Scottish Humanists: ‘Rid us of these unelected religious reps’
A report published by the Humanist Society of Scotland reveals that 88 religious representatives have been appointed to education committees without a vote, and the HSS has launched a campaign calling for their removal.
The Enlighten Up campaign calls on Holyrood to ensure every member of local authority education committees is accountable through the ballot box, and asks the public for support via this petition.
Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive, said:
The presence of unelected religious representatives is anti-democratic and out of step with modern Scotland. Parents should not be left guessing who has a right to make decisions over their children’s education. Every full voting member of local education committees should be accountable through the ballot box.
As we look to the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections we hope Scotland’s politicians will agree that it is time to end it once and for all.
The Enlighten Up campaign exposes worrying details of current religious representatives.
The Society, which has over 14,000 members across Scotland, has published details of the 88 religious representatives who have been appointed to local authority education committees without a vote, and exposes several worrying examples of religious appointees who have full voting rights without ever seeking a mandate from the electorate.
In Clackmannanshire, for example, ‘third representative’ Pastor David Fraser, believes that Satan is to blame for the death of a five-year-old child last year, and that Noah’s Ark has been found.
In East Dunbartonshire Church of Scotland representative, Mrs Barbara Jarvie, believes that the Kirk’s role is justified and that unelected church reps work in “conjunction” with elected councillors; and the Roman Catholic education rep is a priest who was found guilty of “unwanted harassment” and making sexual advances towards males in his house.
Falkirk Council’s “third representative”, Rev Michael Rollo (who is also a chaplain in Larbert High), believes in faith healing, while
Catholic representative Jack Nellaney, a member of Renfrewshire Council says Catholic schools are important because:
Faith is not something young people think about day in, day out, so it’s important to give them a chance to reflect on faith in action.
South Lanarkshire council’s “Third representative” Dr Nagy Iskander is one of “Europe’s most active creationists”, according to high-profile American anti-science campaigner Ken Ham.
Speaking in support of the campaign Dame Anne Glover, Professor of Biology, and former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government, said:
A vibrant and engaged modern Scotland needs an education policy that reflects the reality of modern Scottish society. That is why I support the Enlighten Up campaign for education reform in Scotland.
Councillor Jonathan Wills, of Shetland Island Council, added:
Local councillors have to seek a mandate from their community, and they remain accountable to the local community. Having unelected religious representatives on local education committees is outdated and has to change. That is why I support the Enlighten Up campaign for education reform in Scotland.
Hat tip: Ernest Jackson