Leslie Thomson of the Scottish Secular Society (Letters, 9 June) is afraid that I am blinkering myself to “historical facts”, which apparently include the “fact” that “Scotland was a theocracy for 1,000 years, which left nothing but bloodshed and heartache in its wake”, that Christianity was rarely to anyone’s benefit and led to centuries of oppression and that Scots law was not based on Christianity but pre-Christian Roman law.
In a post-modern age this Alice-in-Wonderland view of history, where history is just what you want it to be, may ring true for the more fundamentalist secularists whose faith tells them that any public expression of religion is bad, but anyone who actually reads history would know that this is a grotesque and laughable caricature.
The Romans did not bring their law beyond Hadrian’s Wall, although Christians writers did adapt some aspects of Roman law (Christianity does, after all, teach about God’s common grace reaching to all human beings who are made in the image of God).
Theocracy is the rule of the state by the Church, and that clearly did not happen in the supposed “1,000-year reign”, although, as my letter pointed out, there have been those who have used Christianity for political ends and vice versa).
Ironically, Mr Thomson’s letter reinforces the point of my original Scotsman article, that if we remove Christianity from Scottish public life, we will end up with a state dominated by fundamentalist secularism with its extremist language and its rewriting of both the English dictionary and Scottish history.
Do we really want to sell our birthright for this Brave New World?
St Peter’s Free Church
St Peter Street
Pauline Weibye, secretary of the Council of Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is worried about the possibility of a secular constitution for Scotland (Letters, 9 June).
But all the various activities that the Church engages in which she outlines would still be legal and could continue in a secular state.
Secularism simply seeks the separation of church and state on the basis of the argument that religion should be entirely a matter of free expression and free association and that the state should not attempt to express and impose selective religious values on the population.
Such is the diversity of religious and philosophical views among the population that the state should be neutral on such matters and should ensure a level playing field between all points of view.
Religious denominations should be free to compete for the adherence of adults, but none should be given any favoured position by the state to gain adherence from minors.
They should be left to make up their minds as to whether to be religious or not, or to adhere to any sect of their choosing in adulthood unless their parents, family or others, but not the state, can influence them otherwise in their more tender years.
(Prof) Norman Bonney
Edinburgh Secular Society