Lost its way

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ATTENDING the General Assembly for what will be my last time after a gap of 20 years was a profoundly depressing experience and I can see why it is no longer televised live.

The Church of Scotland shows a total lack of moral courage in allowing its ministers to be in a same-sex marriage but insisting they must not conduct such a marriage ceremony.

It exports another “ethical problem” by allowing Swiss medics to help its parishioners dying in extremis but bitterly opposes such merciful release if it takes place in Scotland.

Attempts to indicate the scientific incoherence of its global warming alarmism are shouted down and green purity clearly trumps fuel poverty among the old and the vulnerable.

There is a moral obscurantism about this fading organisation and I look forward to the day when a cleric ignores its unctuous dictates and marries a gay couple in his congregation.

(Rev Dr) John Cameron,

Howard Place, St Andrews

I used to think of the Church of Scotland as Christian Church, located in Scotland. Now I think of it as an attempt to embody the values of secular Scotland in the external form of a church.

This conclusion is based on consistent and repeated evidence: every time contemporary popular values diverge from Biblical Christian principle, the Kirk follows the crowd. Where the Bible does not have any clear teaching to offer, the Kirk follows the crowd anyway.

Our so-called national church is happy to pay ministers who don’t believe in God, and deny Biblical teaching on sexuality and relationships, but can confidently affirm that we should remain in the EU and refrain from smacking children.

There is nothing wrong with social clubs, charity work, musical societies, left-leaning liberal campaigning organisations, philosophical discussion circles, or historical re-enactments – but, without Christian faith at the centre, they do not constitute a church.

Richard Lucas

Colinton, Edinburgh

Commons sense

Is there a case for the new deputy leader of the SNP to be an MP?

The debacle that has caused Stewart Hosie to step down in the autumn may prompt a number of misgivings.

Euan McColm reviewed the case for and against another Westminster representative taking up the post (Perspective-25 May) but the party would still be wise to choose one of Mr Hosie’s colleagues in the House of Commons.

This is on the grounds of maintaining its credibility in that Chamber. The reality is that the case for independence has to be fought on two fronts. Despite the much-publicised problems of a few of its contingent in the Commons, it must be taken seriously as a force there. That can only happen if one of their number holds one of the very highest posts in the party hierarchy.

It is not getting the opinion poll ratings for a fresh independence vote that it would have liked. There is a chance that morale could plummet unless someone can take the lead on organisation whilst first Minister Nicola Sturgeon gets on with running Scotland. It needs someone with the organisational flair to keep up the morale of both the activists north of the border and the House of Commons pressure group.

We shall see if it is mature enough to do that.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Privacy issues

Nicola Sturgeon is reported in the press as saying in regards to the break-up of Stewart Hosie and Shona Robison’s marriage that: “These are difficult issues to deal with. Obviously and most importantly they’re difficult issues for Stewart and Shona. They are fundamentally personal and private issues.”

Yet for us ordinary folk, through the implementation of the named person scheme, separation and marriage break-up will be noted on chronologies, shared and discussed between practitioners, its impact on our children will be measured and judged on a continual basis with the “professionals” butting in with support and advice that we must accept whenever they feel our child’s wellbeing is compromised by these “fundamentally personal and private issues”.

Lesley Scott

Tullylumb Terrace, Perth

Sad reflection

Kenny MacAskill’s explanations of what went on behind the scenes over the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi demonstrate that few covered themselves in glory in this murky affair (MacAskill says government sought Megrahi deal, 25 May).

Indeed, the more Mr MacAskill says on the matter, the more he seems to dig a bigger hole for himself and the Scottish Government at the time. He tries to pass blame on to others, mentioning the UK, the US, the UN and even, incongruously, Nelson Mandela, as having a hand in the various deals being proposed.

Mr MacAskill says he did contemplate a range of incentives to do a deal but ultimately decided not to. His subsequent rush to release Megrahi, after only scant consideration of the available medical evidence, leaves the unpleasant sense that it was as much about embarrassing the UK government at the time, as it was to do with compassion for someone near the end of their life.

Ultimately of course the many relatives of those caught up in the Lockerbie tragedy had to watch as the three months left to live rationale was revealed as a travesty, when Megrahi went on to live for nearly three more years.

While some, including a minority of the families of those who were lost, felt Megrahi was either innocent or at least a small player in a much bigger conspiracy, he was nevertheless a convicted mass murderer. Kenny MacAskill’s new revelations mean this episode and his involvement in it, will continue to reflect badly on a Scottish justice system that is normally held in such high regard.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire

In perspective

The reaction to events at Saturday’s Cup final is becoming ridiculous and that has to include your always readable columnist Brian Monteith. What happened at Hampden was hardly the end of civilisation as we know it.

I have over many years seen real street violence in Belfast and Hampden was tame stuff by comparison. Yes, there were some fights at the Rangers end but nobody appears to have ended up in hospital though regrettably a Rangers supporter was, many hours after the game,badly hurt in an attack on him at Haymarket station.

No doubt there will in due course be arrests and charges but talk of severe sanctions against Hibernian FC seems excessive, given what some Rangers fans have got away with over the years, including a provocative pitch invasion at Easter Road which went unanswered by the home support.

I must declare an interest here. I am a Hibernian supporter of long standing and at the final whistle on Saturday I, along with my sons, joined a joyful pitch invasion to acclaim our long-awaited victory.

Ian S Wood

John Street, Edinburgh

Power play

Beatrice offshore windfarm, Scotland’s biggest and most expensive, is now going ahead (Scotsman, Tuesday).

Before the public get too excited, they should know what Sir David MacKay, ex-chief scientific advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said recently about renewable energy 
during his final interview before his sad and untimely death.

He stated that there is an “appalling delusion” about the potential for renewables to power the UK, which is “dangerous”. When asked how much wind and solar power the UK should have he replied “almost zero”.

Geoff Moore

Braeface Park, Alness

Wrong target?

Martin Dempster is now appealing to the social consciences of the Muirfield members but it was the R&A who have decided that the Open will not be coming to East Lothian.

Perhaps Mr Dempster should redirect his fire. He could maybe start by asking the R&A why men and women only clubs are OK at Open venues St Andrews and Carnoustie but not at Muirfield or Troon.

Charles Herd

Gullane, East Lothian

Star turn

What does the RSNO have to do to get five stars? Last Friday’s concert seemed to get a rave review, and rightly so, from Susan Nickalls yet only four stars.

I listened again last night to the recording of the Saturday concert in Glasgow and in my opinion it could not have been better, the pianist and the orchestra excelled themselves in every section, the woodwind solos beautifully done especially the cor anglais after the big climax in the first movement, dynamics and tempi all perfectly in place. I would have given it ten stars but “grumps” thinks otherwise – shame on you!

Ernest Bell

Bangholm Terrace, Edinburgh

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