14th November 2018
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Two more religious appointees to join council’s education committee

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Another two religious representatives have been appointed to the SIC’s education and families committee, despite one councillor condemning the decision as an “affront” to democracy.

Angela Nun, nominated by the Shetland Council of Churches Trust, and Radina McKay, put forward by the Shetland Inter Faith group, will join Reverend Tom Macintyre from the Church of Scotland on the committee, which also includes 11 councillors.

Having unelected religious representatives on education committees is a legal requirement for all Scottish local authorities, though the SIC has asked local government umbrella body COSLA to raise the matter with the Scottish government.

There is concern that a law conceived for larger metropolitan councils could lead to a disproportionate influence in smaller authorities – in this case, religious representations wield 21 per cent of voting power on the committee.

Councillor Jonathan Wills renewed his attack on the measure, describing it as an “antidemocratic law” designed to appease “religious bigots” on both sides of the Catholic-Protestant divide in the Scottish central belt.

Dr Wills was also unhappy that atheists, agnostics and humanists who have strong beliefs about how children should be taught will have no input. He feels the council should test the mettle of Edinburgh politicians, because there would be little appetite within government to “open a can of worms” by taking the SIC to court.

He suggested establishing a discussion forum to allow those of a religious persuasion to contribute their thoughts on educational matters “without causing affront to the non-religious and those who still believe in democracy”. But Dr Wills and his ally Gary Robinson lost out 12-2 in a vote during Wednesday’s Full Council.



  1. Robert Wishart

    This is a hangover from a less enlightened time.

  2. Malcolm MacInnes

    In rsponse to Robert’s reference to ‘a hangover from a less enlightened time’, It is worth noting that the Bible does say that time comes when people put darkness for light and light for darkness. I think that it is more obvious that we are presently in a less enlightened time.

  3. Alan Crowe

    #Having unelected religious representatives on education committees is a legal requirement for all Scottish local authorities,#

    Unbelievable jn 2011.
    Who decides which “religions” are accommodated? These are just the top 20 of many hundreds and you’ll notice no religion comes in at fifth.
    See here if you want the numbers.

    Hinduism ,
    Upanishads, & Rig Veda.
    No religion.
    Chinese folk religion.
    Tribal Religions,
    New religions.
    Baha’i Faith.

    Nobody should be given special privilege on account of their credulity.

  4. Colin Hunter

    I sometimes think, that in this day and age, we would be better off without religion of any kind, seeing as how most of the trouble in the world can be laid squarely at the feet of people who believe one thing and then try to force that belief upon others, or persecute them because they are non believers or whatever. It’s actually not just now, witness the pogroms against the Jews, starting in the early 19th century, and culminating in the Nazi holocaust. I sometimes find it ironic that people who advocate love and forgiveness in the name of religion, are willing to perform atrocities upon others who do not hold the same beliefs!
    I am not a religious man, but there are many pearls of wisdom to be found between the pages of the bible.
    As they say, Sow the wind, but reap the whirlwind! (Hosea 8:7)

  5. Robert Wishart

    Isaiah 5.20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

    Woe indeed. Taken from that delightful tale of slaughter, rape, pillage and ethnic cleansing – Ye Olde Testament.


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