On Sunday, June 29, The Sunday Times published a Letter to the Editor from one Neil Barber who asserts that he represents "The Secular Society". Mr Barber attempted to disparage both Archbishop Cushley and religious faith. My reply to him was not published by The Sunday Times and so I post it here.
The tenor and, indeed, the language used by Neil Barber (“Faith in its place”, Letters last week) are all to reminiscent of something I read recently.
“When they attempt by other means — writings, encyclicals etc — to assume rights which belong to the State, we will push them back into their proper spiritual activity.” Thus spake Adolf Hitler as quoted by EC Helmreich in “The German Churches under Hitler” (at page 280) (Detriot, 1979).
What does Barber mean by “minority religious beliefs”? True, the Church of Scotland has on paper more members than the Catholic Church in Scotland. But it is also probably true that there are more Catholic bums on pews of a Sunday. So the Catholic Church in Scotland is far from being a “minority” in terms of numbers.
Is he trying to suggest that the Catholic Church’s objections to so-called “same sex marriage”, gay adoption, abortion on demand and the other matters that we consider to be anti-life and/or anti-family are in a minority? In 2000 a life-long friend said to me at the height of the Section 2a (Clause 28) controversy: “I never thought I’d ever see the day that I would ever agree with everything your Fr Winning said.” My friend was also a life-long fervent member of the Orange Lodge and many of his fellow Orangemen and other Presbyterians were similarly minded. Ours wasn’t a minority viewpoint then and it isn’t now. Despite the campaign of distortions, half-truths and outright lies waged by the gay lobby and so enthusiastically promoted in the mainstream media.
And Barber is wrong. Schools are not State institutions. They are run by the local authorities for and on behalf of parents. And those parents have rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. I would refer him to Protocol No.1, March 20, 1952, Article (2): “No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”
Mgr Cushley has made no attempt to force anybody to do anything. But he might persuade them to. And why not