Room for a view

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Sally Foster-Fulton’s article on the destructive power of intolerance (Friends of The Scotsman, 6 February) is a piece of distilled wisdom, long overdue but highly topical.

Much of what she describes is simply intransigence, which is at the core of much bitterness, hardens attitudes and divides people often separated by relatively minor differences.

Mediation should be the answer to this but Foster-Fulton’s experience with the Secular Society is unsurprising. Its suspicious approach and didactic views typify the problems facing all would-be mediators.

Unfortunately, the task of the peace-maker has been one with Sisyphus over the centuries.

Peter Laidlaw

Bramdean Rise

Edinburgh

We agree that tolerance and discussion are essential for the future of Scotland, which is why we find it so disappointing that when we tried to meet her to discuss exactly that, Sally Foster-Fulton did not return our calls.

Just as the Church of Scotland does not represent the view of every Christian in Scotland, neither does the small local group she met represent every secularist. If the Church of Scotland genuinely wishes to find mutual respect and tolerance, it first needs to start talking. We are ready when they are.

Garry Otton

Scottish Secular Society

Broughton Street

Edinburgh

Reverend Sally Foster-Fulton laments that secularists want to “silence” the religious voice.

Secularism defends the expression of everyone, including religious believers, but all must compete on the strength of their ideas.

I have debated with Sally on a few occasions and I know she genuinely believes in pluralism and that Christianity is one of many ways to enlightenment.

Alas, her liberal voice simply does not represent much of the Church of Scotland, who are losing ministers and congregations daily on the basis of their leadership’s views on gay ministers and the proposed rebranding of religious observance in schools to “Time for Reflection”.

She claims to want to help school children “explore commonly held values such as fairness, forgiveness and love” and yet she adds: “It is an expression of our faith that churches partner with their local schools.”

The church must have a right to speak but it doesn’t speak for all.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Saughtonhall Drive

Edinburgh