Secularists in ‘hostile’ attempt to rid schools of chaplains

A secularist pressure group has targeted every school in Scotland demanding to know about their chaplaincy services.

The Scottish Secular Society (SSS) wrote a letter in September asking 24 questions, including whether material disagreeing with homosexuality had been distributed in the school.

But The Christian Institute urged schools not to be intimidated by the ‘hostile’ Freedom of Information (FOI) request, and reminded schools that it is lawful for them to invite in religious groups.


Colin Hart, the charity’s director, said in his letter to Scottish schools last month: “We are genuinely concerned that some schools may be alarmed at the content of the FOI request”.

He added, “we want to reassure you that schools are fully within their rights to invite chaplains and representatives of faith groups or religious organisations to conduct activities on their premises”.

Mr Hart also said: “The FOI request is wide in scope and shows the SSS’s hostility towards any lawful manifestation of religious and moral belief within Scottish schools.”


He added: “It is regrettable that the SSS seems to be pursuing a political campaign and are content to put schools to expense in furthering their agenda.”

The SSS made the request using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

The law requires public bodies to provide information unless the cost of finding it would exceed £600, or if the person making the request could find the answers another way.


The SSS letter included questions such as whether the school had been visited in the last year by Humanist speakers, and whether external service providers are monitored by staff.

The Scottish Government has rejected a call from the National Secular Society (NSS) for opt-in religious observance in schools.

The Government said ministers were “not persuaded, based on the evidence given, that a move to an opt-in system would be helpful to young learners”.

The NSS had lodged a petition at Holyrood saying the current opt-out system presumed a “uniformity of belief and practice” among children.

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