A group of 27 church leaders has been granted permission for a judicial review over the closure of places of worship in Scotland under recent Covid-19 measures.
Court of Session Judge Lord Braid agreed to a “substantive hearing” on 11 and 12 March. If successful, it could see the Scottish Government directed to allow churches to re-open.
The case will be heard remotely and is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
The group is challenging “legislation forcing the closure of churches in Scotland and criminalising public worship”.
It described the assembly of the Christian congregation as “of the very essence in which the being of the Christian Church is expressed” and slammed the regulations as a removal of the fundamental human right to freedom of religion.
Its case calls for the regulations to be declared “unlawful”.
‘Message of hope’
Reverend Dr William Philip, minister of The Tron Church in Glasgow and a Trustee of The Christian Institute, welcomed Lord Braid’s decision.
There is an urgent need for a message of hope and salvation
He said: “Criminalising corporate worship is both damaging and dangerous for Scotland, and we are pleased that this case will be heard in March 2021.”
He added: “At a time when we have been forcefully confronted with the fragility of mortal life, we have allowed the message of the eternal to be eclipsed entirely by the earthly in the national consciousness.
“There is an urgent need for a message of hope and salvation. This is the calling of the Christian Church – especially in dark and difficult days: Jesus Christ is the only hope that dispels all fear, death included.”