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Scottish politician disciplined for speaking against abortion – CT

This article was published in Christian Today – here

Scottish politician disciplined for speaking against abortion

Does the death of the Queen mark the end of the Christian Church’s influence in Scotland? Is the hard-won liberty that Christianity brought to the nation about to be replaced by a soft authoritarian progressivism? The case of a Scottish politician disciplined by his party for daring to speak up in defence of the baby in the womb is an indicator that this may be the way things are heading.

John Mason is an SNP MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) for Glasgow. He is also a Baptist Christian who is not ashamed to speak of his faith. There are a surprising number of Christian MSPs in the Scottish parliament. But Mr Mason has now fallen foul of his own party and has been formally disciplined for “causing distress and trauma to women in the way he expressed his views on abortion rights, but not for his views or his faith”. His case is a chilling indication of how Orwellian and authoritarian the SNP, and thus the Scottish government, have become.

What did he say? The Scottish government are making a great fuss about their plans to have ‘buffer zones’ around abortion providers. Mr Mason went to observe a protest and noticed that some of the activists were holding up signs saying ‘some women do regret abortions’.

He tweeted: “Surely these signs are very gentle and offering help? I do not see anything hateful or harassing about these signs.”

He went on to state that he went to one of these protests not to participate, but to speak to the people there, before adding that he thought abortion was seldom ‘essential or vital’. Given that he was just expressing the view of the Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the Free Church, the Baptists, FIEC and many others, one would hardly think that this merited discipline.

You have free speech, but you can’t verbalise your views!

It is the letter of discipline, dated 29 June, from MSPs Stuart McMillan and Gordon MacDonald which is both revealing and disturbing.

“We would like to make it clear that we absolutely respect your right to hold your views on abortion and your right to freedom of speech and expression. We do not, however, believe that you have the right to impose these views on others,” they said.

But there is no evidence that Mr Mason was seeking to ‘impose his views on others’ – unless simply expressing your view is now considered by the SNP to be imposing it. In that case every time an SNP politician expresses their views, they are seeking to impose them and therefore should be disciplined.

But the Orwellian irrationality of the letter does not end there. Instead, they come up with another gem. Although they argue that Mr Mason has the right to free speech, they also state that, “The verbalisation of your views has caused great distress and trauma to many women and have also been regarded as misinformation by medical professionals.”

So, Mr Mason is entitled to have his views and he is entitled to free speech, but he is just not entitled to ‘verbalise’ them. Only in a nation which has departed from its Christian roots and turned to the meaningless ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ progressive view of language, could any such sentence be written.


Note the two areas this discipline is based on. Firstly, that Mr Mason was spreading ‘misinformation’ (according to ‘medical professionals’). But what is the misinformation? That some women regret abortions? It is not difficult to establish that that is a fact.

Or is it the statement that abortion is seldom “essential or vital”? The 1967 Abortion Act was drawn up on the basis that abortion should only be when it is essential or vital. If you regard the baby in the womb as a human being, then killing it must be, at best, the last step.

When abortion is used as a form of contraception, or for non-essential reasons (cleft lip or inconvenient timing) then surely it is reasonable for people to question just how essential or vital it is? I know many medical professionals who would agree with Mr Mason – but of course the SNP is following the modern progressive practice of only citing ‘experts’ who agree with their own policies.

Distress and Trauma?

The other area of discipline is that Mr Mason’s views have caused “distress and trauma to many women”. I find that many of the Scottish government’s leaders and politicians have caused distress and trauma to many men and women. Think for example of the attacks on women caused by the Scottish government’s Gender Recognition Act – and the abuse that opponents of it, such as Joanna Cherry, have had to face.

Yet no discipline has been meted to those who push that offensive and belittling policy. How about the SNP politicians whose views against the monarchy have caused ‘distress and trauma’? Should they be disciplined?

Take the extraordinary example of Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader who broke with the longstanding SNP policy of not interfering with other jurisdictions in the UK by voting to impose abortion on Northern Ireland. Mr Blackford is astonishingly a member of the Free Church of Scotland, who also should have disciplined a member of the Church who goes against the teachings of Christ. Dear Ian – An Open Letter to Ian Blackford

Or take another well-known SNP politician, John Nicolson. In 2018 he felt perfectly free to accuse Christians on the island of Lewis of being ‘the Tartan Taliban’. In response to this I wrote an article in the Daily Mail in which I wrote of my concern “for a Scotland where the increasing power of the State is used to indoctrinate and enforce an intolerance of all who dare to question ‘Scotland’s values.'”

A Scottish Police State?

“Above all I am concerned for a Scotland where a centralised State police force is used to regulate our thoughts, morals and speech,” I added.

That situation is now coming to pass. When the party of government warns that you can have free speech, but you are not allowed to speak, or that you can have freedom of religion, but you are not allowed to express it, then we are in a deeply dangerous and divisive situation.

Mr Mason has been placed on a warning notice and told that “there must be no further breaches” in the next 24 months. But the SNP should also be warned. I know many Christians within the SNP and if the party continues on this bigoted and authoritarian route, then they could lose some of their biggest supporters and brightest stars.

Mocking God

Above all, they should be aware that God is not to be mocked – and that they are not God. There are many in Scotland who have not bowed the knee to the progressive Baals and who do not accept that the government has the right to determine our morals, thoughts and words.

The government can make laws; it cannot control our hearts. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are precious jewels that our ancestors fought and died for. We are not about to hand them over to a privileged elite who think that they alone can determine what we think, feel and do.

David Robertson leads The ASK Project in Sydney, Australia. He blogs at The Wee Flea.

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  1. Whilst I am well known by the folks who know me for being extremely anti snp, for too many reasons to mention here, I for once, am completely in agreement with Mason.. He is to be applauded for airing his Christian views publicly, whilst probably expecting the backlash of his snp colleagues. He is to be ‘disciplined’ shortly by the powers that be, so I have no doubt he will not be worried ! It’s about time some of the other so called Christians in the party publicly showed their beliefs. As I have said before in previous discussions on your blogs etc, I cannot understand how a Christian can be happy in the snp party. Whilst some may be of the opinion that there has to be a Christian element in the party, personally I think if one belongs to any political party they are displaying that they agree with most of the policies of the party. It’s comparable to the ministers who left the Church of Scotland because they could no longer be seen as agreeing to some of the recent policies of the Church. I know personally of one minister who did exactly that, and is now in the F.C.

  2. Phrases like “causing distress and trauma” and “imposing your views on others” are so vague and ambiguous that they’re impossible to disprove, largely because they depend on the subjective interpretation of the person making the complaint (even if that person is only hypothetical!)

    There’s no set of rules or conditions which the police or government have to prove you’ve contravened, or which they themselves can be pulled up on for contravening. It’s so transparently just an excuse to silence views those in power don’t want ordinary people to hear.

    Their entire approach is literally the playground taunt of “It’s OK when *I* do it!”. What a bunch of self-righteous moral cowards.

  3. Sturgeon’s support for Free Speech accords with that of the EU Government , that is to say , there is none.

  4. As a student nurse, I had the privilege of being with a lady all through her labour. I was an observer, so we spent alot of time chatting. This was her “first” delivery. Through most of her labour she shared with me about the baby she’d had aborted some 16 years earlier. This happiest day for her was filled with the memory of her abortion, and the baby she so unexpectedly still mourned. Tragic💔

  5. ‘As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’

    The end of Acts 24 perhaps opens the lid on why abortion industry supporters are so keen to shut up an SNP who is a pro-life evangelical. No other issue in modern Britain draws us to the immediate conflict between recreational sex on demand and the values Christians are called to live by. No moral topic takes us so quickly to the psalm 8 question [What is Man?].

    The Reformation allowed ordinary people space, even in their own homes, to study the Bible and make up their mind on the truth claims made. Today evangelicals have an equivalent choice with the internet.

    Why not direct friends or church contacts to ‘Anglicans for Life’ website? Even a small rural parish (or Church plant in the wilderness) might embrace this website and topic as a theme to use and share. And, if you live in Scotland, why not direct Church members to the NHS website’s “Dating Scan” (ultrasound at 12 weeks). Or purchase a few copies of the pamphlet Abortion Open Your Mouth for the Dumb by the moderator of the Australian Presbyterian Church.

    If I had £100 pounds to spend on the pro-life cause or the GLBT controversies, I would happily put every pound and penny on the former. Protestants have wasted a huge amount of time on same sex marriage debates and the like. Our position is plain-traditional marriage or celibacy. We should direct far more attention to the pro-life cause. Our opponents are running scared after Roe v Wade falling, and we need to organise ourselves better.

    Should we have one Sunday in January set aside each year, as a day to remember the unborn in prayer, on websites, in church magazines and in preaching?

    1. “The Reformation allowed ordinary people space, even in their own homes, to study the Bible and make up their mind on the truth claims made. ”
      There were limits to this new-found freedom. If you read the Bible and came to the conclusion that the doctrines of the Catholic Church were true then you had better keep those views to yourself. The celebration of the Mass was made illegal. Saint John Ogilvie (a former Calvinist) was executed in 1615 for being a Catholic priest.

    2. We just had it, on Dec 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, to commemorate the killing of children in and around Bethlehem in an attempt by Herod to kill the Christ-child.

  6. Please could you not refer to the pro-life witnessing as ‘protests’. At most of these events, all that people do is pray and hand out leaflets. There is no ‘protesting’.
    It is interesting to observe the contrast between the SNP’s reaction to Mr Mason’s statement and the reaction to the people who have held up anti-monarchist banners at events after the death of the Queen. I am sure that many (most?) people probably found the banners offensive and highly inappropriate but there has been much defending of their right to do so as a matter of free speech.

  7. According to the BBC, John Mason was disciplined for “for defending anti-abortion protests outside clinics.”

    There seem to be three issues at stake here.

    One is the freedom to protest – and the First Minister has said that a ban on protests near abortion clinics will happen.

    The second is the matter of is the behaviour of the protesters that John Mason observed, which he defended, but which some people considered to be harassment. Those who say that it is harassment, and should not be allowed seem to be saying that any protester who says something that criticises someone’s actions is guilty of harassment if the person who is being criticised is likely to pass near or witness the protest.

    The third is the matter of the SNP disciplining Mason for a Tweet – in which he merely defended the behaviour of some people. His defense of their behaviour is, apparently being described as imposing his views on other people – rather than merely stating his opinion. At least that, it seems to me, is what is being said. And if that is the case, it seems utterly bizarre to me.

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