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The launch event has taken place today for a network of Christians in Scotland who think that a 'Yes' vote in the 2014 independence referendum would offer significant opportunities for churches and other civic groups to contribute to a better nation and a better world.
Christians For Independence (CFI) was formally launched on Monday 24 February 2014 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.
The main pitch was on social justice. CFI Convenor David Thompson MSP said: “It is the firm proposition of Christians for Independence that a vote for self-governance in September’s referendum gives Scottish Christians the best platform upon which to work collaboratively with others in building a more socially just society at home and abroad. That job begins today.”
The launch also announced plans for a new initiative entitled 'Faith in Scotland’s Future', which will see the new group hold meetings across Scotland, aiming to listen to the viewpoints and queries of churches on the issues of independence.
Former Labour MP Dennis Canavan, chair of the Yes Scotland Advisory board, addressed the launch. He commented: "“Yes Scotland is a broad campaign, embracing people of different cultures and different faiths. We warmly welcome the launch of Christians for Independence.
“Christians have traditionally campaigned for justice and peace, values which are shared by many other people in Yes Scotland. An independent Scotland will mean ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons and helping to build a caring, sharing society with greater standards of social justice.”
The churches in Scotland are firm in not taking sides on the 18 September referendum, which will ask voters in Scotland (including, for the first time, 16 and 17 year old), 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' Instead they want to enable debate on the issues behind the choice and the implications of the choice.
Views in the pews cross the spectrum of Yes, No and Don't Know on the constitutional question. It is not clear whether a Christian 'No' group will emerge in the coming months.
Ekklesia will be looking at the issues raised at the CFI launch - including the role of churches and other faith groups in processes of social change.
* More from Ekklesia on Scottish independence: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence
* Christians for Independence: http://www.yesscotland.net/interest-groups/christians-independence
* CFI Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/ChristiansForIndependenceTweet