Government funded report risks creating divide in Scotland

July 10, 2014

The new Faith & Belief in Scotland report concludes there is a danger from “a new sectarianism” between those people of faith and those with none.

On BBC Radio Scotland’s Drive Time programme this evening (Thursday 10th July), Humanist Society Scotland Chief Executive, Douglas McLellan said the report’s authors are in danger of creating a problem that isn’t there.

There was, and in places, there still remains a sectarian divide within Scotland, one that humanists, like all reasonable people, deplore. The history of discrimination against Catholics is well documented, and the use of the word raises associated fears of personal and communal violence, as well as discrimination in many forms. It is not at appropriate to apply it to Scotland today.

The report itself bears that out. 65% of respondents felt that Scotland accepts a diversity of religions and beliefs, and 72% feel comfortable manifesting their religion or belief.

McLellan says, “The Humanist Society Scotland campaigns for a secular state, where everyone is equal before the law, freedom of expression is guaranteed, the state is neutral, and nobody is privileged – or disadvantaged – because of their religion, belief or non-belief.

We would welcome more opportunities for dialogue between different groups in Scotland, but highlighting sectarianism as the report does, risks creating a divide that isn’t there”

 

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