    The sad thing is that the journalist told me that the Church of Scotland were supporting their humanist allies.  Can that be true?  But then why should I be surprised?   The C of S has just become the Humanist society at prayer (remember the C of S/Humanist alliance on School chaplains?) 

Welcome to  21st Century Scotland – where it is deemed offensive and against equality by a government official to have a Christian cross in a memorial garden.  Just let that sink in…

PS. Please note that the people who are complaining are not those of other faiths. It’s the secular humanists – who never miss the opportunity to attack Christianity…(they are not quite so bold when it comes to Islam!)…Our Muslim neighbours not only have no problem with Christian symbols – they expect them. And even send us Christmas cards with them!


  1. Of course, modern secular humanism is anything but ‘neutral’, so it’s important to ensure a level playing fields where there can be no mention of those words either. The potential for deep psychic harm is limitless.

  2. Thanks for drawing attention to this, David.

    Is your position that it’s OK for a family in good faith to ask a crematorium to cover crosses and remove bibles – but it should not be the role of the inspectorate or government to require this under equality law?

    1. Yes – of course. A family can, within reason, ask for anything. But it should not be the government telling crematoria to remove Christian symbols – at the instigation of the humanist society.

      1. I usually agree with you on everything, David, but not this time.

        If a generic complaint is made by a publicity-seeking lobby group, the newspaper is still going to be able to print the same basic story, even if the government stays out of the manufactured quarrel, except with a short paragraph at the end saying, “The Mail has invited the government’s Inspector of Crematoria to comment, but he has refused to do so. Letters sent to him on the part of the [secular society] have remained unanswered.” It is preferable that the inspector and others clarified the law, sending the reassuring message that the secularists were getting their knickers in a twist over nothing, rather than make martyrs of the secularists by stone-walling them, adding being ignored to their list of complaints.

        It is perfectly normal, where practicable, to remove religious symbols from the secular venues of funerals, for the duration, when this is requested. If the greatest mischief presently being wrought by the usual secularist suspects is merely trying to hype up a news story about this mundane fact, David should thank heaven for small mercies, and not take the bait, in what looks like a silly season fake news story to me. This manufactured controversy reminds me of the War sketch in The Day Today.

      2. No – if you read the Inspectors comments he cites the Equalities Act 2010 and he has written to Crematoria directors telling them this. This will result in the removal of all Christian symbols from public buildings. Its not a manufactured story – its symbolic of the relentless drive by the handful of Humanists to remove all vestiges of Christianity from public life.

      3. The Mail’s scant report of the role of the Inspector of Crematoria is worded in such a way that Christians readers will be apt to read the worst into it. You own quote is (I assume) quoted out of context, thus:


        One source of complaint has been the automatic laying out of Bibles and prayer books on seats before funeral services.

        The Rev David Robertson, former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said: ‘This is an attack on Christianity by militant atheists and secular groups under the guise of the Equality Act.[‘]


        That the staff of crematoria should ascertain beforehand whether bibles and prayerbooks were wanted or unwanted, and save themselves the trouble of putting them out if they were unwanted, is entirely reasonable. To have responded to that modest complaint saying, “This is an attack on Christianity”, would be an overreaction on your part. I cannot believe you made your remark in the context into which the journalist has inserted your comment.

        The Humanist Society of Scotland probably IS “attacking Christianity”. But the tactics they use worked better because you said so (in a different context), allowing the journalist to distort what you meant to get across, by juxtaposing it with the least important of their complaints, potentially making you seem like the bigot to some readers of the Mail’s report. Oops!

        I could have made the same mistake as I feel you did, but for the fact that I am not somebody the press phones up for a comment, as you are. I think you were had.

  3. David, a truly shocking issue however unfortunately such things no longer come as a surprise. Certain people are trying to force out Christianity in one way or another. I was actually trying to engage last night with a Scottish Community Council who had gone all the way to their regional council and the national media because they objected to a local church distributing gospel tracts in their community. They also ultimately indicated to me that they objected to the Christian faith and the Christian Bible because of the Equalities Act. I remember stories from a few years ago of non Christians actually deliberately damaging Christian Bibles and symbols in Fife Crematoriums.

    I moved away from the Church of Scotland almost 2 years ago because I was becoming increasingly unhappy with their doctrinal interpretation and I was unaware of their actions in terms of school assemblies but the Church of Scotland associating with the Humanist Society simply corresponds with the way that the Church of Scotland is now proceeding.

  4. Humanist funerals are cheerless affairs, offering only a prospect of nothingness to ‘comfort’ the bereft. Having said that, the last one I attended tried to end on an upbeat note by seeing the departed off with a rendition of, ‘Always look on the bright side’. Surely that is totally out of place at a humanist funeral.

    Today I paid a brief visit to the graveside of my parents to thank God for their life and example. At the foot of their gravestone it simply says, ‘Alive in Jesus’; and so they are. Are epitaphs such as this next for sanction?

    1. Gordon I expect you’d be reduced to begging for that terrible “nothingness” should the Christian God prove to be true and you find yourself suffering an eternity in hell – after all I don’t expect you can possibly claim to know you are going to heaven.

      1. John, Christians do have the assurance of a future in heaven. The Bible is clear on this. The Apostle John writes “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13.

        So if Gordon is a believer in the Lord Jesus, he can absolutely claim to know he is going to heaven.

      2. It’s not ‘what’ I know but ‘who’ I know that that guarantees my eternal destiny.

        I commend Jesus Christ to you and invite you to reflect on the truth of this scripture, particularly the penultimate sentence;

        ‘If anyone is in Christ he/she is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. Now all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and has committed to them the ministry of reconciliation.Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’.

        You are right in so far as, if it depended solely on my efforts, I would indeed be suffering the consequences of eternal loss, but it doesn’t depend on me, it depends on my receiving what Jesus Christ has done for me and repenting of my own self-sufficiency. I have known and embraced this truth for more than 70 years and know I can depend on Him.

        John, I beg you, be reconciled to God through faith in what Christ Jesus has done for you.

  5. Wouldn’t it far less problematic if there were simply non- religious crematoria and cemetery’s?
    Would you consider this to be acceptable, David?

    1. No – why should everything be secular humanist? Why for the sake of the 15,000 members of the Humanist society should everything be geared for them? It really is petty and pathetic if people object to religious symbols in crematoria. What harm does it do them? One thing I will guarantee – its not religious people, or people of different faiths who object – it always has to be the Humanists…they are so intolerant…

      1. I think my initial comment may have been misunderstood.
        If crematoria were religiously neutral then people of any particular faith could bring whatever bits of paraphernalia they felt represented their faith best.
        A cemetery could be set up in a similar manner – parts for the various religious faiths and non religious.
        How difficult would this be?
        Atheists aren’t likely going to want to have a ”final send off” in a church now are they, any more than a Jew, Hindu or Muslim would.

        How does that suit you?

      2. There is no such thing as ‘religiously neutral’…that means secular humanism – which is not neutral. Cemeteries are already set up that way. Its just the snowflake atheists who get upset at the mere sight of a cross!

      3. I’m not upset by crosses. I am surprised you aren’t though considering it was a brutal form of execution. Not something I’d want to celebrate, but that’s me. ,
        I hardly regard myself as a snowflake atheist, anymore than you likely regard yourself as a wuss Christian, but I suppose there are sensitive souls in every walk of life I guess.

        Would you be okay if future crematoriums had no permanent displays of religious paraphernalia?

  6. A colleague of my wife is a humanist and an accredited “celebrant of funerals” (and he is very busy). He recently told her that, almost without exception at secular funerals, the families request a prayer and sometimes a hymn!

    1. Am slightly confused by the last sentence in your comment and look forward to receiving clarification. I prefer to only attend such ceremonies led by Christian clergymen and have never attended a ceremony (marriage or funeral) conducted by a humanist. However I had perhaps wrongly assumed that humanists would be non Christian but I don’t understand how a non Christian humanist could truly lead a prayer to God.

    2. It’s not that common but I have heard of it. We had a humanist funeral for my mother. But a religious reading at the burial for the sake of her sister.
      Ironically my auntie’s daughter died and her funeral (attended by her mother) was purely humanist.
      With hindsight I deeply regret going against my mother’s wishes.

    3. Yes, I’ve heard of this too. A relative has been at two humanist funerals. A hymn was sung at one. At the other, the deceased was declared not to have a belief – something which caused a few eyebrows raised in the people congregated – but later in proceedings it was mentioned she liked being in a certain place “because it made her feel closer to God”!

      1. I have a habit of talking to the Funeral Director at funerals, Jennifer,
        so I get to hear some tales. One told me that he had had a number of people who didn’t want anyone ‘taking’ the funeral — word gets around that you don’t have to have someone ‘officiating’ — so, no hymns; no prayers; just one or two eulogies and then a committal. Hence, the conversation:
        FAMILY: ‘Could there be some words said as the curtains close?’
        FUNERAL DIRECTOR: ‘Certainly, who do you want to say them?’
        FAM.: ‘Well, could you say some words?’
        F.D.: ‘No problem. What would you like me to say?’
        FAM.: ‘We don’t have anything in mind; don’t know.’
        F.D.: ‘How about: “Inasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God to take to himself our beloved …”?’
        FAM.: ‘O yes, that sounds great, that will do nicely.’


  7. At the moment I am on holiday in Bavaria. Today I was in an ordinary restaurant. There was a crucifix on the wall. Another day I went into a kiosk with cash machines. There was a crucifix on the wall. The Bavarian government has recently decided that all public buildings must display a crucifix. Not everybody is happy with that decision, of course.

  8. Apologies for my senior moment but I am not in Bavaria. That was last week. At the moment I am in the Rhineland. The town I am in turned Protestant at the Reformation. As in lots of German towns the Catholic church was taken over by the Protestants and when the Catholics were allowed to have a church they had yo build a new one. Just like Scotland! Interestingly there are churches in Germany which are shared between Catholics and Protestants. I even read about a decree somewhere that allowed Lutherans,Calvinists and Catholics to share churches but I don’t know of any examples of churches being shared by all three.

    1. If I remember the chapel at Barlinnie correctly, it had its cricifixes and statuary in alcoves and mounted on a swivel base to accommodate both the Catholics and the Prods (50 years ago there were basically just the two).

  9. If there is no symbolism inside a crematorium then it does indeed fit with all faiths and none as Christians can bring their Bibles and crosses if they must (which begs the question why do we need images such as crosses in the first place?), Muslims can bring their Korans and Buddhists their bells & smells. A Humanist funeral – or any other non-religious funeral for that matter – is merely the end of the road for the body (the person died a while earlier of course), and for the attendees merely the occasion when they gather to mark the loss of the deceased. I believe that should be driven home for them. Why? Because putting religious symbols in front of people who are not believers engenders a false security – encouraging the ‘Grandma will be looking down on us now, smiling at us’ attitude. Those who do not believe should be presented with the stark reality of the situation – the loss of their loved one and their absence … for ever. Maybe, just maybe, that will cause them to think a little more seriously about their position. Funerals are not sacred; they achieve nothing at all for the dead person, they are solely for the relatives and friends who will miss them.

      1. Of course it is Possible. But why should it necessary? Only because Humanists are apparently triggered by even seeing a cross!

      2. In a multi-cultural society as we are in now, why must any particular religious group have precedence over the rest?
        It is not as if the UK is a Christian country any more, and sooner rather than later Muslims will outnumber Christians, and then what?
        The point is, the crucifix is simply a barbaric instrument of torture that only holds any meaning for Christians, whereas people of all creeds and cultures die all the time.
        So why the insistence on having such a vile symbol displayed in the first place?
        Will its removal make you less of a Christian?
        Of course not! So let’s move with the times and respect that we all live together and take the bloody(sic) things down.

      3. Because we are still a predominantly Christian society – why should the secular humanists with their membership of 15,000 dictate to the whole of society when the churches with over 1 million members are excluded? “moving with the times’ is precisely what we do not want to know when we see the times heading towards the pit!

      4. Because we are still a predominantly Christian society ..

        Predominantly for now, yes.
        The comment below by Cumbriasmithy seems the most sensible approach.
        Do you have any issues with his comment?

      5. I belong to an evangelical church which began as an Open Brethren Assembly, and we do not use any kind of visual symbolism, including crosses. Our building is therefore very plain, so if it didn’t have noticeboards, leaflets, hymn books and Bibles visible it could be mistaken for any auditorium. So I don’t see any harm in the same principle being employed in crematoria. To me it’s a non-issue. The Humanists are not requesting that symbolism is never brought in, or crosses never displayed, they just think such a building should be neutral, and I see no problem with that. Christians should not require visual symbols as God has promised to put His law in our minds and write it on our hearts.

      6. I live in a rented, two bedroomed, modern, mid-terrace house. I haven’t managed to find any symbolism at all in its architecture.

  10. I’m a bit surprised that a Protestant is protesting about this trend – one of the advantages that Protestantism has historically had, especially over a religion like Catholicism, which emphasises external signs of inward realities, is that, because Protestantism is an intensely inward religion, it places comparatively little emphasis on externals. Especially externals such as crosses.

    In time, Christians in the UK may well have to face the loss of much that we take for granted: it seems possible that Christians in the UK will be winnowed down to a tiny minority, without public influence, public support, prestige, legal standing, or the like. A bit like the unregistered Baptists in the USSR. If we need to forego the institutional support one or another kind of Christianity has previously enjoyed, we may lose it whether doing so is comfortable or not, for the good of the Church’s mission. Perhaps Christianity in the UK *needs* to go to the catacombs for a few centuries, if it is not to be snuffed out, and if it is not to lose all its savour. That may even bring about the re-union of Christians.

    1. It seems to me, admittedly a Catholic, that the objection to ‘externals’ is a tendency within Protestantism rather than a feature of all Protestants. Not all the Protestant reformers were extreme iconoclasts. There is quite a difference, for example, between Lutheranism and Calvinism.

      1. The debate about ‘externals’ goes back to at least the time of St John Damoscene. He argued in favour of the acceptance of icons and his arguments were acceptrd by the Church.
        Part of the argument is about the senses. Some Christians emphasise the senses of speech and hearing (sermons, vocal prayers and hymns). Other Christians acknowledge that God created all five senses and so see no objection to things that involve our sight.

  11. It’s amazing how they are making this an issue on behalf of other non-Christian fiaths. Are they not capable of complaining for themselves, and don’t they have their own spaces in which they perform their own ceremonies? Surely if they had issue woth Christian symbols they would raise it.

  12. I don’t want to give any comfort to the anti-Christianity brigade but it is traditional in Catholic churches to cover over crucifixes and statues in the days leading up to Easter.
    The militant secularists are just looking for any opportunity to remove religion, especially Christianity, whereever they can.

  13. Loved the humorous comments about cars and masses. Great that we can still have a laugh in these trying times.

  14. The trajectory we are on is akin to that of the former USSR where Government decided what was and was not acceptable in both the private and public spaces. I find it very worrying that political parties of all persuasions are indistinguishable in their drive for political correctness gone mad.

    The fact that history shows us that this will all end in tears, seems to alluid most folks.

    Unsurprised but concerned at the extent to which ordinary people are unable to see where this kind of social engineering will lead.

    Having unamed government officials deciding what is and is not acceptable thought and speech, results in the thought Police in an Orwellian society.

    Be careful what you wish for.
    A world without Christians will not be a pleasant place to be. You can’t cut down the tree and still expect to have the fruits.

    Without Christians in Scotland huminists wouldn’t have had a free education to be able to coherently decern or deceminate their theories about God in the first place.

    Think on friends.

  15. Am truly shocked by this but no longer surprised. I know that 2 evenings ago I was trying to engage with a Scottish community council who had complained to their regional council and the national media that a local Christian church had delivered Christian gospel tracts to households in their parish. Their final comment to me was that they object to Christianity and he Bible because of the Equality Act.

    I didn’t realise that in 2014 the Church of Scotland had gone with the humanist society in respect of school assemblies but, having left the Church of Scotland almost 2 years ago partly because of their doctrinal interpretation, again I am not surprised.

    I also remember being told more than 10 years ago by a Church of Scotland minister that non Christians had attacked and damaged Christian crosses and Bibles in Fife crematorium.

    PS Posted a comment very similar to this on this post yesterday morning but it’s obviously never appeared, don’t imagine and hope it wouldn’t have been blocked but perhaps something was amiss IT-wise yesterday morning.

  16. I should explain how churches in Germany are shared between Catholics and Protestants. Generally the Protestants use one part of the church (usually the nave) and the Catholics use another (usually the choir).

    1. As a rather “trad” Papist, I’m not mad keen on church-sharing. One is torn, because there are strong arguments pro and contra.

  17. There are three categories of funeral services on offer:
    1 no hope
    2 false hope
    3 assured , guaranteed hope in Christ
    Wasn’t it Woody Allen who said he wasn’t affraid of death, but just didn’t want to be there when it happened and when assked what he’d say to God when he met, replied that he’d ask for a second opinion!

    1. What on earth do you need hope for for goodness sake?
      We live in a time when life is generally better for humans than it has ever been and yet millions of kids will die before the age of five and here you are whining that when you die you are going to feel hard done by if you haven’t got somewhere else to go afterwards!
      How selfish!

      1. Ark,
        If it is a response to me, where on earth did you get this from: “here you are whining that when you die you are going to feel hard done by if you haven’t got somewhere else to go afterwards!”?
        I’ve said before, but I’ll repeat: for a huge part of my adult life, I used to think that heaven was a human idea, out of the pride of life, that life, the world, couldn’t possibly go on without us, hence making a name for self to give some degree of permanence. But eternity, eternal life is God’s idea that is placed in the heart of humanity, a desire a longing.
        As you will be more than aware, following the death of your brother, death is both personal and relational.
        This is rhetorical only as I’m not seeking you to answer over the internet, but what were the elements or factors in your grieving, your loss?
        Is there not some longing for permanence, that this is not how things ought to be?

      2. I actually have no idea what you are trying to say in this comment Geoff, It seems all over the place.

        Could you respond again and this time try to be more succinct.

  18. Once again we get evidence of not learning from history.
    William Wallace was never buried. The thinking behind this was that the rest of the Scots would be cowed into submission since: no burial, no resurrection. The Scots didn’t buy it and the rest is history.

    Similarly, some of those who agitated for the laws to be changed to allow crematoria were hoping thereby to cock a snook at the Christian burial service’s ‘In sure and certain hope of the Resurrection … .’ The presence of Christian paraphernalia in crematoria demonstrates the failure of the exercise, though I think the singing will demonstrate that even more. No wonder Humanists are agitated. They ought to have learned from the failure of Edward Longshanks 800 years ago!

    And yet this isn’t about the resurrection, but rather about the use of Equalities legislation to put Christians in their place. Those of us who are saying that crosses and candles aren’t Protestant anyway should reflect that a simple picture of a loaf and a glass of wine would be enough to trigger an adverse reaction in Humanists who are so sensitised. Don’t we see the way the tide is running. You can’t insist that double rooms in your B&B are for married people only; you can’t refuse to put a message against your own convictions onto a cake; and this isn’t part of the same deal‽ This is emphatically not the time to protest about local Muslims wanting to put the ‘right’ sort of windows into their mosque because it bothers us.

    And we have a duty to warn the abusers of equalities legislation that the ones who dig a pit are liable to fall into it themselves. If you work yourselves up to be triggered by anything religious, you will become paranoid prisoners in your own mentality, seeing things that aren’t there and even more hearing things that go the proverbial bump. Moreover, imagine the distress felt by those Romans who used their inequalities legislation to have the Christians thrown to the lions or even put on real crosses, when they came across a fish scratched on the wall and just knew that it meant the persistence of something they’d wanted to eliminate.


  19. Hello David, the Times reports the response of the Church of Scotland as follows:

    “The Church of Scotland said: “Crematoria should be welcoming to people of all faiths and none. Families should be encouraged to express their wishes and their preferences should be accommodated whenever possible. During times of grief and loss many people want and need the comforting presence of symbols of their faith and words that express their beliefs. The importance of these should not be underestimated.”

    This seems to me to be a reasonable response to this issue. It is quite an even-handed and balanced comment from the CoS. It tries to see the issue from the perspective of the believer and the unbeliever. It actually makes a lot of pastoral sense and needn’t be seen as an expression of ‘supporting their humanist allies,’ as the journalist put it. We all know that many churches and congregations use secularly-owned premises which they adapt in suitable ways for Christian occasions and events. This doesn’t sound very dissimilar, and I don’t think that we need to be overly anxious about it, although the permanent removal of religious symbols from crematoria and memorial gardens would be a secular step too far, in my view. But is it really true that the ‘C of S has just become the Humanist society at prayer’ as you say that it has? In the CoS, we have our sins, but we are still a large and varied group, and our situation is consequently complex and nuanced. ‘Humanist society at prayer’ will be an amusing soundbite to some, but it is not a true thing to assert.

    1. Thanks…thats helpful. I disagree with a couple of points. Firstly I think you are missing the significance of the report stating that under the Equalities Act 2010 religious symbols could be required to be removed. I accept that the C of S is varied but I am talking about the official responses, press office and Assembly… most certainly is the Humanist society at prayer….have a look at my earlier pieces on the alliance with the humanists re chaplaincy…

  20. Little of this is really new. It is an issue that has been faced by institutions across the country for some time. Many prison governors and chaplains will have had to deal with requests to remove Christian symbols from prison chapels. They will agree to do this temporarily, and where this is practicable, it is done, and I agree with the pastoral sense of it. It is a different thing to the permanent removal of religious symbols. It is not sensible to conflate both. I want to come back to your description of the CoS as the humanist society at prayer, because it is nonsensical. If you mean ‘the official responses, press office and Assembly’, then say so, but you should drop the sweeping description that you used at first. It is quite meaningless.

    1. No – its not quite meaningless. The C of S is a centralised denomination which speaks on behalf of all its ministers, members and churches. As a denomination it has largely become apostate (and I don’t say that lightly)…it goes along with every ‘progressive’ humanist doctrine and stays away from biblical ones. It says nothing about abortion and yet can manage to make official pronouncements in favour of the EU. By their deeds you shall know them. (which is not to say that there are not faithful members, ministers and churches within the Kirk – but they are the exception rather than the rule).

  21. Surely the solution is just to *evangelise*?!

    If most people are Christian then most people will actively ask for an overtly Christian service.

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