Alan Cumming has said he was “excommunicated” by the Church of Scotland for criticising organised religion.

The star said he that after he spoke publicly about being an atheist, his mother Mary received a letter asking him to leave the church.

Cumming, a prolific gay rights campaigner, was brought up in Carnoustie, Angus, and joined the church at the age of 16.

Writing in an online question and answer session with fans, he said: “It was more about tradition, habit, the thing to do. Then I began to realise that my being a part of it was only condoning and validating lots of things I disapprove of: oppression, guilt, shame etc.

“I began to talk about my lack of belief in the press, because, just like gay rights, I think more people need to speak out to highlight hypocrisy and fear.

“The Church of Scotland wrote to my mum and said they had read something about me being an atheist and would I like to leave the church, and I did. So I was excommunicated.”

A Church of Scotland spokesman told the Herald: “We have no knowledge of this. Such a decision could be made at the discretion of an individual congregation’s Kirk session.”