Cross purposes

The Rev Robertson (Letters, 13 November) accuses Edinburgh Secular Society of being unaware of the history of the Scottish 
education system.

Of course it’s true that the state took over the administration of most schools in 1872, however the vast majority of these schools had been funded by a local tax since the 1633 Education Act.

Since then, the responsibility and cost of running Scotland’s schools has fallen to the tax- payers of Scotland.

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Rev Robertson then suggests that a “deal” was done with the churches, which even more than a century later should not be subject to revision.

This is not how democracy works.

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The current schools system has, as Rev Robertson should know, changed dramatically since 1633, and there is no convincing legal argument why three places on local authority education committees should explicitly exclude non-religious people.

The truth is that the membership numbers quoted by Mr Otton and Rev Robertson are not accurate. Even if they were, it would not alter the merit of the argument.

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Rev Robertson may wish to resort to bully-boy, “my gang is bigger than you’re gang” tactics, but the Edinburgh Secular Society prefers to keep the debate at a higher level.

I can understand that Rev Robertson might be anxious about what he perceives as an attack on his religion.

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Let me assure him that this is not the intention of Edinburgh Secular Society.

I can also imagine that this frustration would be redoubled by his inability to form a coherent argument for why the current level of religious privilege in the education system should be maintained.

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Gary McLelland

Chair, Edinburgh Secular Society

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Duke Wynd


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David Robertson tries to belittle the Edinburgh Secular Society by mocking them for only having 30 members.

David Robertson’s Free Church has approximately 12,000 members in Scotland and Rev Robertson’s own congregation is about 50. So exactly who is it that David Robertson speaks for?

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There are about 32,000 denominations of Christianity around the world and many don’t share the dour, hard line fundamentalist brand that David Robertson preaches.

The fact is Scotland’s education system is secular and has been for 140 years.

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It is a retrograde step to force religion on children through education, especially in a country where the majority are non-church going

Alan Hinnrichs

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Gillespie Terrace