Faith and works

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Faith and works

Published on 24/10/2012 15:50

Richard Lucas (Letters, 23
October) complains about taxpayers’ money being used to fund campaigning for gay groups.

He conveniently ignores the fact that the government has this year set aside some £38 million for churches to pay lower VAT rates for repairs on their buildings, from the pulpits of which Christian ministers promote the message that Mr Lucas wants to proclaim regarding
homosexuality.

The government also underwrites the whole cost of allowing some of Scotland’s – and the rest of the UK’s – educational 
estate to be used to explain 
directly to children that “some people think that embarking on a homosexually active lifestyle is not a wise option, etc”.

As a taxpayer, I conclude therefore that I would not need to fund the likes of Stonewall 
if I was not also promoting, against my will, prejudice and discrimination against gay 
people through funding the churches to a much greater 
degree. Will Mr Lucas agree with me that, in return for not funding Stonewall, the government will not fund the churches through concessions in the tax and education systems?

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent

Edinburgh

Richard Lucas wants parents to decide when and how youngsters are introduced to homosexuality. Be my guest.

I look forward to hearing their response when he snubs scientific understanding of homosexuality to explain to them at the Edinburgh school where he teaches that a “homosexually active lifestyle” is a “choice”; (Letters, 23 October) that “homosexual sex is immoral”, or when he claims: “I encourage those with homosexual urges to choose celibacy or to seek to change their orientation” (Letters, 28 June).

Or should we just wait until another young person takes their own life?

Garry Otton

Secular Scotland

Broughton Street

Edinburgh

I don’t agree with Richard
Lucas’s letter but he is certainly right about one thing: “The Scottish Government uses our money to try to influence our
religious and moral beliefs.”

This is very true, and it is happening all over Scotland in every state school, due to the religious observance requirement that is imposed on all children and which nobody can opt out of without being seriously disadvantaged.

This requirement is exploited by some non-denominational schools to pursue a confessional approach, which borders on or can be described as outright religious indoctrination.

It also opens the school gates to proselytising organisations like Scripture Union Scotland, which targets children and young people and whose ambition it is to make children “decide to follow Jesus… for all of their lives”.

Why is the danger of religious indoctrination in education never debated in Scotland? As a comparison, this topic has been discussed in several government documents and two parliamentary debates in Sweden, according to the website of the Swedish parliament.

But, disappointingly, a similar search on the Scottish Parliament website reveals a deafening silence on this subject.

As much as I appreciate the sound of silence, I don’t think the Scottish Parliament is the right place for it, and certainly not on such an important topic.

Veronica Wikman

Malleny Avenue

Edinburgh

Angus Logan (Letters, 23 October) discusses how The Scotsman letters page prints a wide variety of opinions including those of secularists whom he disparagingly describes as “a tiny cell”.

The Suffragettes were a small campaigning group, too. Not everyone threw themselves under a horse but no-one would deny their importance in bringing about an important and long overdue social change.

Secularism strongly defends private religious freedom but the tag of “aggressive” and complaints about being “sidelined” come when we object to the religious assumption that their freedom must also extend to ownership of our shared public institutions.

Neil Barber

Saughtonhall Drive

Edinburgh

Dr Mary Brown’s “veneration” of Jesus (Letters, 23 October) does not seem to include heeding his words about judgment and the afterlife. She does not really venerate Jesus, but just uses him as blank canvas on which to project her own views.

Angela Innes (Letters, same day) claims that “you don’t need to be religious to be a good person”. Christianity, on the other hand, relies on our admission that we are not “good people”, but fallen and sinful, in need of forgiveness and transformation.

She is correct, however, that “being religious does not necessarily make you a good person.” But Godly counsel and the work of the Holy Spirit moulding the character of the Christian do contribute to moral progress.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

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