MSP Ruth Davidson, who hopes to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, says she would back more faith schools.
Ms Davidson, who is a lesbian, did not discuss the schools’ views of her sexual orientation.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye programme, the 32-year-old said: “I’ve never personally understood why councils are the de facto supplier of education and there’s no choice.
“I mean, I would like to see the Church of Scotland, if it wants to set up faith-based schools, to be able to do so.
“I welcome the Roman Catholic denominational schools in my area, and I see a large number of people who maybe aren’t from the Roman Catholic community who see something of value and go to them as well.”
She added: “As long as we have an independent inspection regime to make sure that the schooling that they have is above the standard at which we require then I don’t see why taking slightly different routes and slightly different inferences in the way we teach is a bad thing.
“I think we should be able to choose how and where your child learns.”
Ms Davidson, who is tipped to win the leadership race, added: “I am a member of the Church of Scotland, I attend services, I believe in God, I appreciate my own faith, I tend not talk about it [her faith] but you’re asking me quite personal questions, but I think the grounding that I’ve had through my own church has helped me shape my views on the world – my views on tolerance, on love, on appreciating other people, on service or on duty – and I don’t think any of these things are bad things.”