Separation of Church and State

The Church of England is the established religion of England and in Scotland we have “The Kirk”. This is manifest most obviously in the unelected Bishops’ seats in the House of Lords. Religious ideas and morality are not shared by everyone and with the increase of people declaring no religious faith or a different faith it is wrong that this influence should be exercised by any religion far less one denomination of Christianity.

The state should have no power to dictate to religion nor should religion dictate to the state. The government should not fund religious activity through tax benefits or in any other way.

Because of national and local secularist pressure The City of Edinburgh Council has joined the growing list of councils who have removed prayers from the agenda of their meetings. Christian worship is unwelcoming to prospective councillors of other religious faiths and those who have none, all of whom should participate in our democracy.

The Scottish parliament has a weekly “Time for Reflection” event which is a short talk given to the chamber by visiting speakers. We have no problems with our politicians devoting small amounts of time to a philosophical consideration of the bigger picture of things but records show the grossly unrepresentative extent to which these meditations are led by religious representatives, mainly Christians at that. “Time for reflection” should mean much more than “Time for religious reflection”.

The NHS runs a ‘chaplaincy’ service paid for by the taxpayer. Patients with a religious faith must be free to access such a service but it should be funded by the religions involved, not by the State.

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