A Blast against the Monstrous Regiment:

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Ewen McPherson
East Ayrshire

A Response to – Christianity in Scottish Politics, A Trinity Triptych from allymax

To the bulk of Scots yesterday, the impact of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI is limited to minor inconvenience as roads across the central belt are closed, and the loss of some of the programmes on the “national” broadcaster.

Ewen McPherson
East Ayrshire

A Response to – Christianity in Scottish Politics, A Trinity Triptych from allymax

To the bulk of Scots yesterday, the impact of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI is limited to minor inconvenience as roads across the central belt are closed, and the loss of some of the programmes on the “national” broadcaster.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for those Catholics in Scotland that the leader of their faith, the man whom they consider “Christ’s Vicar” has come here.

The Catholic Church has a notable place in the history of our land, and indeed, considers this Scotland to be “a special daughter of the Holy See”.  Neil Oliver’s excellent recently repeated programme on The History of Scotland painted the church as one of the driving forces behind the Bruce and the desire for independence in the 13th and 14th centuries.

But much of what Scotland is and perhaps what Scotland would want to be is defined by the Covenant, The Reformation and The Enlightenment.  There’s a lot that I can agree with in what allymax has said in his piece.  He (or she) points visibly to many of the differences between what we in Scotland consider to be right and what our Unionist brothers consider to be right.

He points out the facts of now generations of our people seemingly condemned to life in sink estates and dole queues.  He rails against the “mammon” of Westminister.  But that’s not a fact of religion, or of a lack of “Christian” morality in the politics of this land. 

Let’s not forget that all of the recent Prime Ministers of the UK have professed an active belief in the Christian God, (with the exception of John Major who kept notably quiet on his faith).  That Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have described themselves as “Christian Socialists”, and that American Presidents of both parties have clothed themselves in the rhetoric of fundamentalist Christianity.  They have used their professed belief to justify much that most Scots find anathema. 

I personally am an Atheist.  I am not an Atheist because I am a member of the SNP.  I am not a member of the SNP because I am an Atheist.  I am a member of the SNP because I believe that our best way forward lies in separation from a nation whose deepest mores, driving forces, social considerations and attitudes lie separate from Scots.

If you wish to believe, or not believe, in a divine being, then what does it matter?

I believe that church and religion should have no part of the state, and that an Independent Scotland should offer what I would best describe as ‘active neutrality’ towards whether or not our people wish to believe.

Do not conflate (to use that wonderful word) what many of what some people believe to be ‘right’, to being ‘right’ because it is one interpretation of what one of the world religions considers ‘right’ (Or one sect of one of the world religions.)  Do not consider a desire for Independence to be the same as a desire to implement a return to so-called ‘Christian’ values.  Yes, ‘We’ are not ‘They’ and ‘They’ are not ‘Us’.  Only 40% of Scots profess an ”active” faith. Some people would argue that figure higher, some lower. 

Most of us were “brought up” in the Church of Scotland or the Catholic Church but, in the words of the great Glaswegian Philosopher, William Connolly, “Avoid people who say that they Know The Answer.  Instead, keep the company of people who are trying to Understand The Question”.

It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, rich, poor, Hindu, Jew or Buddhist; we are all Jock Tamson’s Bairns. 

We want our country back.  Our banner the black and gold.  Not the Cross of Jesus.