The vindictive attempt to conflate vicious, bloody, hate-fuelled murder on the streets of London with the activities of two speakers (neither of whom advocate violence of any kind) reveals more about Gary Otton's own prejudices and the poverty of his own case than it does about those whom he would seek to condemn (Letters, May 24).

He attempts to invoke our anger by implying that two Catholic "extremist" lectures were financed by the taxpayer.

In actual fact Pam Stenzel was invited to Scotland by the Sisters of The Gospel of Life and Michael Voris's trip was financed by lay Catholic organisation Catholic Truth.

Mr Otton ought to be certain on this last point because if he was in attendance, as he claims, he would have seen as I did the collection bucket being passed around. He would also have seen that the event was held in Carfin rather than Motherwell.

He additionally voices his apprehension that in this time of austerity the Government will be unable to regulate "what goes on" sin faith schools.

Were this the case it would undoubtedly be of huge concern. Not least because faith schools in Scotland and England are regulated by precisely the same body which regulates all of the other schools – Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education and Ofsted respectively.

If Mr Otton's anxieties were justified (rather than an exercise in scaremongery and scapegoating) the entirety of our two education systems would be in jeopardy, not only the religious aspects.

Chris McLaughlin,

71b Braidpark Drive,


Gary Otton's comments are highly misleading and betray his lack of tolerance for those with whom he disagrees. It is irresponsible to make a link between support for faith schools and a wicked murder by two fanatics.

I happened to be present at both of the events Mr Otton denounced. In the first I heard hundreds of school pupils give rousing applause after hearing a fact-filled and entertaining presentation from Pam Stenzel on sexual health. Mr Otton, if he supports reason, would perhaps give her credit by conceding she actually said condoms could not ensure protection from genital warts as they are spread by skin-to-skin contact.

In the other event he refers to, Michael Voris tried to carefully explain his understanding of heaven and did so to show that those who are not Catholic are not excluded.

John Deighan,

Parliamentary Officer,

Catholic Parliamentary Office,

5 St Vincent Place,


Gus Logan writes that "the majority of Scots simply want the church-state balance to be left as it stands" (Letters, May 24).

Why do we need a church-state balance?

No-one speaks of needing a balance between the state and allotment societies or a balance between the state and book groups or a balance between the state and ramblers' groups.

I take it that the answer lies in the fact that, too often, people in churches seek to control or mould the rest of us, whereas people in book groups and allotment societies and ramblers' groups don't.

Paul Brownsey,

19 Larchfield Road,