Freedom of, and from, religion are essential parts of democratic freedom

Scotland’s religious establishment has come together to call for special recognition for religion in any possible constitution that might come about should Scotland vote in favour of independence in the referendum on 18 September 2014

ESS argues that there is no need for any special recognition of religion. Freedom of expression and freedom of organisation are essential rights of all citizens in a democratic system – whether actually existing or possibly existing in the future. There is no need in such a system for any religious denomination to have any further privilege that is not enjoyed by all citizens and organisations.

ESS supports the Secular Charter of the National Secular Society. It seeks to implement it in Scotland and the UK today and in any constitutional changes that may occur.

The National Secular Society campaigns for a secular state, where:

There is no established state religion.

Everyone is equal before the law, regardless of religion, belief or non-belief.

The judicial process is not hindered or replaced by religious codes or processes.

Freedom of expression is not restricted by religious considerations.

Religion plays no role in state-funded education, whether through religious affiliation of schools, curriculum setting, organised worship, religious instruction, pupil selection or employment practices.

The state does not express religious beliefs or preferences and does not intervene in the setting of religious doctrine.

The state does not engage in, fund or promote religious activities or practices.

There is freedom of belief, non-belief and to renounce or change religion.

Public and publicly-funded service provision does not discriminate on grounds of religion, belief or non-belief.

Individuals and groups are neither accorded privilege nor disadvantaged because of their religion, belief or non-belief.

The statement by some of Scotland’s religious leaders, who represent at most about half the population can be found at

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