Cambridge-educated former accountant, now 32, Kate Forbes could change perceptions of the SNP party, if her Christian faith doesn’t prove a bar to the top job does find
Kate Forbes, sometimes dubbed the “Tartan Thatcher”, has been on maternity leave since last summer, missing out on the gender self-ID madness. She recently married a widower with three children and has begun a new phase of life which, her friends say, she’s very much enjoying. There has been talk of her not returning to politics at all. But then again, there has been talk of her succeeding Sturgeon ever since she was made Scottish finance minister, age 29, delivering a budget with just four hours’ notice.
“I believe in the person of Jesus Christ,”
she once told the BBC.
“I believe that he died for me, he saved me and that my calling is to serve and to love him and to serve and love my neighbours. With all my heart and soul and mind and strength.”
She’s a convert to the Free Church of Scotland, an evangelical, Calvinist denomination in Scotland, with a Presbyterian policy, considering Jesus Christ as sole Lord and Saviour. The church said a conscience clause, similar to that included for medical staff when abortion was legalised, would also shield teachers who do not want to include gay marriage in lessons.
The church said it was “unacceptable” that parents will have no legal right to remove their children from all lessons where gay marriage is mentioned and not just sex education classes.
Although Scottish ministers have said choirmasters and organists in marriage ceremonies will receive similar protections to clergy, the church said it was “inconsistent” not to extend this to teachers, registrars and other public sector staff.
With the knowledge that Kate Forbes belongs to a church that topposes gay marriage and has likened abortion to the evil of slavery, one could pose the big question:
is she simply too Christian to lead a modern political party?.
Nothing she has said suggested she demurs.
Have our equality laws now taken on a quasi-religious dynamic, complete with blasphemy (in the form of “hate speech” legislation) and the likes of Ms Forbes seen as “problematic” heretics?
Does her faith and her refusal to renounce any elements of it effectively debar her from public office?
In recent years, Christians in politics have been accommodated through a policy of don’t-ask, don’t-tell. They learn how to disguise their faith and dodge tricky questions, believing no good can come of being seen to be religious. But it’s getting harder now, in an era where people can lose their jobs for expressing the wrong sort of opinions. Scotland has been leading the charge, with Sturgeon’s recent hate crime law announced by posters that seem to regard churches as a target.
ran the text on the bus stops,
“you can’t spread your religious hate here. End of sermon.”
A Police Scotland logo was published underneath, to hammer home the fate that awaited transgressors. Was this message aimed at the famously unwoke Free Church of Scotland?
One of its ministers suspected so, and reported the poster to the police – for hate crime. He got nowhere, but made a point. It’s dangerous, now, to hold old-fashioned views on marriage, gender or abortion. Harder still to hold such views and go any distance in public life.
The Equality Network, a charity that promotes homosexual rights, said the Free Church’s plan amounts to a “free pass for discrimination”.
Tom French, the organisation’s policy coordinator, said:
“We wouldn’t want to create a situation where your local registrar, GP or teacher could pick-and-choose whether to serve you on the basis of your race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said:
“We are striving to create a Scotland that is fairer and more tolerant, and that is why we believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
“At the same time, we also want to protect freedom of speech and religion, and that’s what the Bill does.”
In which way shall the members of the Free Church of Scotland when in politics, strive for the freedom of all, when it could go in against their church teachings?
Just ask Tim Farron, who faced a secular inquisition when leading the Liberal Democrats during the 2017 election. He’d try to say he believed in freedom for everyone, but one question kept coming back: did he regard gay sex as a sin? He couldn’t answer – and this bizarre question ended up dominating his campaign. He resigned, saying that he was unable to reconcile faith and politics.
The first non-white and first Muslim cabinet minister in the Scottish Government, Scotland’s health minister, Humza Yousaf, is also a likely contender to succeed Sturgeon, but it’s harder to imagine a Muslim being grilled about sin and sex. There are, quite rightly, concerns about Islamophobia, but no similar concerns about Christianophobia. The word, even the concept, seems daft. But if Forbes runs for leader and her faith is used against her, it would raise an important question.
Are we really saying a devout Hindu can end up in No 10 but a similarly devout Free Church of Scotland member should not end up in Bute House?
Of course, most Scots could not care less about all this thought policing and will judge her – and Mr Yousaf – on what they do in office. They’d likely agree with her about the risk (as she once said) that
“we deem some people as beyond the pale, that we just can’t tolerate people with particular views anywhere near the decision-making table”.
This is the kind of message that could broaden the SNP’s appeal, dialling down its exhausting culture war. With Forbes as leader, old perceptions would change. The SNP really would be worth a second look.
> Read the article The SNP has a rising star even more dangerous for the Union than Sturgeon
Find also to read:
Free Church calls for ‘conscience’ clause in gay marriage laws
Gender-confused Nicola Sturgeon stages a masterclass in alternative reality
Sturgeon’s political crisis deepens as she undermines her own gender laws
Nicola Sturgeon’s downfall came as she failed to recognise madness of her trans law
Nicola Sturgeon’s gender ‘nonsense’ has set Scottish independence back years, says Alex Salmond
SNP minister who led revolt over Sturgeon’s gender reforms emerges as shock candidate
Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms
- People are turning their back on Christianity
- Youngsters, parents and the search to root in life
- Hiding or opening attitude for same sex relationships
- Jehovah’s Witnesses Shunning ex-members adverse effects on family relationships
- Two synods and life in the church community
- A synod not leading to doctrinal changes because it is about pastoral attention
- The Catholic synod on the family and abortion
- Different assessment criteria and a new language to be found for communicating the faith
- Same sex relationships and Open attitude mirroring Jesus
- The focus of multiculturalism in Europe on Muslims and Jews
- Living and Loving Faithfully
- Synod of Bishops concerning minors
- Gay people in the Church of England
- Archbishop of Canterbury threatened over gay marriage by MPs
- Controversial Pope
- Discouraged from asking questions
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