Do religious leaders represent the views of the adherents of their sects?

Holyrood must listen to all views on new Bill – letter in the Scotsman 27 January 2015.

the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee will today take evidence from a range of religious leaders, many of whom are out of touch with the views and beliefs of their members.Humanist Society Scotland challenges religious objections to the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill. Under the 2010 Equality Act, religion and belief are to be treated equally. Despite this, the Scottish Parliament has decided to take evidence from a panel made up of religious leaders separately from other secular organisations.

A BMJ 2013 survey on assisted suicide found that the attitudes of members of certain religious groups was significantly out of step with the official position of that religion. The survey found that 61 per cent of Presbyterians (such as the Church of Scotland) were in favour of assisted suicide; 56 per cent of Catholics and 72 per cent of Anglicans also supported a change in the law to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives. The same survey found that less than 0.02 per cent of respondents said they look to religious leaders for guidance on assisted suicide, versus 65 per cent who said they look to science and their own reason and intuition.

Gary McLelland, Humanist Society Scotland  –

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