THERE is a sickening predictability about the Church of Scotland’s decision that it would be “unwise” for it to take a corporate position on Scottish independence. It was reported (May 25) that the General Assembly reaffirmed the policy position to remain impartial which it took 10 years ago.

At that time, it ignored the ethical elephant in the manse kitchen – Trident. And – guess what – the Kirk is still ignoring the monstrous pachyderm in the kitchen. And we are now replacing Trident with the new, improved version, Dreadnought.

But we are still playing the hypocritical game. Earnest wringing of hands, while the race to extinction grows faster. All the Unionist parties support the deployment of the immoral WMD, all who seek independence take a principled stand against. It’s simple, really. We must choose. Just say No. Or rather, scream it out. And from the pulpit.

It is not “impartiality” to remain silent when faced with a moral choice. It is evasiveness, or lack of principle. Trident is a sin crying to heaven for vengeance.

From a Christian position, things could not be clearer. Jesus wept foreseeing the destruction of Jerusalem.

Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling/” What would he say to those who are planning the burning of whole cities, Christians who justify this ultimate blasphemy, this reversal of genesis?

But things have changed.

“Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons but the immorality of their possession.”

These momentous words of Pope Francis, spoken in November 2017, cannot fail to have a devastating impact on all who support nuclear deterrence. For more than half a century, nuclear apologists have made the ethically spurious distinction between “use” and “possession”, as if a state could possess nukes without being prepared to use them, should the deterrence situation break down.

As if nuclear weapons were kept in a vault deep underground or safely locked away in a bank. But no. Countries that possess them, deploy them, ready for use. Now that the Pope has condemned this charade, how will supporters of Trident react?

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Defenders of our nuclear WMD have long lived by an atomic version of the famous prayer of St Augustine: “O Lord, let me be chaste – tomorrow.”

But now this hypocritical game is over. Henceforth this issue must have “status confessionis” – that means it is not optional, but intrinsic and compulsory. Just as in the early church, a person could not offer a sacrifice in the temple to Mars or the emperor, and then be accepted into the Christian community, so today we face a fundamental choice. We can follow nuclear weapons or Christ – but not both. This ruling completely destroys any attempt at moral justification for the policy of nuclear deterrence.

The Church of Scotland is right now apologising (rightly) for its co-operation in the profiteering in the Atlantic slave trade. No doubt there were many who considered it “unwise” to disrupt the normal business of the state at that time. And, in the future (assuming we have one), will we not look back in horror at our present conniving with nuclear mass murder even more than today we regret our co-operation with slavery?

Brian Quail


THEY say that the Church of England is the Conservative Party at prayer. As well they might as they ask for forgiveness indeed!

The Church of Scotland chooses, at its annual gathering, to remain “impartial” on the politics of life.

No wonder, as Eli K mourns (Website Comments, May 27), its demise – and for me this is due to its ineffectiveness and lack of engagement in life! No wonder membership and attendance is “dropping like a stone” but therein lies, in large part, the answer.

Is the Church of Scotland the conservatives here at prayer or is it just too timorous to be relevant?

As Sorley MacLean wrote in another context, “the feebleness of dismal Scotland”. This could equally apply to the Church of Scotland.

Brought up in the Church, I long gave up on it, both because the minister insisted on prayers for the queen and royal family at every Sunday service but more importantly, its total failure to engage politically.

Would Jesus have stood by “impartially” as His People were reduced to food banks, watched the corruption and fraud of elected representatives during Covid without comment, or the greed of the bankers wrecking the economy in 2008 without a whimper?

Of course not, he was “political”.

The Church of Scotland is where it deserves to be – “a bystander” and one of little or no relevance to the people of Scotland.

John Drummond