Church divided over 'a secular Scotland'

A Yes vote for independence will lead to Scotland becoming a secular state, a leading Presybterian minister has warned.

However, the views of the former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland Rev Dr John Ross have been challenged by fellow clergy.

His is one of four papers released by the Free Church on Christianity in post-referendum Scotland, which are due to be considered in its General Assembly in Edinburgh later this month.

The Free Church has said it will not be telling its members how to vote.

But Mr Ross, the Glenurquhart and Fort Augustus minister says in his paper: "The Nationalist White Paper states that in an independent Scotland no change will be made 'to the legal status of any religion or of Scotland's churches'. This is dishonest. The Yes campaign is not just asking us to vote for an independent Scotland but for a secular Scotland. The aim of the SNP is a secular constitution rigorously pluralist that gives every religious tradition equal status. He says "in an independent Scotland, as a matter of public policy, and for the first time since the Reformation, Christianity will be deprived of its status as the national religion."

 

But Skye minister Rev Gordon Matheson does not agree. He said: "Whilst it could be argued that a 'yes' vote would lead to a secular Scotland, similarly a 'no' vote will leave us with a secular Britain. Most of us feel far more connected to Holyrood than we do to Westminster, and I believe it will be easier for Christians to have a say in society in an independent Scotland."

Source: Herald Scotland