Category Archives: Campaigns

Endorse John Finnie’s Bill to end anti-democratic religious privilege

Its time to make your voice heard in one of the most important debates in Scottish Politics at the moment.

John Finnie MSP (pictured right) has launched a consultation on a Bill to remove religious privilege.  The Bill will do four things:

  • to remove the obligation on local authorities to appoint religious representatives to Education Committees;
  • to remove the right of unelected members of local authority committees to vote;
  • to require the full results of local authority voting to be published;
  • to require remote access to the public proceedings of local authorities.

It is imperative that all of us put forward our views, and any thoughts we have on the Bill to John.  This is the first time since 1999 that the Scottish Parliament has been in a place to end the centuries old religious privilege in Scotland, we would urge everyone to support this Bill.

These are three easy ways that you can do this:

1) ESS has created a handy online form which we will use to collate responses and send off to John Finnie.  To do this, click here.

2) You can email John directly at john.finnie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk.

3) If you want to keep it retro, you can write to John Finnie at:
John Finnie MSP
Room M3.19
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Also, please use this widget below to write you your local representatives and urge them, and their Parties to support the Bill.  Just type in your postcode, and follow the instructions.

writetothem.com

Colin Emerson & Norman Bonney present the ESS petition to The Scottish Parliament

Concerns about school prayers raised in Scottish Parliament and with Edinburgh City Councillors

Edinburgh Secular Society’s  second Petition Bulletin concerning the petition to hold a local ballot to end prayers in Edinburgh schools highlights concerns about religious observance in Scottish schools raised by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council as well as by ESS.

END, NOT AMEND, SCOTTISH SCHOOL PRAYERS

This Bulletin has been sent to all elected members in Edinburgh.

Second Petition Bulletin.

Bill submitted to Scottish Parliament that would abolish religious representatives on education committees

Originally posted on secularism.org.uk: Wed, 06 Nov 2013 10:39

Bill submitted to Scottish Parliament that would abolish religious representatives on education committees

An independent Member of the Scottish Parliament, John Finnie, has given his support to a campaign to remove the legal right of religious groups to vote on education matters on local council committees.

Mr Finnie has submitted a Private Member’s Bill that seeks to remove the mandatory involvement of religious representatives on these committees.

Read More →

Remembrance Sunday: The secular origins and significance of the Cenotaph

Originally posted on secularism.org.uk: Tue, 05 Nov 2013 14:58

New paper calls for secular ceremony of remembrance at the Cenotaph

A new academic paper examining the origins of the Cenotaph and the ceremonies surrounding it has questioned the role of the Church of England at the annual ceremony of remembrance at the Cenotaph, and calls for the event to be made more inclusive.

A new academic paper examining the origins of the Cenotaph and the ceremonies surrounding it has questioned the role of the Church of England at the annual ceremony of remembrance at the Cenotaph, and calls for the event to be made more inclusive.

Read More →

Edinburgh Secular Society challenges undemocratic religious representatives

Click here to sign our petition.

handsred

Edinburgh Secular Society Vice-chair Colin Emerson has submitted a petition to The Scottish Parliament to ask it to instruct The Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to remove the legislation which places a requirement on the all 32 local authorities in Scotland to appoint three ‘religious representatives’ to their education committees.

Read More →

Edinburgh Secular Society meet with representatives of the Church of Scotland

On Friday 27th September 2013, Gary McLelland, Colin Emerson and Norman Bonney (Chair, Vice-chair and Honorary President of Edinburgh Secular Society) met with representatives of the Church of Scotland at their offices in George St, Edinburgh. Present from the Kirk were Ewan Aitken (Secretary of Church & Society Council), Sally Fulton-Foster (Convener of Church & Society Council) and Sandy Fraser (Convener of Education Committee).

Read More →

Edinburgh Secular Society publish updated Religious Reps data

View data here.

Edinburgh Secular Society has updated its published list of Religious Representatives.  This includes the details of another 5 un-elected reps, bringing the total to 96.

These religious reps are full members of their respective Education Committees, and entitled to full voting rights and expenses.

Edinburgh Secular Society has chosen to publish this data for two reasons, firstly, as these representatives hold a public office, it is only fair that the people know who they are.  Secondly, Edinburgh Secular Society wants to draw the attention of the public at large to this undemocratic religious privilege.

Church and State…or not! – Blog by Cllr Paul Edie

Cllr Edie wrote the following blog post, after hearing evidence from Edinburgh Secular Society on the ESS backed campaign to remove RO in non-denominational schools.

“Today, so far, has been about religion. The councils petitions committee has been considering petitions for and against religious observance in non denominational schools.

We had well argued cases on all sides of the divide ranging from the secular society’s view that they should allow religious education, but not observance, even if it included all faiths and humanists, to a very woolly stance taken by the Church of Scotland representative that most of the committee  struggled to understand.

In France and the USA you have political and public traditions which carefully and clearly separate church and state but the UK is not like that. Here there has been a long standing Christian tradition (and indeed a long standing but less voluble humanist tradition too).

The Scottish Parliament has a moment of reflection for all faiths and none bringing in leaders of each community including humanist celebrants  in turn to  speak to MSP’s.

I personally favour that diverse approach.

My memory dredged up one incident relating to religion in schools immortalised by the late Matt McGinn.”

 

http://pauledie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/church-and-stateor-not.html

ESS gives evidence to Edinburgh council asking for removal of religious observance in city schools

ESS’s Professor Norman Bonney & Veronica Wikman, alongside National Secular Society spokesman Alistiar McBay give evidence to the City of Edinburgh Council’s Petitions Committee.

Post Navigation