REX/Stuart Forster

CofS reaffirms independence neutrality

Tue 26 Aug 2014
By Antony Bushfield

The Church of Scotland says it does not support any side in the Scottish Independence Referendum despite a number of churches and ministers coming out in support of Yes.

Yesterday more than 30 clergy gave their backing to independence ahead of next month's vote.

Among them is former Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly Dr Andrew McLellan.

Naming Trident as the reason for opting out of the UK he said: “September 18th is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to remove the worst thing in Scotland.

"Speaking against nuclear weapons is good, campaigning against nuclear weapons is good, and praying for their abolition is good.

"But what will change everything is voting ‘Yes’ in the referendum.

"Living in a Scotland free of nuclear weapons will make everything else better.”

The announcement has forced the Church of Scotland to issue a statement reaffirming its neutral stance on the debate.

Moderator Rt Revd John Chalmers said: "Recognising the broad range of views among its members and ministers, the 2014 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided almost unanimously to remain neutral on the issue of independence for Scotland.

"In the light of a pro-independence statement from 33 serving and retired ministers, the Church has been asked to clarify what proportion of ministers this represents. There are 794 serving ministers and 1050 retired ministers, a total of 1844 so approximately 1.8% signed this statement, as is their right.

"The Church is as keen as ever to encourage wide debate and discussion on the issues which matter - social justice, poverty, education, peace.”

On September 18th voters in Scotland will be asked the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

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