Attempt to ‘edge out’ school chaplains over gay marriage
Mon, 18 Mar 2013
A local council has been accused of trying to edge out school chaplains, with its Deputy Leader wanting to keep out chaplains who back traditional marriage.
Scottish Borders Council Deputy Leader Catriona Bhatia raised concerns about chaplains who may be “anti-gay marriage”.
She insisted that religions are entitled to their views about traditional marriage, but they should not be introduced in schools.
She said: “Parents may be comfortable with religious observance around Christmas, but a particular chaplain may be anti-gay marriage and introduce that into their service.
“How do we know what the content will be of the chaplain’s service? Some chaplains will stay away from issues such as that (gay marriage), but others may sway into it.
“Some religions have different rules and they are entitled to that, but they should not be introduced in our schools.”
The Scottish Borders Council denies that it is trying to silence chaplains, but its education committee did pass new guidelines.
The guidelines say that the “more traditional role of the chaplain may not prove desirable”.
Cllr Sandy Aitchison said more power is being given to head teachers so that they can control how religious observance is handled in a multicultural and largely secular society.
The civil liberties of public sector chaplains will be put at risk if marriage gets redefined.
Already, a police chaplain who voiced support for traditional marriage has been kicked out of Strathclyde Police.
The civil liberty concerns have been raised by leading human rights lawyers and the Scotland for Marriage campaign group.
A Scotland for Marriage spokesman said: “If gay marriage becomes law, anyone who believes in traditional marriage will be treated like an outcast.”
He added: “Local councils, with political correctness surging through their veins, will be poised ready to stomp on anyone that disagrees.”