Christians slate anti-hate campaign

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Religious groups object to poster campaign 

8th October 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A Christian charity has attacked a Scottish Government-run anti-hate campaign.  

Billboard posters targeting racism and homophobia have been posted across the country by the One Scotland campaign, run by the Scottish government and Police Scotland.

However, the Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians abroad, described the posters as a form of “state-sponsored hatred” that unfairly targets believers.

One poster reads: “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.”

The use of the word sermon can be seen as targeting religious groups such as Protestants, Jews and Muslims, the fund says with Hendrik Storm, the charity’s chief executive, saying  Christians had complained that the posters “single out religious believers and call them out as bigots without any real qualification”.

“We have asked Scottish police to withdraw the posters, but if not we hope they will act on our complaint and honestly investigate their joint campaign with the Scottish government,” said Storm.

“We are used to supporting Christians who face prejudice and discrimination, but we have never before felt it necessary to make a formal complaint of this kind in the UK. This is no less than state-sponsored prejudice which we are more used to seeing in a countries where Christians are marginalised and persecuted.”

The Rev David Robertson, minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, also believes the posters are offensive and has lodged a complaint. And a spokesman for the Catholic Church expressed concern over the campaign, saying it ignores sectarianism and calling it “misleading and confused”.

“The campaign has suggested that religious hate crimes are perpetrated by religious believers, but there is no evidence to suggest this is the case,” he said.

“The blanket strategy taken towards religious intolerance is in stark contrast to the very specific approaches adopted for homophobia and transphobia, undermining the government’s commitment to tackling religious hate crime and indicating a very poor understanding of the subject.”

One Scotland was launched in September to encourage victims to report incidents to the police.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Our new campaign, in partnership with Police Scotland, makes clear there is no place for hate crime or prejudice towards any religion in Scotland. It focuses on religion, race, disability, transgender identity and sexual orientation.

“The ‘Dear Bigots’ poster is designed to combat religious hatred, addressing perpetrators of hate crime while encouraging witnesses to report any incidents.”