A Scottish councillor has described “so-called” gays as “really very sad people” and said that non-believers are “damned to hell”.

Kenneth Gunn, a Scottish National Party councillor for Selkirk, made his comments on a live BBC radio phone-in programme.

Radio Scotland’s Morning Extra news show had invited listeners to call in with their views on a recent Bible exhibition designed to promote gay rights within the church.

The “interactive” Bible had been placed on a stand with pens and the message: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”

However, the messages did not turn out as expected, with many people writing messages such as “f*** the bible” and “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all”.

One message said: “I am bi, female & proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”

As a result of the protests this received, the Bible has been placed behind a glass case, with paper and pens placed beside it for comments.

Speaking live on the show, Gunn described the exhibition as sacrilege and said it would not be allowed in the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

When asked by a presenter whether atheists should protect and respect the Bible, he said: “Non-believers are damned to hell anyway, so why should we bother? We fought holy wars over the last 4,000 years to protect the Bible and, can I say, to protect the Holy Koran as well.

“If somebody doesn’t believe in an almighty being and thinks man produced everything on earth then they are very arrogant people and, as I say, if they are non-believers they are damned to hell anyway.”

He continued: “When we all went to church on a Sunday morning and prayed to Jesus Christ, this was a much better country. Look where it’s going now. We’ve got so-called gays, who are really very sad people, and we have non-believers and heathens running the country and running down Christianity.

“It seems it is an offence to run down Islam, but not an offence to run down Christianity.”