Leading Scottish Christian voices opposition to faith schools - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
May 23, 2005

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Leading Scottish Christian voices opposition to faith schools


The Church of Scotland's new Moderator has courted controversy by opposing state-funded faith schools.

His comments came in an interview published just hours after his installation.

During the interview, Rev David Lacy voiced support for a fully integrated education system, while opposing state-funded faith schools.

"I don't think there is any requirement on the state to provide schools for any one faith," he said. "I'd rather see each faith providing education in any way it wants, as an extra."

Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the Moderator's comments were "interesting and very helpful".

"Certainly, we have been on record as welcoming him and wishing him success during his term," he said.

He added: "On the issue of faith schools: Scotland is a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, and it is a pity our education system doesn't reflect that."

However, it is understood that in the broad spectrum of the Church, Mr Lacy is viewed as holding what are looked upon as centrist opinions.

But one senior member of the Church said that it was important not to look upon Mr Lacy's views as having any bearing on the Kirk's position.

"The Moderator has to be very careful when he is speaking as the ultimate representative of the General Assembly and when he's speaking as a private individual," he said. "On this occasion I think he was very much commenting on the latter role."

The Rev David Lacy also said that the Scottish Executive should be pursuing policies supporting and promoting marriage, and questioned adoption by gay and lesbian couples adding that the Catholic Church had been "more coherent" in the past than the Kirk in adopting moral positions.

For many on the liberal wing of the Church, Mr Lacy's comments have been a sign that he will be one of the most conservative moderators in recent years.

However, his comments on faith schools will be welcomed by more radical Christians.

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