IF the Church of Scotland is to have a voice in politics (Letters, May 24, 25 & 26), let it be in support of the poor and disadvantaged and not wasted on arguments about Scottish independence.

Its greatest moment was when the Moderator delivered a clear rebuke to Margaret Thatcher after she addressed the General Assembly of 1988 in what became known as the "Sermon on The Mound".

The Prime Minister delivered a defence of her individualistic right-wing views cloaked in a hotch-potch of half-baked theological gobbledegook. When Mrs Thatcher finished speaking, the Moderator, James Whyte, formally presented her with Church reports on homelessness, poverty and social security, which was rightly interpreted in the press as a rebuke. One of these, entitled Just Sharing: a Christian Approach to the Distribution of Wealth, Income and Benefits, advocated heavy taxation on the rich and a revived Beveridge Report for the poor.

Mrs Thatcher had made the speech in response to the highly-critical Church of England's Faith in the City report, with its theological criticism of her social policies. She saw that as an illegitimate intrusion of the church into the political sphere.

My Church of Scotland days are far in the past, but if I am allowed a nostalgic look back at the church at its best it would be that.

Alastair Osborne, Symington.

Saying nothing is wrong option

I SEE that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has issued a statement to the effect that it feels that “it is unwise to take a corporate position on Scottish independence”.

“He that is not with me is against me,” as quoted in Luke’s Gospel, may be an overstatement in this case but for what claims to be our National Church, which has been politically active since its foundation, to refuse to take a position on the most significant issue of our day leads to the charge of irrelevance. Taking a stand may well lead to a loss of members of a different view, but it may turn out to be less damaging than the catastrophic erosion of membership experienced over the last decades which can be ascribed to insignificance.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

Read more: Why isn’t the Kirk leading the drive for independence?

Campaigns are of little consequence

YOU have recently published content making suggestions as to how the Church of Scotland may reverse its decline. Mark Smith, an agnostic, recommends that it more closely reflects secular Scotland’s current values (“Is there still enough time to save the Church of Scotland", The Herald, May 22) while two correspondents, who both write regularly in support of Scotland becoming an independent country, propose that the church throws itself into that campaign (Letters, May 24 & 25).

It is a sad reflection on 21st century Scotland that there is such limited understanding of Christianity. As a result, people appear to feel that the church has little purpose and that they can legitimately contribute to a debate about how it re-invents itself.

St Paul was quite clear about the purpose of the church (defined as all those who follow Christ rather than any particular denomination). He wrote: “We preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

Congregations who, with conviction, hold firm to preaching Christ crucified continue to grow all around the world, notably in Africa, in Asia, in Eastern Europe and in South America, but also in places in Scotland.

I challenge anyone to read a modern translation of John’s Gospel with an open mind and consider Jesus Christ; it is only around 30 pages long. There, in Jesus’s own words, they will find an explanation of the nature of God and of mankind’s relationship to Him. They will also learn of Jesus’s unique purpose of reconciling individuals with God. I hope anyone who does so may come to recognise that transient ideologies and political campaigns are of little consequence when set against that eternal perspective.

George Rennie, Inverness.

Relations with the neighbours

PETER A Russell (Letters, May 25) tells us that the central message of the Christian faith is “to love thy neighbour as thy self”.

What it does not say is that we should allow our neighbour to rule over us. To suggest that Scots who would prefer our country to be run by people who actually live here are unchristian is absurd.

Christians do not have a monopoly on everything that is good and wholesome and other religions or those of no religion are not inherently bad. Perhaps Mr Russell hasn’t noticed that our First Minister and leader of the SNP, Humza Yousaf, is a proud Muslim.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

• PETER A Russell is getting desperate. I have two good neighbours always ready to help when the occasion arises. We also live independent lives.

David J Paterson, Edinburgh.

SNP MSPs let Glasgow down

MARK Smith's article ("How the SNP lost the love of Glasgow", The Herald, May 26) did not reference the fact that, when Greenports were being introduced, the SNP could not wait to provide such a levelling-up facility to Edinburgh yet not a single Glasgow MSP was prepared to try to make sure Glasgow received a similar economic boost.

Hopefully voters in Glasgow will remember this fact when they next have to decide which party best represents their interest.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

Read more: Protect businesses from destructive rage of the far left

Sunak is fooling no one

FOR how much longer is the Westminster Government in the shape of the Uriah Heep-like Rishi Sunak going to pump out the political sewage that the Public Order Acts and the minimum service requirements in the event of public service strikes represent what the British public wants?

It is a narrative with a distinct whiff about it and its tiresome repetition is supposed to sink deep into the national consciousness to the extent that no other narrative will be entertained. Call it propaganda or brainwashing, but it does not stand up to scrutiny.

Protesters and strikers are being depicted as the enemy within owing to the disruption experienced in such situations by the general public. Yet what has forced the public service workers to opt for strikes?

Thirteen years of Tory rule, where austerity has been the shibboleth of that era, has brought public services close to collapse with hard-pressed workers compelled to resort to food banks thanks to the below-inflation pay rises imposed upon them by the policy of successive Tory governments.

There would have been no strikes if the Government had played fair with those workers.

Yes, strikes do bring disruption, but the finger has to be pointed at those who have forced those workers to take such last-resort measures. Those workers are those who have striven to do their best in adverse circumstances and yet the PM has the audacity to paint them as the enemy within.

As regards global warming protesters, most people in the UK will feel plenty of sympathy with their intention to highlight the danger posed to our planet owing to our addiction to fossil fuels.

There can be no doubt that there will be an element of public disgruntlement with the disruption created by such protests. However, the majority would be happy enough to endure the annoyance thrown up by such actions which are aimed at keeping us fully aware that no time should be lost in turning the tide against global warming.

Just who is Mr Sunak trying to kid and whose interests is he really serving?

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Food for thought

I WONDER what the great Nobel Prize winner Sir John Boyd Orr, who was one of Britain's leading experts on nutrition, would have made of the obesity crisis in Scotland and the UK?

Would he have linked the malnutrition that affects almost 50% of our population with poverty, as in an inability to afford the correct food?

And would he also have highlighted its impact on the demands on our health services which threaten to engulf it, cripple public finances, weaken our labour force and therefore the economy?

And in both cases what would his solution have been and how would today's politicians and media have reacted?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.