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Published by jack elliot

The Threat to Religious Freedom in Scotland

 Religious freedom is the bedrock of all other freedoms. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press.

Religious freedom is not the freedom to disobey the law or be exempt from the law because of your religion. You are not free to abuse children if your religion permits you to do so.

Religious freedom must be for all. 

Religious freedom includes freedom from religion. There should be no coercion in real Christianity. Certainly not by the State.

 

There is an increase in anti-Semitism. There are Muslims who if they change their faith have to go into hiding.  And we have already seen the Ahmadis speak here.  There are Christian people whose jobs are threatened because of their faith.

But overall religious people are not persecuted in Scotland today. At least not in the sense of being jailed, fined or executed for their faith. When we see what is happening in many areas of the world, especially to Christians, then it would be foolish to complain of persecution. However, you are all aware that the way to boil a frog is very slowly. Put it into tepid water and gradually heat it up. In the same way, my concern is that whilst we do not experience the kind of persecution that is so often the norm for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, there is a danger that through a ‘salami tactics’ slice-by-slice, discrimination is increasing against Christians.

Christianity is being subtly “silenced” within the public sector in the UK because of a civil service culture that treats speaking about faith as “not the done thing”.
    – What we’re witnessing is a silent war on religion. In the 21st century, there is the creeping criminalisation of certain religious views and an undermining of religious groups’ right to organise themselves, and those who are voluntarily part of their community of faith, in what they consider to be the most fitting way. Religious people’s ability to express themselves publicly is being undermined, and their ability to organise themselves around their faith — such as by having schools and other agencies to propagate their views among their followers — is being undermined too.

 ““For too long we have been a passively tolerant society, saying as long as you obey the law we will leave you alone” – David Cameron. 

  Since when was it the business of government to interfere in people’s lifes, outwith the law?   This is what happens when the proper relationship between church and state is not understood, and when the state thinks that it is God –with the ability and right to control the thoughts, words and actions of its citizens.   

 

 

 

 

a) Freedom of Speech – in reality as well as in words

b) Freedom of Ideas – there must be the freedom to discuss and to hear ideas that one disagrees with and others might find offensive.

c) Freedom of religion – which involves a whole lot more than an acknowledgement that we have the right to worship and serve God in private. We also have the right to be involved in the public square.

All political parties in this parliament should give an assurance that Christians and others are welcome to participate within them and in the political process, without discrimination. Political leaders should discourage the use of social media to intimidate and abuse those who are believers and who might have different value systems. Social media has become the 21st Century equivalent of the 19th Century mob.

 

If we do not defend,

maintain and promote these freedoms

whilst we have them,

then we will find that once we have lost them,

it will be too late.

 

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