There is an old saying which says the politics and religion don’t mix.
I would from experience and my knowledge, dispute such a statement absolutely. Not only do politics and religion mix, they have never stopped mixing!
It would I feel be much more appropriate to say that politics and religion should never mix. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you might try to stop them, politicians and religious leaders simply can’t resist trampling over each others ground. Such is the way its aye bin, and such is the way it aye will be!
This past year has seen a fair bit of such poaching and straying onto each others turf going on.
We have had some Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Free Church, and Muslims kicking up a stink over the prospect of gay marriage being made legal in Scotland, and one former SNP leader reprimanding the current SNP administration and threatening that if they vote such a thing through, then they would see this mob of Religious people voting against an Independent Scotland! In effect this is nothing more than attempted blackmail, and shame on them for it!
Next up we had the furore over the Sectarian football Bill, with both Rangers and Celtic supporters kicking up a stink because they were being denied their right to shout and spit religious sectarian bile at each other!
In this Instance protestant Rangers supporters attacked the SNP and vowed to fight these Catholic sympathisers and stand up for Union Jack and Queen as they fought for their right to pour dodgy historical bigoted crap at their Celtic Catholic enemies.
Meanwhile I saw Instances of Scots born Irish Republican Catholic Celtic supporters, withdrawing their support from the protestant loving SNP and vowing to vote against Scottish Independence because they had their right to sing their songs against the other mob.
At this point I was wondering If everyone was living in some sort of warped parallel universe?
Irish Republicans voting for the British State, and being staunch supporters of a Labour party which stands fully for its continuation, while at the same time wishing rid of the British establishment in Northern Ireland to create a United Ireland. What are these people on???
The Orange Presbyterian’s are much easier to understand, they have always been the pawn of the British Royalty and Empire, and used as a willingly decisive force to maintain British Rule. But given that this mob while making up a sizeable minority in the club, are still a minority none the less, what are Scottish secular Rangers supporters doing, buying into this rubbish? Honestly, I wonder if there is some common viral disease which effects both sides, with religion a political pawn in the middle.
During the recent council elections, we heard reports from people who were in attendance at an Irish protestant church in Glasgow, that the Labour Leader promised easing of restrictions on Orange Order walks in return for the Orange Order supporting Labour in Glasgow. And verily thus it did come to pass.
At the time of the Jubilee Celebrations, with nearly 10,000 street parties in England and Wales, there were only 60 in Scotland, and twenty of these were subsidised by Glasgow Labour council and run by the Orange Order. Yet Janus faced mob that Labour are, were telling Catholics in Coatbridge that an intended SNP councillor had tweeted something about the case of the Catholic Midwives who were fighting the health board about having to be on duty when abortions were scheduled in their ward. Thereby according to Labour who were actively canvassing Orange Order support in Glasgow, were using the religious card to denounce SNP for alleged anti Catholicism in Lanarkshire!! A clear case of politics using and abusing religion.
Which brings us up to this past week, where we have seen more religious/political interplay.
First up the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland coming out with statements to the following;
“The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has claimed independence would weaken the position of the Christian church “at the heart of the nation”.
It said the Treaty of Union secured the Protestant religion and Presbyterian church and any change “would be a provocation of God”.
Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland spokesman, the Rev Allan MacColl, told BBC Alba that religion and morality were in a “terrible” state across Britain.
He said: “But present constitutional arrangements guarantee Christian religion in its position at the heart of the nation, and defends the position of the church and the Bible clearly teaches that.”It is the duty of all nations to recognise the position of Christ church and any move away from that would not only be dangerous for the church, it is dangerous for the people.”
The Rev MacColl added: “We are very uneasy about any move to secularize, or even change the existing arrangements.”
He said the church could not tell people how to vote in a referendum on independence, but could warn them”
Ok, its time for me to put some cards on the table here.
My great great grand uncle the Reverend Donald Macfarlane was the founder of the Free Presbyterian Church. My Great great Grandfather got thrown out of Islay for making illegal whisky, I had a Great Aunt who was a nun in Rome, and I myself am an ordained minister of religion, with degrees in psychology and sociology, theology, and a masters degree in the same subject. I am no longer an active church minister having given up on organised religion 5 years ago.
So I feel I am better placed than most to answer this representative of the church my forebear founded.
With Scotland now being for some time mostly secular, the statement “The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has claimed independence would weaken the position of the Christian church “at the heart of the nation”. Is frankly nonsense, it has been a long time since any Christian Church could make such a statement, and that is as part of the Union, so Independence will not alter these circumstances one jot.
“It said the Treaty of Union secured the Protestant religion and Presbyterian church and any change “would be a provocation of God”
Actually the treaty of Union created State sponsored Sectarianism,with a Catholic never to be permitted to take the Crown again, nor for a Monarch to marry one.. If that is not an affront and provocation to God and the basic tenets of Christianity I don’t know what is?
“”But present constitutional arrangements guarantee Christian religion in its position at the heart of the nation, and defends the position of the church and the Bible clearly teaches that.”It is the duty of all nations to recognise the position of Christ church and any move away from that would not only be dangerous for the church, it is dangerous for the people.”
Actually the present constitutional arrangements guarantee no such thing, nor could it in the modern world. Its all very well for him to reference the bible, but any reference without specific notation of scriptural authority, s but an empty unsupported claim.
The only established Church in Britain is the Church of England, and that is certainly anything but Presbyterian, thus he talks nonsense.
The relationship between Church and State is enshrined in Scots Law, and Independence will not make any change to that position.
In effect in Scots Law, the Church is entirely separate of State and is disestablished not established, and it is that disestablishment which protects it from State interference!
Thus for the Free Presbyterian Church to attempt to Influence its adherents to vote against Scottish Independence on such false authority is disingenuous in the least, and lacks any credibility which they might hope to have by putting State and British Nationalism before any adherence to God. Now they should know more than most what the Bible says its not a terribly great idea to take the Lords name in vain!!
I am not sure what my forebear would make of their sloppiness, but his great great grand nephew doesn’t think much of it at all.
Now lastly, we come to the fabricated stooshie and faux outrage for the Unionist parties, and in particular the Lib Dems who have been shouting more than most about pandaring to the Chinese over the Dalai Lamas visit. They have been outraged that Alex Salmond who is in California at present hasn’t been here to welcome him, and that no Scottish Government official is meeting him, and that seemingly the SNP leader of Dundee Council is not making a speech now, because he is at a family funeral..How dare he be at a funeral! It doesn’t matter that he will be coming from the funeral to meet the Dalai Lama.
Nor do they take account that no leader of any party will be in their political capacity when the the presiding officer welcomes him to Holyrood.Nor do they take into account that no British Government or Scottish Office minister will be meeting him on this visit.
Nor do they take into account that the Dalai Lama gave up his political role over a year ago, and that role now belongs to the president of the Tibetan Government in Exile, and that the Dalai lama is simply here in a pastoral capacity.
There is no word of course about the SNP led Highland Council welcoming the Dalai Lama at an Official Reception in the Town House in Inverness on Saturday.
No, of course little facts like that simply don’t sit right with their outrage!
In short, politics will always try to make capital of religion and religious differences, and Religion will always try to get their views stamped on politics and government….A plague upon both their houses…. I have neither time nor patience for the manipulative pettiness of either camp.