Wider fears over gay marriage schism
Alex Salmond needs to remind Cardinal O’Brien that Scotland is a democratic country, not a theocracy.
Cardinal O’Brien’s arrogance, evident in his insistence that he has some veto over the legislative process that applies to everyone, not just Catholics, is breath- taking (your report, 20 August). The majority of the population, including many Catholics, are repelled by the Church hierarchy’s heartless bile on equal marriage.
The cardinal is also impeding religious liberty: liberal Christians and Jews wish to be able to celebrate gay marriages in their churches and synagogues. Who is the cardinal to say they cannot?
National Secular Society
You are to be congratulated for giving prominence to the breakdown in relationships between the First Minister of Scotland and the Cardinal Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh.
The breakdown in relationships between church and state is one that has appeared often throughout history and usually has enormous implications for both.
To many like myself, who have spent a lifetime knocking on doors in the west of Scotland, in particular reassuring Catholic residents that there is nothing to fear from the SNP, it is a personal tragedy. There clearly is something to fear from the SNP.
Despite the shabby assurances given by some politicians, I believe it is only a matter of time before a Swedish model emerges and we see the sacking of teachers, the jailing of clergy and the closing of churches for the “hate crime” of teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
It is still not too late to save freedom in this land and the independence project. It will mean many politicians having to take a stand against the secular liberal whizzkids who have hijacked the party.
The news that the ongoing conversations between the First Minister and the cardinal have been suspended on one item of business but presumably continue on others, and will go on anyhow between officials of the Church and the Scottish Government, reveals deep religious bias.
Nominal Catholics, many of whom don’t follow the teachings of the Church, only make up about an eighth of the Scottish population. Why should the Church’s leaders have such privileged access to government?
Do the First Minister and his officers speak as regularly with the representatives of the Humanist Society of Scotland that is now more significant than the Catholic Church in that it conducts more weddings?
Peter Kearney, the spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church, hits the nail on the head when he refers to the difficulty of conversing with the Scottish Government “when they consistently ignore all the points you make”.
This is exactly what is happening; no matter how many arguments are brought forward – from history, biology, common sense, religion, the uncharted future (or its own consultation) – the government is determined not to listen.
Its fundamentalist view that redefining marriage is the “right thing to do” apparently trumps all logic and reason. We might as well begin now to argue about whether multi-partner marriage should be legalised – but with no expectation that they will listen.
David J Randall
Cardinal O’Brien’s decision to terminate formal relationships with the First Minister as the result of the government’s proposed plans for “gay marriages” may to some appear extreme but, given that all other avenues have failed, I believe it was the right decision.
The situation raises a number of intriguing questions for those who subscribe to Machiavellian theory. Given that the First Minister states that he is on first-name terms with the cardinal, why was it responded to by the Deputy First Minister?
Could it be that the First Minister himself has doubts about the plans for such marriages? If the government is so convinced of its proposals, why will it not permit a referendum on this issue? Will MSPs be allowed a free vote according to their conscience?
Given that many MSPs purport to hold Christian or other religious beliefs on marriage and these will conflict with the proposed bill on marriage, will these MSPs place political interests before moral and religious beliefs, or are they afraid of the powerful gay minority?
This is not a question about members of the gay community having relationships recognised by a civil service (this I accept), but marriage should only be between humans of opposite genders.
Although I am not a member of any political party, I have been a firm supporter of independence for Scotland.
On this important moral issue, the government appears to have dismissed the wishes of the people.
Does this suggest that an independent Scotland will take up a Putin style of government. Or will it prove to be Mr Salmond’s “poll tax”?
Philip Dolan MBE
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