I AM surprised that Kevin McKenna ("Smacking children is not child abuse and calling it that is an affront", The Herald, March 9) favours mild physical chastisement of – aka hitting – children, thus aligning himself with, amongst others, The Scottish Family Party and libertarian academic Dr Stuart Waiton of Abertay University.

Leaving aside that more enlightened, prosperous and all-round "happier" countries like our Scandinavian neighbours have long ago banned the smacking of children, it is obvious that the "tap on the wrist" advocated by pro-smackers inevitably escalates: if a child ignores the wee smack, then a sorer one is the only logical way to go to secure obedience. Add in anger and you are soon exercising "violence" against a child. I know: I sometimes hit my own children, in anger, when they were young, and I am ashamed of it.

Mr McKenna may also wish to consider that Dr Waiton's last big publicity stunt was to oppose strictures on aggressive and sectarian behaviour at football matches. I wonder how that's working out?

David Roche,

6 Conachar Court, Isla Road, Perth.

IN response to Tom Gordon's article ("God supports parents smacking their children, church tells MSPs", The Herald, March 12), there is mounting evidence that the only organised resistance to removing the defence of justifiable assault on children is limited to fringe groups.

This opposition is of course lead by the self-styled Be Reasonable campaign group, which favours the current law that grown adults should indeed be permitted to justifiably assault children.

This group is backed by ultra-conservative religious bodies who have the delightful track record of opposing the promotion of same-sex marriage, access to contraception, access to abortion, and sex education – all because their interpretation of religious scripture tells them so.

In reality the gap in Scottish society is not between people who work with vulnerable children and the public, as they suggest. Rather the gap is between those authoritative moralising institutions and the public, who have long shaken off the threats of "eternal punishment" for not adhering to their bygone era ethics of "not sparing the rod".

It's good to see progressive voices in the faith and belief community listen to the evidence of harm and stand up for children. As a Humanist, I am proud to stand alongside Christians and those of other faith groups who support protecting children from violence.

Fraser Sutherland,

for Humanist Society Scotland, Playfair House, Edinburgh.