Faith and works
Richard Lucas (Letters, 23 October) complains about taxpayers’ money being used to fund campaigning for gay groups.
He conveniently ignores the fact that the government has this year set aside some £38 million for churches to pay lower VAT rates for repairs on their buildings, from the pulpits of which Christian ministers promote the message that Mr Lucas wants to proclaim regarding homosexuality.
The government also underwrites the whole cost of allowing some of Scotland’s – and the rest of the UK’s – educational estate to be used to explain directly to children that “some people think that embarking on a homosexually active lifestyle is not a wise option, etc”.
As a taxpayer, I conclude therefore that I would not need to fund the likes of Stonewall if I was not also promoting, against my will, prejudice and discrimination against gay people through funding the churches to a much greater degree. Will Mr Lucas agree with me that, in return for not funding Stonewall, the government will not fund the churches through concessions in the tax and education systems?
National Secular Society
Richard Lucas wants parents to decide when and how youngsters are introduced to homosexuality. Be my guest.
I look forward to hearing their response when he snubs scientific understanding of homosexuality to explain to them at the Edinburgh school where he teaches that a “homosexually active lifestyle” is a “choice”; (Letters, 23 October) that “homosexual sex is immoral”, or when he claims: “I encourage those with homosexual urges to choose celibacy or to seek to change their orientation” (Letters, 28 June).
Or should we just wait until another young person takes their own life?
I don’t agree with Richard Lucas’s letter but he is certainly right about one thing: “The Scottish Government uses our money to try to influence our religious and moral beliefs.”
This is very true, and it is happening all over Scotland in every state school, due to the religious observance requirement that is imposed on all children and which nobody can opt out of without being seriously disadvantaged.
This requirement is exploited by some non-denominational schools to pursue a confessional approach, which borders on or can be described as outright religious indoctrination.
It also opens the school gates to proselytising organisations like Scripture Union Scotland, which targets children and young people and whose ambition it is to make children “decide to follow Jesus… for all of their lives”.
Why is the danger of religious indoctrination in education never debated in Scotland? As a comparison, this topic has been discussed in several government documents and two parliamentary debates in Sweden, according to the website of the Swedish parliament.
But, disappointingly, a similar search on the Scottish Parliament website reveals a deafening silence on this subject.
As much as I appreciate the sound of silence, I don’t think the Scottish Parliament is the right place for it, and certainly not on such an important topic.
Angus Logan (Letters, 23 October) discusses how The Scotsman letters page prints a wide variety of opinions including those of secularists whom he disparagingly describes as “a tiny cell”.
The Suffragettes were a small campaigning group, too. Not everyone threw themselves under a horse but no-one would deny their importance in bringing about an important and long overdue social change.
Secularism strongly defends private religious freedom but the tag of “aggressive” and complaints about being “sidelined” come when we object to the religious assumption that their freedom must also extend to ownership of our shared public institutions.
Dr Mary Brown’s “veneration” of Jesus (Letters, 23 October) does not seem to include heeding his words about judgment and the afterlife. She does not really venerate Jesus, but just uses him as blank canvas on which to project her own views.
Angela Innes (Letters, same day) claims that “you don’t need to be religious to be a good person”. Christianity, on the other hand, relies on our admission that we are not “good people”, but fallen and sinful, in need of forgiveness and transformation.
She is correct, however, that “being religious does not necessarily make you a good person.” But Godly counsel and the work of the Holy Spirit moulding the character of the Christian do contribute to moral progress.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West