The SIC is to write to the three religious representatives appointed to its education and families committee asking them not to take up their positions.
Councillors today agreed to install Radina McKay of the Shetland Inter Faith Group and Shetland Churches Council Trust nominee Martin Tregonning on the committee. They will join the previously appointed Reverend Tom Macintyre, of the Church of Scotland, who failed to win election to the council in May’s elections. The appointments are a Scottish legal requirement.
Councillor Jonathan Wills took the opportunity to renew his attack on a “ridiculous” and “medieval” law which means three of the education and families committee’s 14 members are unelected.
Dr Wills won uniform support for his idea of writing to the three appointees asking them not to take up their posts, pending discussions on creating a forum to allow different religions’ views on education to be taken into account.
He believed those views deserved to be heard and taken seriously, but it was wrong for them to be given formal committee voting powers in a democracy. He stressed his remarks were not designed as any kind of slight against the individuals involved.
SIC political leader Gary Robinson agreed the law was “quite archaic in its origins”, adding it was a “political matter that needs to be pursued”.
Mr Robinson is already speaking to Cosla and other Highlands and Islands councils due to concerns that three religious representatives can exercise a greater influence in smaller authorities than they would in larger city councils.