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Showing posts with label Gordon Wilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gordon Wilson. Show all posts

Friday, 2 December 2011

Same sex marriage – Gordon Wilson, Cardinal O’Brien and the Kirk – a ‘taint’?

Gordon Wilson clearly thinks some things are more important than Scotland's independence. So do I, but in my case it's the right of democratically elected politicians not to be intimidated by doctrinaire holders of archaic beliefs trying to blur the vital separation between Church and State.

And having been married in a kirk almost 52 years ago, I feel in no danger of having my marriage vows 'tainted' by two people of the same sex in love wishing to have a civil ceremony legally recognised as marriage to unite them, and to have it solemnised as such by churches and ministers of religion who are willing - not compelled - to do so.

There is a ‘taint’ here – it is the taint to democratic politics of a minority holding dogmatic religious beliefs attempting to impose their own narrow views on individuals and, in the main, a society that does not share them. It is an unwelcome echo of the 17th century Kirk and even more ancient world intolerances that  society in the 21st century has long since left behind – almost …

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Saturday thoughts - Davidson/Whiteford, Gordon Wilson,Gerry Hassan - and more


Some correspondents have asked what four-letter word I am signalling by using four asterisks – ****

I can reveal all – the word is heck, which clearly is not acceptable in public utterances. I sometime put an f in place of the first asterisk to throw people of the scent, e.g. f***, and I did contemplate putting ck on the end, e.g. **ck to give them a clue, but decided that this could be misleading. I don’t know why I bother – after all heck is accepted now on television, in film and even in informal conversation. Maybe I’m too ******* prudish


All the word games being played by Ian Davidson and his supporters to try and throw a smokescreen up around his remark to Eilidh Whiteford remind me of a time when I had a minor factory PR responsibility in the old Goodyear tyre factory at Garscadden. A high-powered American PR guy had come across from Akron, Ohio to cover our families’ day event, and I commented to him on the difficulties of retreat from an unguarded remark.

He smiled and said “When you're in the shit, Pete, play around with time and tense – and if in deep trouble, get a lawyer to speak for you”. Davidson seems to have done all three, and he got Willie Bain MP, who is legally qualified and used to lecture in law, as his front man on Newsnight Scotland, rather than sit down opposite Eilidh Whiteford and offer his apology for an apology face to face. His supporters, including astonishingly, some women, have effortlessly picked up on the approach too.


As a committed SNP supporter, I have to regularly remind myself that the referendum is about Scotland’s independence, not the SNP as a political party. They are the only competent party on the UK scene, they are the only major party advocating the independence of Scotland and the end of the nuclear obscenity, but after independence, two of these three aspects may no longer represent a unique position, and I hope that the new Scottish Labour party, Scottish Centre Right party and Scottish LibDems will have achieved sanity on nuclear weapons and rejoined the human race by then.  The Greens and the Scottish Socialist parties have always favoured independence and taken an anti-nuclear stance, and may even get the chance to demonstrate competence.

Gerry Hassan’s superb article today’s Scotsman is a welcome reminder of the true reasons for seeking independence - as well as a welcome relief from the nonsense talked elsewhere in the paper – and it is a must read for anyone interested in their country at this crucial time.

 Gerry Hassan - Why the canon of Scottish independence will roar



I was in W.H. Smith’s in the RIE yesterday, and bought New Scientist, mistakenly thinking I had bought the New Statesman. It proved to be a serendipitous choice. This issue contains a double-headed article by Shawn Lawrence Otto and Peter Aldhous under the title Decline and Fall about the dangerous retreat from scientific thought, rationality and respect for science and scientists by the American Republican Right. The concepts and statistics explored by this seminal article should be read by everybody who is concerned about the future of our world, and especially by politicians seeking to persuade those opposed to their views to shift their positions and their mindsets. I will explore this further in another blog – meanwhile, get out and buy the magazine.


It is with deep regret that I have contemplated the actions and statements of Gordon Wilson, a highly respected elder statesman and former leader of the Scottish National Party over the gay marriage issue.

His comment over being ousted as a board member from the Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau have been seized upon by a delighted Scotsman

I fell victim to gay marriage lynch mob, claims ex-SNP leader – with the sub-header – accompanied by a bright coloured SNP logo – “They were intent on my removal” Gordon Wilson, ex-SNP chief.

The Scotsman is showing an increasing tendency to enter the territory of William Randolph Hearst, and this contemptible, sensationalist little piece is worthy of Citizen Kane. It is sad that Gordon Wilson should be associated with such a presentation.

The facts, as I see them, are these -

The CAB’s director, Mary Kininmonth says it all. Gordon Wilson’s stance on gay marriage called into question its commitment to equality of opportunity for all. Another board member said that Gordon Wilson had been “vocal and indeed vitriolic in voicing his opinion over gay marriage in Scotland”.

Gordon Wilson, a member of Dundee Free Church and a member of Christian faith group Solas, feels that he is being discriminated against for his religious views, and so does Gordon Macdonald, Parliamentary officer at CARE Scotland, a Christian public affairs charity. (Excerpt from Care for Scotland website – “CARE for Scotland and Evangelical Alliance Scotland are collaborating in a campaign to encourage Christians to stand as candidates in the Council elections in 2012. “)

He is not being discriminated against for his religious views. If anyone was challenging Gordon Wilson’s right to worship at Dundee Free Church, or be a member of Solas, or to resist attempts to force his church and his minister to marry gay couples if they didn’t want to, or any other of his civil and legal rights in Scotland and under human rights legislation, I would defend him vigorously.

What is indefensible, and certainly intolerable for an equal rights organisation is that he should attempt to impose his religious beliefs about homosexuality and the legitimacy of gay marriage on others, including the legislators and Parliament of our nation, in an attempt to influence and block legislation in a secular society. That is not free speech, it is an attempt to limit freedom and equality under the law.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

An ethical dilemma for Cardinal O’Brien

One well-established method to examine fundamental ethical questions is to pose imagined ethical dilemmas and discuss them in the abstract. Every student of philosophy is familiar with this methodology, and a recent BBC 4 series featured Michael Sandel in a series of lectures from his Harvard course in Political Philosophy which contained many examples.

On the subject of gay marriage, I have such a hypothetical dilemma to posit to Cardinal O’Brien, and it is one that those opposed to gay marriage from other Scottish churches and faiths – and politicians - might also wish to consider.


A prominent Roman Catholic – or a prominent member of the Church of Scotland, or member of the Jewish or Muslim faiths or any other church or faith – pursues a successful career in public life.

He or she is gay, and is in a long-standing relationship with someone of the same sex. But the nature of that career and the social pressures associated with it lead that person to the judgement that he or she cannot acknowledge the true nature of their sexuality, or the nature of the relationship with the person closest to them.

This leads them to a legal marriage, and a wedding solemnised by their particular faith in a church, to someone of the opposite sex, for the sake of public appearances.


My questions to the Cardinal, to any other church leader or politician who opposes the legalisation of gay marriages, and specifically to Gordon Wilson, elder statesman of the SNP, are these -

1. Are they prepared to accept that their church’s or faith’s opposition to gay marriage in effect forced this public figure into this unsatisfactory action and this path of deceit and concealment?

2. Would not the legalisation of gay marriage in a civil ceremony, and the ability to also solemnise it in a church of their choice not have at least reduced the need for the public figure’s course of action, or indeed eliminated it completely?

3. Are the Church leaders, faith leaders and politicians prepared to condone such deceits if they have full knowledge of them, rather than either condemn them publicly or accept that such a loving relationship be legal, and ideally be given the blessing of the church or faith?