20 November 2013
The Scottish Parliament has debated and voted on the SNP Government’s Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.
Stage 1 was the opening debate in the Scottish Parliament, with a vote in principle to progress legislation to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples. It was passed by 98 votes to 15, with 5 abstentions.
Most supporters of redefining marriage put it within the context of equality. This is not new. Not only did George Orwell demonstrate in Animal Farm how equality is used as the methodology for change, but it is as old as the Bible itself, in which people complained that God’s laws were not equal. The Lord’s response is that their ways were not equal, and so the rebellion against God’s laws continue to the present.
Alex Neil thought that this was one of the most wonderful debates in the Scottish Parliament. He denied that it redefined marriage, but that it extended the eligibility of marriage to those who had been denied it. Newspeak is much in evidence. Jackie Baillie, MSP, called it “an idea whose time has come”. Two Church of Scotland elders spoke in favour of the change. Referring to the Bible, John Lamont, MSP, said that we had moved on from Mark’s opposition to divorce and Timothy’s prohibition of wearing pearls or gold. There is much to lament in Lamont’s interpretation of Scripture; and why did he not plainly say that it was Jesus’ teaching on divorce? Some argued that we need to “accept people the way they are”. This undermines the message and aim of the Christian Gospel, which teaches the need for people to change.
If Christians wonder why we need specifically Christian MSPs, they might consider the number of homosexual MSPs who spoke in favour of redefining marriage. Patrick Harvie, MSP, argued that “we” (he didn’t explain who these were, but it seemed to be the Holyrood Parliament, whom he was addressing) should confront and defeat the arguments against homosexuality. He said that he does not regard marriage as the gold standard relationship.
The homosexual lobby want to take matters further. Marco Biagi, MSP, said that this Bill is not the last stage in this debate because of transgender issues. If Christians are unsure what this means, they may note that on BBC’s Question Time programme on 31/10/2013, one of the panelists was introduced as advocating “the right to change one’s gender”. This goes beyond the question of identifying one’s biological gender, but to change one’s gender.
Highland MSP John Finnie’s support for redefining marriage included dismissing the conscientious objection of Registrar’s opposed to homosexual partnerships and saying that they “need to get on with it”. No Highland MSP raised their voice in support of real, or traditional, marriage.
Several MSPs referred to the spirit being adopted towards those who opposed redefining marriage, and Elaine Smith, MSP, said: “Since indicating that I did not intend to support the redefinition of marriage, my religion’s been disparaged, I’ve been branded homophobic and bigoted, I’ve been likened to the Ku Klux Klan and it was suggested that I be burnt at the stake as a witch.” Scotland will learn the hard way.
Will it be a fight, a skirmish or a walkover?
16 November 2013
Fergus Ewing, MSP
A leading Government MSP will break ranks with his Party and vote against the Bill to redefine marriage.
Fergus Ewing, MSP, is the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and he has indicated that he will not support the SNP Government’s Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. He is likely to be the most senior minister to break ranks in the Government.
The SNP Government’s Bill to redefine marriage was introduced on 26 June 2013 and has been discussed in various committees. It will now come before the Scottish Parliament next Wednesday 20/11/2013, which will debate the Bill at Stage 1.
The Bill proposes calling homosexual partnerships “marriage” and makes various changes to the law on marriage and civil partnerships.
Mr Ewing has written to one of his constituents: “I do not believe that there should be nor can there be a redefinition of marriage, and shall not be supporting this Bill. It is also the case that I am aware of very strong opposition to this Bill amongst my constituents, a great many of whom have taken the trouble to write to me expressing their views, and concerns.”
The lead committee is the Equal Opportunities Committee. In an extraordinary example of the tail wagging (or nagging?) the dog, the Committee advises the Parliament in its Report: “We recommend to members of the Parliament to approach the Stage 1 decision with the same dignified tenor as our evidence sessions and with due respect for a diversity of views.” Evidently it does not have confidence that the Scottish Parliament will debate this issue with suitable decorum.
Will it be a fight, a skirmish or a walkover?
The Scottish Christian Party welcomes Mr Ewing’s position and commitment to real marriage.
Last year, the SCP called for the organisation of stronger opposition among MSPs. Instead, most MSPs opposed to redefining marriage have been distinctly mute, with notable exceptions such as John Mason, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston and a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee.
In the absence of such public organisation by opposing MSPs, defeatism is in the air. Mr Ewing gives little hope of serious opposition. He writes: “The Bill will I suspect receive majority support when it is considered on Wednesday next week, but I myself shall not support this bill either then or at the final stage, called stage three, when it comes back to the full chamber of Parliament.” It is one thing for MSPs to vote against a Bill, but the SCP looks for serious opposition.
In December 2012, Dr Donald Boyd, leader of the SCP, asked: “Is there enough cross-party Christian will to meet publicly to encourage the Scottish Government to follow the lead of the Australian parliament? Earlier this year the opposition party leaders in Holyrood came together to support each other in pushing through the redefining of marriage. These politicians have acted cross-party upon their secular principles. Will Christian politicians act cross-party upon their Christian principles?” No effective campaign emerged. This is why we need distinctively Christian politicians in Holyrood to give a lead.
In its Autumn Newsletter, the leader of the SCP writes: “Some eastern European countries, on leaving the USSR, drew up new constitutions. Seeing the writing on the wall, they took the opportunity to write into their constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. On the other hand the SNP wants to redefine marriage and to have a nuclear weapons ban written into Scotland’s constitution. The first purpose and duty of government is the defence of the nation, but marriage is under attack from our own government, and our defence strategy needs more than Alex Salmond’s smile to ward off our enemies. We need the smile of heaven, but we are doing much to elicit God’s displeasure. The European Parliament, like Holyrood, will be the battleground for redefining marriage. Will it be a skirmish, as it was in Westminster? “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle” Psalm 78:9. We need to train an army of Christian soldiers who know how to stand in the day of battle, Ephesians 6:11,13,14.”
Meanwhile, the SNP Government has pushed ahead with its Bill, disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of the respondents to the Scottish Government’s first consultation document who were opposed to the change. The Scotland for Marriage petition has over 53,000 signatures from those opposed to this legislation.
Was this a prophetic word in 1967?
Lord Arran said in 1967 when homosexuality was decriminalised: “I ask one thing and I ask it earnestly. I ask those who have, as it were, been in bondage and for whom the prison doors are now open to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity. This is no occasion for jubilation; certainly not for celebration. Any form of ostentatious behaviour; now or in the future, any form of public flaunting, would be utterly distasteful and would, I believe, make the sponsors of the Bill regret that they have done what they have done. Homosexuals must continue to remember that while there may be nothing bad in being a homosexual, there is certainly nothing good…”
What was Lord Arran reading in the spirit of the campaign in the 1960s? Why should the Equal Opportunities Committee call upon the Parliament to behave with respect? Because many people can read the spirit for themselves.
New Scottish Executive Council elected
15 October 2013
The SEC ballot was taken at the AGM
The ballot for the non-executive positions on the Scottish Executive Council of the Scottish Christian Party was conducted at the AGM of the party during the autumn conference in Glasgow on 12 October 2013 at The Bible Centre.
The full SEC comprises the following members and office-bearers:
Chairman: John Cormack, Glasgow
Vice-chairman: Bob Graham, Dumbarton
Scottish Leader: Dr Donald Boyd, Inverness
Treasurer: Isobel Ann Macleod, Skye
Office manager and development officer: Craig Smith, Hamilton
Office secretary: Margaret Tassie, Glasgow
Legal adviser: Willie Gibson, Cardiff
North-east representative: Tom Morrow, Aberdeen
South-west representative: Jimmy McInnes, Ayrshire
John Gillies, Glasgow
Donald Williamson, Glasgow
George McMillan, Paisley
John Lister, Inverness
Brian Lally, Clydebank
Jan Freeke, Glasgow
Alasdair Moodie, Inverness
Christine Cormack, Bearsden
Dr Donald Boyd, the leader of the SCP said: “I am very pleased to see the new team in place for the development of the Scottish Christian Party. We had a successful conference in Glasgow with an important decision in principle to join the European Christian Political Movement. We are now working towards the European elections in May of next year and the Scottish Referendum in September 2014.”
What does the Scottish Christian Party stand for? Click the underlining.
Our news items include comment from the Christian Party perspective. The Scottish Christian Party does not necessarily endorse the views in stories to which it links. The purpose of linking to a story is to prove a point, not to approve it. The SCP is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Check out our long list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Check the right-hand margin for our latest Newsletter.
At the top of the right-hand margin is a search box. Enter the topics that interest you and search our website to find out what we have said about it.
If you would like to know more about the Scottish Christian Party in your area, click here to send us an email or telephone 01463 796952.
Many of our documents are PDF files. You can download these files, but you require Adobe Reader to read them. Adobe Reader can be freely downloaded from the Adobe Website and then installed on your computer for future use.