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Ex-SNP leader voted off citizens advice board over anti-gay marriage views

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  1. I may yet move to Scotland, they seem very committed to equality.

    I’d like to know more about the reported links of the religious organisation to an American evangelical group

    1. It’s interesting that the webpage with ‘the Solas story’ that suggested a financial link seems to have gone now.

    2. See this astonishing letter from Solas to ‘American friends’ and ‘gatekeepers’. It has to be read to be believed.

      http://www.solas-cpc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:an-open-letter&catid=11:formal-articles&Itemid=44

      1. very good letter.

        1. I am surprised and disappointed that anyone would welcome a letter which compares homosexuality to polygamy or incest …

          As for the legal system, it should be unbiased and neutral … if it is rooted in any particular belief system then it can be accused (even if it is not in reality) of being biased … I am sure you would wish the legal system to be fair to all …

        2. Sister Mary Clarence 30 Oct 2011, 3:36pm

          Yes, a very good letter indeed, it shows that despite all the bravado, the God-botherers are seeing they are fighting a losing battle.

          I’m pleased see that they recognise that they its the Conservative Party who are driving us to the gates of Hades as they see it … or marriage equality to the rest of us.

          I’m also really proud to see that even in a sleepy little town (I’m avoiding saying ‘backwater’ as I’m genuinely impressed by the Citizen’s Advice there) that the concept of equality has really been embraced.

          The CAB has an image of being a load of conservative (small C) old ladies and retired army majors that mean well but aren’t altogether with it, so its shockingly good that they have stood up for something as modern and current as marriage equality.

          1. @Sister Mary Clarence

            The CAB are an organisation that have helped thousands of people in various forms of distress over many years.

            There is a perception of them being full of well meaning old people – and lots of blue rinse and retired military officers (as you rightly say), even if this is not the reality. (Last tiime I went into a CAB – to meet a friend for lunch who worked for them – there was no one under 40 in the office).

            Given this perception, there is also a view they are unlikely to push the boundaries and be instrumental in ensuring new areas of equality etc.

            That is one strong reason why this decision by the CAB is to be enthusiastically welcomed.

  2. “Solas, which has partnered with the Free Church, said last month that gay marriage was an “attack on marriage” and would violate the rights of heterosexual people.”

    Oh do f@ck off you bigot!
    The only one infringing anyones rights is YOU!

    I admit i’m not in a good mood after reading that.
    We need a petition to be able to discriminate against Christians since they’re the most bigoted hateful people in the world.

    1. What about Muslims. They are also extremely bigoted. But ppl forget to say that!

      1. Sister Mary Clarence 30 Oct 2011, 3:38pm

        Yes, but the article is about Solus, isn’t it, so comments about Muslims wouldn’t really be relevant he would they!

    2. luke from canada 28 Oct 2011, 9:57pm

      so are heterosexual rights more important that gay rights/ shouldnt they all be equal/

  3. Whilst I am pleased that the CAB have taken this action to signify their commitment to equality and impartiality, I do acknowledge that the gentleman is entitled to his views and to share them. I also acknowledge that the CAB board have the right to seek a vote to remove any member for any reason they feel has an impact on the impartiality and integrity of their organisation, and I welcome the stance the CAB have taken.

    1. Nicely put. The BBC article says that he resigned though, according to the CAB, though he now disputes this, apparently so he can claim religious discrimination.

      However, since what constitutes a religious view is entirely subjective, it’s not a good starting point for objectivity.

      1. Be interesting to see how this is played out …

        I think the CAB have done the right thing …

        There certainly is a significant element of subjectivity in determining religious views …

  4. Oh look….christians again. Why will they not accept that many people do not accept their dogmatic claptrap, or their own interpretation of it. As for a connection with CAB – I would not take the advice of someone who believes in the collected camp fire tales of bronze age nomads who could not explain how the sun rose, and has tales of talking snakes, talking donkeys, chatty bushes and zombies.

    1. The rationality of the beliefs of someone giving legal advice are irrelevant. But if they are racist, sexist or homophobic then that is a problem for a service provider committed to equality.

      1. David Waite 28 Oct 2011, 6:47pm

        @ A N Spit. You state, “The rationality of the beliefs of someone giving legal advice are irrelevant.”
        You are mistaken. A deeply religious solicitor might irrationally believe that his/her god commanded him/her to give bad legal advice to an atheist client. Moreover, in the U. S. there is more than one case of lawyers (admittedly mostly graduates of Regency Law School) who gave very bad legal advice to their clients, or knowingly themselves broke the law, because their religious beliefs ‘commanded’ such behavior.

        1. @David

          In those scenarios then there is a very severe problem indeed …

          However, there are plenty of reputable lawyers of all faiths and none

  5. Ass’ol from Solas voted off the board for anti-gay scaremongering.

    Good!

    1. He wasn’t voted off, he wasn’t re-elected after resigning.

      1. Thank you ANS for keeping it real.

  6. Can he provide the documented evidence as to how same-sex CIVIL marriage harms heterosexuals and their marriages? Where is the proof? Why do these religious ninnies insist that their reliigious beliefs should be able to trample on the civil rights of others? Since when?

    A N Spit, yes, I noticed that too, where exactly did that Solas story go?

    1. They removed that but they do still seem to be enlisting American support in their crusade against us, see the letter I’ve linked below.

      http://www.solas-cpc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:an-open-letter&catid=11:formal-articles&Itemid=44

    2. The APA has denied the existence of any “scientific justification” for a ban on same-sex marriage.
      So that only leaves anti-gay bias and prejudice as “justification” for being against same sex marriage.

  7. Why are religious people so scared of marriage being open to gay people? Really – what is the big deal about it? Why do they seem to want to make this issue their ‘line in the sand’?

    1. Because it is easy for religious leaders to appeal to popular prejudice and to incite their followers into group action.

      1. Father Ted 28 Oct 2011, 4:44pm

        But if you can claim it’s religious belief you claim an exemption.

  8. “An Open Letter from the United Kingdom to Evangelical Christians in America”

    See this astonishing letter from Solas to ‘American friends’ and ‘gatekeepers’. It has to be read to be believed.

    http://www.solas-cpc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:an-open-letter&catid=11:formal-articles&Itemid=44

  9. Father Ted 28 Oct 2011, 4:39pm

    Here’s another gem from the Solas website:

    “I would not want to say that all those who follow Darwin’s theory of evolution are inclined towards mass murder – that would just be foolish. But it is significant that several of the lone killers in Western society in recent years have cited the theory of natural selection as a justification for their actions……Barry Arrington was the lawyer for the Columbine victims and declares “…There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles. For example, he wrote: “YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE??? Natural SELECTION! It’s the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms . . . but it’s all natural! YES!”

    http://www.solas-cpc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35&Itemid=30

  10. I just hope our government keeps foreign interference out of our domestic affairs. The majority of American evangelicals are extreme right wing and vehemently anti-gay. None of them should be allowed entry into the UK, just as other indidividuals from the U.S. of that ilk have been banned from our shores, e.g. Michael Savage and Fred Phelps.

  11. I am disappointed that the CAB has taken this action, particularly as I am (and remain) a supporter of the CAB, doing as it does supporting the more vulnerable people in our society. I believe historically the CAB’s existence has been due to a large extent to the unheralded work of Christian folk who may well have shared similar views to Mr. Wilson. It makes that decision even more poignant.

    I would have much rather the Dundee CAB had taken the “righteous” view – we remain committed to equal opportunities (many of the cases it deals with have a bearing on this issue) but we are also committed to people’s right to have take a view over the issue of gay marriage.

    While I hope this, in a long string of similar actions, does not lead to a polarisation of positions and the ghettoing of the Christian presence in wider society, I fear it could.

    1. However, the CAB state that the gentleman resigned (I am aware he disputes this) and the vote was not to reappoint him …

      The CAB are entitled to take whatever action they feel necessary in the interests of natural justice and/or to protect the good name and integrity of their organisation …

    2. JohnB, these so called “christians” would do better to stay out of what is purely a civil matter. Nobody is demanding that the government mandate religious marriage. If it were, then I would have no qualms about “christians” having the right to express their views. We don’t call for a ban on religion because some of us don’t believe in any of it, yet they want us banned from civil marriage with impunity. They invite anti-christian sentiment with their unchristian condemnation and judgement of gay people in what is a purely civil matter and has absolutely NOTHING to do with their denominations whatsoever. Civil marraige was invented by the state, not by anything written in the bible.

    3. Unfortunately so many “Christians” and their spokespersons today behave as though they have just been sent by the ministry of misinformation to spread scurrilous lies.

      1. for example??

        1. Just one example,
          Christian Institute slammed for ‘dangerous’ and ‘misleading’ campaign against sex education
          Discussions of the Education Bill in the House of Lords became heated last night as prominent children’s rights advocates slammed the Christian Institute for spreading ‘misinformation’ and ‘wicked insinuations’ about amendments relating to inspecting well-being in schools insinuating that proposed changes ‘would force schools to teach five year-olds about sex’.
          Baroness Massey said ‘Never in the time that it has been my honour to serve in your Lordships’ House have I known such a sinister and vicious campaign, which has sought to misinform others.’
          Read it all here:

          http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/920

        2. Commenting on the (same) debate, BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said, ‘This is not the first time the religious lobby has been accused of using misinformation and scaremongering to try to influence public policy. In the past few years we’ve seen misleading campaigns not only on sex education but also on assisted dying, stem cell research, and human fertilisation and embryology.

          ‘In a liberal democratic society, people and groups must be able to express their views and opinions freely, and to lobby parliamentarians if they wish. However, it is also really important and in the public interest to challenge and expose information that is misleading or false.’

          1. Hi Pavlos: Thanks you for this. I’m going to be out the rest of the day and after that I need to reflect on and research what you have presented.

            I realise once again a PN reader has once again questioned the integrity of CI statements. This is regretable because I would much rather the debate be about the issues. If people, whoever they are, deal in lies then that is not likely to happen.

            You will see in another thread a discussion I have had with Iris and Stu on the matter and as a result I have written to CI for clarification.

            As you appreciate there will be strong views on these issues but if we are to have a sensible discussion we need to address the facts, which is not always easy of course because we are all influenced by our worldview to start with.

            I also can’t help wondering where Baroness Massey and Naomi Philips come from in terms of their agenda. They are hardly likely to be sympathetic to CI given their own well publicised views!?

  12. The irony is Jesus would have been in f\avour of gay marriage

    1. where is your evidence?

      1. Sister Mary Clarence 30 Oct 2011, 3:45pm

        Its buried, along with everything else that took place in bible days.

        We are just left with a collection of passed down tales of what did and didn’t happen, translated and re-written from language to language over centuries.

        Small wonder really that there is some confusion. I guess we’ll never really know..

    2. The argument “what would Jesus do?” is a dodgy argument whichever side of the debate it lands on, so I tend to avoid it. Theoretical authority is pure speculation… “I think if I was in that dead historical figure’s shoes I would have said…” isn’t exactly first-hand testimony.
      Nevermind what Jesus may or may not have thought, he’s not around to confirm or deny hypothetical opinions he might have had. I’m more interested in what you think.

  13. Dr. R Guthrie 29 Oct 2011, 6:59pm

    Hi Stu.

    Are we counting the number of times the “Religous” are screwing us yet.

    I am.

    And every time it occurs I am going to introduce an incremented count to these fora, reminding you of that fact.

    Apologise for their right of belief if you will, however their must come a time whereby they are drawn to account for their actions and the end result of those actions.

    I’m watching.

    1. @Dr Guthrie

      I’m honoured that someone who took 9 years of long study to earn his title, who has such passion about organisational ethics that they left the prospect of significant earnings in the NHS and who appears to feel that the experience of carrying out autopsies is more significant than other peoples life experiences (given your recent comments) … chooses to watch me …

      NOT!

      Its odd that you never seem to notice that many of your views I share … not all …. it seems you always look for conflict and never the commonality … that must be quite a bitter life to lead …

  14. Stu – about your two earlier replies …

    Re. the letter, the reference to polygamy and incest is unfortunate as too often in the past some Christians have linked this with homosexuality, which I believe to be wrong. I know nothing about the author of the letter but I take it he was elaborating on his point “it as read that any child who is brought up and not taught that homosexuality is normal will be damaged” which he sees as one consequence of the “privatisation” of Christianity and the abandoning of our Judaeo-Christian heritage. I think he is saying that if you rely on subjective opinion as the basis of our decision making then anything potentially goes. I think the examples while relevant are unfortunate. Certainly, we need a legal system that is fair and just and while you will likely not agree with this, one based on our Christian heritage with some tweaking for the modern age will give us just that and one based on subjective opinion will likely end in oppression. The reason I liked the letter was that some of his experience and concerns echo my own.

    Re. your other reply, the CAB can appoint who they like but I find it regrettable the reason they did not appoint this man is because of his opinion on gay marriage – presumably one could have lots of wacky ideas on other subjects and it would be ok. To me it illustrates perfectly Andrea Williams astute “climate of fear” observation that seems to be gripping this country where people either don’t say what they think or if they do they will be marginalised. It has nothing to do with equality of opportunity, which is an area in my own work which I happen to champion. I also work with our local CAB on a number of social justice issues. Would you advise them to sever that relationship because of the views on gay marriage that I have expressed in these forums?

    1. thanks to the PN ready that pointed out:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP2wYBvEO_s&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
      I believe it is well presented and articulates some of my own concerns and views.

      1. Scaremongering misinformation and untruths, I’m not surprised you say it articulates your own views, this video presentation is tailored to appeal to persons who hold the same prejudices that you do and who wholly disregard inconvenient facts that don’t suit their anti-gay “Christian” agenda.
        Comparing homosexuality to incest and polygamy is scurrilous and dishonest, it shows a complete lack of any legitimate argument against full homosexual equality.

    2. Baroness Massey said, (of the Christian Institute) ‘Never in the time that it has been my honour to serve in your Lordships’ House have I known such a sinister and vicious campaign, which has sought to misinform others.’
      Commenting on the debate, BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said, ‘This is not the first time the religious lobby has been accused of using misinformation and scaremongering to try to influence public policy. In the past few years we’ve seen misleading campaigns not only on sex education but also on assisted dying, stem cell research, and human fertilisation and embryology.

      ‘In a liberal democratic society, people and groups must be able to express their views and opinions freely, and to lobby parliamentarians if they wish. However, it is also really important and in the public interest to challenge and expose information that is misleading or false.’
      http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/920

      1. … to determine absolutes in terms of what is right and wrong, as those who have faith.

        I wonder why you find the examples of polygamy, bestiality and incest as relevant, as I (and I am sure most on PN) find this viewpoint offensive. I wonder if there is some unscrupulous aim from some who use these comparisons to dehumanize and treat LGBT as subhuman, because I can not find another explanation – people using this argument do not make me feel subhuman, but make me feel they believe I am subhuman.

        I would argue any legal system based in any faith, will be (because of its basis) inherently biased – and that is wrong.

        I do not think equality of civil marriage (and religious for those who want it) is a wacky idea. I think opposing it is immoral and prejudiced.

        As for the CAB, they have stated this gentleman resigned – he was not voted back on the board … so be it … His views are not those the CAB share, it is for them to determine what they feel is endorseable and what is not

        1. Above posted out of sequence – sorry (it is the continuation of a post below)

          Both are addressed to JohnB

    3. Firstly, I am grateful for you pointing out that you do believe that the comparison of homosexuality with polygamy and incest (and at times bestiality) is wrong and inappropriate. Unfortunately, many Christians have (and continue to) make such links. The linking of gay people to polygamy, incest and bestiality is often used as an attempt to dehumanize LGBT people.

      Christianity should never be government sponsored or a state decided scenario. The “privitisation” of Christianity applies equally to Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism etc etc. The law of the land must be blind to any prejudice whether that be on orientation grounds, race, religion or otherwise. That would produce the legal system we both seek, that is fair and just.

      There is no incompatibility with being able to hold moral values and being secular, and just because those values are decided in a secularly governed arena does not mean that such moral decision making is subjectice – secular people are equally able ..

      1. Stu: I am pleased that, unlike some, you do listen to what “the opposition” says. Also, if Christians do dehumanize LGBT people, and I fear in some cases they do, that is regretable. For as we both agree, not only do we share a common humanity we often do agree on things that do matter.

        I think in today’s society, Christianity is now being replaced by another religion (for that is what it is) – secularism – which also has a belief system, albeit not based on any written creed. I suspect though if we are to pursue this line of argument we would end up in a long philisophical discourse with likely no resolution – maybe over a pint, one day we might have a go :-)

        I agree LGBT people can be just as moral an non, so I am pretty sure when it comes to disallowing polygamy, incest and bestiality we will be in agreement.

        My worry is that when the State does away with an agreed basis for its law making (it was the 10 commandments etc. although admitedly often implicitly and not always too well) and turns its back on God then the consequence is not good for our nation. While we ought to be grateful we live in a democracy, which in spite of its limitations does place a check on state excesses, I fear the worse when it does not have a moral reference point and makes do with the assumptions of a secularist elite.

        I enjoy these discussions and no doubt there will be more. Moreover, these issues do matter because ultimately it affects everyone. I do feel from a Christian perspective, that the focus should be on living out the gospel for sadly, while I disagree with a lot of what is written in these forums, I do agree that the lack of evident authentic Christianity has been / can be a stumblingblock to the readers.

        1. JohnB

          Whilst there are many philosophical and ideological views and beliefs that we would profoundly disagree (and do) about, there are plenty of areas where we would agree (even if the basis on which we formed our opinion on those areas was somewhat different).

          I also enjoy debating with someone who is prepared to listen to “the other side” and prepared to acknowledge that alternate perspectives exist and are equally valid.

          I think that you are one of the few non-LGBT Christians who choose to participate in discussions on PN that (on the whole) does so in a temperant and fair manner. Unfortunately, there are some who choose to contribute with vitriol, dehumanizing comments and ridicule. It is understandable (whilst not ideal) that this can lead to inflammatory comments to Christians as a whole from many on PN. I know I become frustrated at times with certain commentators on the forums. I am sure others become frustrated at me.

          I see it as crucial that the law of the land …

        2. … is unbiased. That means it is blind to faith, race, sexual orientation, gender, income etc etc

          There is nothing to prevent a secular legal system from maintaining good moral values. The ten commandments (albeit without their references to having no other God etc etc) are on the whole laudable and moral aims. Not all states are either Judo-Christian in origin or still regard themselves as Judo-Christian. However, all countries outlaw murder, theft, assault, perjury, fraud, etc etc. Thus it is not essential to have a religious foundation in any law.

        3. I have made the error of beginning to get into a discourse on philosophical arguments about secularism in my reply – its just so easy to bounce ideas and express views sometimes.

          I think we could have a friendly and enjoyable debate over a pint. It is a long way between us though. Who knows what the future may hold?

      2. “Firstly, I am grateful for you pointing out that you do believe that the comparison of homosexuality with polygamy and incest (and at times bestiality) is wrong and inappropriate.”

        We do NOT have to be grateful for that.Only a fool make that comparrison. Are we now thanking these religious freaks for showing a glimmer of intelliegnce now? They’d need to impress me a little more then that as they waffle huprocritically about thier devolved religionon a gay site for thanks. We no more then them for showing reudimentary intelliegnce than we do a child that does not put its finger in a plug socket.

        1. Maybe we dont have to be grateful … nonetheless, I am grateful

  15. JohnB wrote:
    “I also can’t help wondering where Baroness Massey and Naomi Philips come from in terms of their agenda. They are hardly likely to be sympathetic to CI given their own well publicised views!?”

    You answered your own question, Baroness Massey and Naomi Philips views are well known and their arguments are based on sound research, the difference between them and the likes of the Christian Institute is that, unlike the so-called Christian Institute, they do not run misleading campaigns full of wicked insinuations based on lies, fabrications and empty scaremongering to achieve their aims.
    Lying may work short term to stir up fabricated controversy and hysteria but eventually people wise up to the repetitive misinformation pumped out by The Christian Institute as they do the Christian Legal Centre and Christian Concern twins and recognise that theirs is a strategy and an agenda devoid of moral integrity or worth.

  16. I live in Dundee and despite probably being slightly biased i do feel safe here as a person who identifies as gay. Dundee is not the most significant Scottish city but I do believe a leaf can be taken from our book for accepting the LGBT population in the city. In my opinion the CAB in Dundee took the correct decision in regards to this man, they are protecting the needs of many over the views of one (or a few), and as far as I am concerned the CAB are there to give advice not give opinion.

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