Secular danger

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Needless to say, Neil Barber (Letters, 9 October) as one of Scotland’s tiny band of committed secularists, would love to see the Scouts drop references to “God” in their joining oath.

As to why secular activist bodies should be seeking to comment on voluntary associations, which are not part of any state or public apparatus, is ­unclear.

It is certainly true that if readers consult distinguished works on modern European history, (such as Iron Curtain, by Anne Applebaum) they will note that the Soviet authorities in the 1940s and 1950s were eager gradually to remove Christian teachers from schools. They closed down Christian-linked youth associations and replaced them with organisations more ideologically befitting the socialist and secular polities of Stalinist Hungary, East Germany, Poland etc. Mr Barber should shy away from following this precedent.

The small but zealous coterie of secularists in Scotland are determined, it seems to some observers, to make sure that young minds are not exposed to Christianity in school or outside.

Mr Barber always plays the numbers game and repeatedly says that the recent census indicates that only 32 per cent of the Scottish population has any link to the Church of Scotland. He should be reminded that this still amounts to several hundred thousand members and that Christianity, as a whole, appears to have two million adherents in Scotland. With his estimated 30 members, on whose behalf is it that Neil Barber claims to speak? 

Gus Logan

North Berwick

IN SOME cases it can be quite reasonable for a Christian charity to only deploy Christians in certain roles. Such organisations might regard spiritual care, shared values and Christian community as crucial aspects of their work.

If Christopher Orrett (Letters, 11 October) regards this as an injustice, how much more must he be stirred by the many cases where Christian are being excluded from, not voluntary work, but paid employment ­because of their beliefs.

Having an entirely negative creed, secularists expend their considerable resources of time and energy on attacking expressions of religion and religious organisations. Meanwhile, countless Christian charities quietly fulfil their calling to serve those in need.

Secularism is indeed, on one definition, about the separation of religious bodies from the state, but most Scottish secularism seems to be just a pretext for anti-religious campaigning. 

At the extreme of Scottish secularism we find the Scottish Secular Society, which is clearly driven by fierce hostility towards religion. Its spokespeople, such as Mr Orrett, present a civil front in public, but, reading what their key figures write online, a more unsavoury side seems evident.

Richard Lucas

Colinton

Edinburgh