Religious subsidy of the week–9. Scottish Government grant of £50,000 pa to the International Festival of Spirituality and Peace

The International Festival of Spirituality and Peace was rebranded in 2013 as the Just Festival (http://www.justjust.org). Centred in St John’s Church this part of the Edinburgh International Festival focuses on cultural and religious diversity. According to the website ‘In 2013 just Festival collaborated with over seventy faith groups, grassroots organisations and academic institutions to explore the work that is being done in Edinburgh on a local, national and international level to create sustainable peace for all based on compassion and justice’.

As well as £50,000 pa from the Scottish Government the festival receives support from the EU, Ekklesia, the Scottish Interfaith Council, Edinburgh Interfaith Council, Edinburgh Churches Together and the Scottish Episcopal Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order.

ESS has mixed views on this project. ESS is against state subsidies for religious denominations but the Just Festival contributes to the vitality of the Edinburgh Festival, the Edinburgh economy and tourism in Scotland (although the bank account is based in Bristol). To what extent the Festival achieves its laudable aims is questionable. Given the diverse sources of participants and supporters there does not seem to be a need for direct public funding from the Scottish Government since it also indirectly contributes also via the Scottish and Edinburgh Interfaith Councils.

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