Notes by Dave Thompson on TWG meeting 10th. August 2019
Saturday 10th August 2019, Melting Pot, Rose Street, Edinburgh
The meeting was opened with a prayer by Dave. Those present then introduced themselves. Dave then explained the purpose of setting up the TWG.
Its aims are two-fold:
- To show that independence is compatible with Christian belief.
- To consider the place of Christianity in the constitution of an independent Scotland.
This is an initial meeting and most future work will be conducted electronically.
It was agreed that the group would concentrate on the first of the aims and produce a paper on the Theological case for independence, leaving discussion on the constitution of an independent Scotland meantime.
Summary of Discussion:
There followed a lengthy discussion, based on the papers already circulated and wider points raised at the meeting. The following is a much truncated note of the discussion.
The Theological case for independence will be made using biblical, religious and historical material and will be made widely available through our website, social media, leaflets and the media to gain as wide a coverage as possible.
Nations are mentioned in the Old Testament in a way which implies that it is God’s will for mankind to be divided into nations. God created nationalism when he gave people different tongues after they built the Tower of Babel and nationalism can be good or bad. It is up to us to make it a force for good.
It can be argued that the first clear statement of the identity of the nation of Scotland was in the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320.
The United Kingdom is not a nation, it is a union of nations. The fact that Scotland was guaranteed its own church and legal system in the 1707 Treaty of Union shows that Scotland was considered to be a nation. Most church structures point to Scotland as an entity. After 1707 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland dealt with issues pertaining to the nation and thus fulfilled some of the functions of a parliament.
There is a Christian theological argument for Scotland being part of Europe, although there are some who would disagree. Some independence supporters do not want Scotland to remain in or rejoin the EU if we are taken out.
The relationship of church and state is important, and is really a constitutional issue which can be considered when we move to discussing the constitution. However, the importance of the Church of Scotland (the established church) in getting the Scottish Parliament set up via the Constitutional Convention cannot be understated. Professor Owen Dudley Edwards agreed to write a potted history on the importance of the church in getting us to where we are now.
Around two thirds of Catholics supported YES in the 2014 referendum but only around one third of other denominations did so.
If independent, Scotland would have much more influence in the world. A resurgence of Christianity in Scotland would therefore have an international impact.
Love your Neighbour, Social Justice and Stewardship of Creation should be to the fore in our deliberations.
Dave Thompson will produce a draft paper from the contributions so far, written and verbal, which will then go out to the TWG for comment, suggestions and development.