FRANKLIN Deleanor Roosevelt declared that there were four fundamental freedoms which should always and everywhere be viewed as rights and as such indispensable to human dignity – negative freedoms from want and fear, and positive freedoms of speech and worship.

There have been fears for freedom of speech in the current climate of woke conformism, and here in Scotland, as the fracas over Kate Forbes’ candidacy for leadership of the SNP makes clear, the Freedom of Worship is under threat.

Of course that will be denied, even as the new conformism of thought is imposed by the Greens as a party and by sections of the SNP, notably those who initially offered support to Ms Forbes but scuttled off when she used her freedom of speech to openly declare her own beliefs.

What is strange is that I heard her say that while she as a believing Christian holds to a moral code which makes same-sex marriage or having children outside wedlock immoral, she added that as a citizen she would accept the right of other people to behave differently, in accordance with laws approved by the national legislature.

I would wish she had expressed the second part of that statement more forcefully so as to eliminate all doubt, but perhaps it would have made no difference since, as the old saying has it, there’s nane sae deif as them that willnae hear.

And at this moment Scotland is blessed with deaf people in positions of power. Having reasonably good hearing, I heard a Greens’ spokesperson say that they could not support anyone with Ms Forbes’ views. What she actually said puts her in line with Jewish politicians who could say that they would themselves respect their faith’s dietary laws but not seek to outlaw the sale of pork. Would the Greens object to that?

We are faced, again, in Scotland with the task of de-theologising politics, an aim we thought we had accomplished with the virtual suppression of sectarianism. Let me bring forward in this debate one other great name for consideration, Gandhi, who advocated a secular state in India in the hope, regrettably unsuccessful, of finding a way to allow Hindus and Muslims to co-exist.

Can the new intolerant totalitarians in Scottish politics accept that objective, so that rigid woke adherents can co-exist with holders of faiths, whatever faith? And will Ms Forbes stay in the leadership race to defy the new intolerance?
(Professor) Joseph Farrell, Glasgow

Religion is not a trump card

THE unholy stooshie over the perceived dichotomy between religion and politics in Scotland demonstrates yet again just how quickly the intolerance and bigotry so endemic in our society become toxic.

In the context of Kate Forbes and her religious beliefs, Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, is right to say that what matters is that people do not impose their views – religious or otherwise – on others but instead respect their differences (“Church warns of damage to politics in Forbes faith row”, The Herald, February 23).

As befits his position, Mr Kearney is quick to stress that, under human rights legislation, religion is a protected characteristic, thus deserving of respect. True; but let’s keep that in perspective. A great many profoundly-held beliefs are enshrined under The Equality Act 2010 as protected characteristics. Some are religious. Others, such as humanism, secularism and atheism, are philosophical and anything but religious. But all concern important aspects of human life and behaviour and all are equally deserving of respect. Religion is not a trump card.

For better or worse, our next First Minister will be chosen by members of the SNP who account for about one in 50 of Scotland’s adult population. Maybe the rest of us should just take a step back from the febrile clamour and keep our views to ourselves.
Iain Stuart, Glasgow

Tolerance seems only one-way

LIKE many others I have been appalled by the reaction to Kate Forbes expressing her Christian faith and how that impacts her political views. Frankly, her treatment by some in the SNP, the Green Party and the Scottish media, highlighted by Colin Mackay's interview on STV with her this week (February 21), which frankly resembled an interrogation rather than an interview is a downright disgrace to Scotland and Scottish people. Why Mr Mackay continually tried to put words in her mouth and clearly was not prepared to listen to her answers I will never know.

Individuals and groups, including the Green Party, continually call for tolerance of all views including those of the LGBT movement and that is fine as far as I am concerned, although I do not agree with their lifestyle – but perhaps their idea of tolerance only applies when tolerance happens to coincide with their agenda. It appears to me that there are elements in Scottish politics and Scottish society who currently want to denigrate, silence and sideline anyone with Christian beliefs for all their protestations of being tolerant.

As far as support of a political party is concerned I have voted SNP in local, Scottish and General Elections in the recent past but in all conscience I can no longer do so. My dilemma is whom will I vote for in the future as none of the other parties which might have a remote chance of forming a government at Holyrood or Westminster is currently pursuing policies in all aspects social and economic which I could give my support to. Perhaps as Ms Forbes alluded to in one of her answers we are indeed living in a dark and dangerous time for Scotland. I sincerely hope that is not the case.
Joe MacEachen, Coatbridge

Qualities will shine through

IT’S indeed a sad reflection that a Christian and a Muslim have to justify their faiths in the SNP leadership contest.

Both Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf are excellent political leaders and stand together for independence, the NHS and the cost of living crisis. Their religious views should never be a disadvantage within the secular political process.

The endless cacophony of unionist media questions about whether Kate Forbes' Christian faith conflicts with SNP policies is totally fraudulent. In accepting that her views are scrutinised she has said, many times, that following debate she stands by collective responsibility on SNP Government decisions, as democracy demands.

In truth, the honesty of Ms Forbes is a gift to the vast unionist media who will continue to denigrate her and the SNP-led independence campaign.

As the weeks pass the leadership qualities of Ms Forbes will develop along direct and inspirational lines. In bringing a fresh, strong and honest approach to the good governance of Scotland, she will fight poverty and inequality, uphold climate change and human rights and above all bring together a successful independence movement.
Grant Frazer, Newtonmore

• JOHN V Lloyd (Letters, February 23) has asked if it’s really just a coincidence that unionists allegedly fear Kate Forbes the most. Is he really suggesting that somehow it’s the unionists who are behind all the attacks? Remember these attacks are coming from the SNP and its tiny wee group of friends in the Greens, not the unionists.

My only surprise is that he hasn’t blamed The UK Government for the attacks, but I suppose there’s still time.
John Gilligan, Ayr

SNP becoming an autocracy

IN today's Russia, whatever one's private opinions about Vladimir Putin's policies, it is best to keep them to oneself, as any dissent will land you in prison or worse. And in today's SNP, whatever one's private opinions about Kate Forbes' views on sex and marriage, not only is it best to keep them to yourself, but also you must distance yourself completely from her and them, or your political career is over.

This is a party desperate to establish a democracy free of English interference. It is rapidly becoming an autocracy where the party line must be towed.
Rod Ward, Selkirk

• IT looks like the SNP is succeeding in making itself, and by implication Scotland, the laughing stock of the world.

The election for party leader must surely be the only election ever to be decided mainly on whether the party members believe a transgender double rapist is a man or a woman.

Heaven help us all.
Daniel Gardner, Bearsden

Watch for the London verdict

FOR the first time ever, the London-based television and press have the opportunity to influence the election of Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader. The 100,000 SNP members voting in this process will be influenced over the next month by information coming through a London Establishment-based media prism.

I would therefore suggest that whichever candidate receives the worst criticism from the London-based media may well be the best candidate to select as leader and First Minister.
Councillor Tom Johnston (SNP), Cumbernauld

Read more letters: They're out to get Forbes because they fear her most


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