Thursday, July 26, 2012
Isn’t it time faith groups upgraded their political operations on a par with political parties, Catholic Church MSPs for Holyrood?
Yesterday saw the SNP Government commit to same sex marriage.
As you can see by the picture, Nicola Sturgeon is overjoyed, especially since in the area she currently represents there are such huge Catholic and Muslim communities.
When I think back to the past where politics and religion didn’t mix, I am reminded of Wendy Alexander, the former Labour MSP and leader.
She was a high flyer.
But when the flak started coming up from the ground, her career like a B17 went down in flames.
SNP ministers have faced down the huge campaign organised by leading faith groups and decided to press ahead with plans to legalise same-sex marriage regardless.
They also set a precedent when they decided to ignore the majority of people who replied to their consultation, who were against it, mentioned by Gordon Brewer on Newsnight Scotland.
I said previously I believed the consultation was a sham and would be ignored.
George Laird right again.
Having your voice heard is meaningless unless it suits the political agenda of the party in power to agree with you and act on it.
If you caught Nicola Sturgeon’s Newsnight Scotland interview, you could be asking yourself, why wasn’t she celebrating and giving an upbeat interview?
After all, she said that legalising same sex marriage was the "right thing to do".
I blogged on how under human rights there was a case for the LGBT community to have the same rights under the State as everyone else accessing civil marriage.
Because that is what equality is about!
And of course down in England, David Cameron has given his support to plans for same-sex civil marriage ceremonies.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said:
"The Scottish Government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale."
Campaign group Scotland For Marriage, an umbrella group has condemned the "ill-conceived and poorly thought out" plan as it is being brought in "with no consideration for the views of the vast majority in the country".
Ms Sturgeon said:
"It is the intention of the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. We believe that in a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, as we do in Scotland, then this is the right thing to do."
Maybe its time that the Catholic Church and other faith groups started standing for elected public office and building a political power base in their own right since their views in the end don’t actually count.
The Churches have members, the social connections, the networks; the community support already, they just need to appoint people to run proper political campaigns based on the politics of reality.
If done properly, they could sway an election because political parties aren’t as clever or popular as they would have you believe.
And I have met many people in politics who I wouldn’t think twice about putting out in the street or trying to stop getting elected.
Religious organisations need to understand that it is time to upgrade their political operations to the same level as mainstream parties, that way their voice can be heard inside Holyrood.
It is time that faith groups stopped being bystanders and outsiders in politics.
Finally, I don't think Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon will be seeing the Pope anytime soon, persona non grata now I suspect!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University