By RYAN MCDOUGALL
Pro—indy Christian politicians have come out in favour of LGBT+ rights, including marriage.
Alison Dickie, SNP councillor and wife of a Baptist minister said she believes there have been ‘times where the Church has hurt people,’ and that Christianity has been ‘less than inclusive’ towards the LGBT+ community.
The Edinburgh Southside/Newington councillor told attendees at an SNP conference fringe event: “It hurts me that there are still young people right across our churches, families too, that are continuing in an agonising silence and many eventually having to leave, feeling they’ve got no choice, and often damaged by that experience.”
She added: “Yes, we say we welcome them, and yes we say we want to show God’s love and we do — but it’s a love that’s got conditions on it. It’s a love that asks people to deny who they are, how they were born, the loving relationship that [LGBT+ people] could have had.”
Dickie stated that she is worried about where the consensus regarding LGBT+ issues lies within Christianity, despite being at a progressive time where people should be celebrating social justice. She said: “It hurts me to know how many gay people, friends of mine, who would love to actually be part of the church or part of the Christian faith, are denied that experience.”
The progressive stance is not fully echoed throughout UK politics. Ahead of this year’s general election, former Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, a practising Christian, was repeatedly asked to comment on whether he believed homosexuality is a sin or not.
The Conservative party originally voted against LGBT+ people bring allowed to adopt, and were against lowering the age of consent for gay people to 16. Theresa May has since said: “I am proud of the role my party has played in recent years in advocating a Britain which seeks to end discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity, but I acknowledge where we have been wrong on these issues in the past.”
Echoing Dickie’s views was Green MSP Ross Greer, the country’s youngest MSP and a member of the Church of Scotland. He too told attendees that he has had friends who are gay and feel that they are unwelcome in the Church.
“There have been times where religion has caused personal damage to individuals,” he said.
“The Church of Scotland this year decided to issue an apology to the LGBT+ community which I felt was quite powerful. It, in itself does not undo the hurt and the damage that has been done, and that’s something for us all to wrestle with individually, but we also have to think about how the church will open up and engage with the rest of society.”
While he does not approve of same—sex marriage, Pope Francis last month came out in favour of ‘civil—unions’, and said last year Catholics should apologise to the LGBT community for being ‘very negative towards gay people’.
Christians for Independence are a cross—party, non—denominational group who formed in 2014, before the Scottish independence referendum.