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The Godly Scots

A Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) criticises Scotland for the religiously privileged position afforded to three “religious representatives” who are required by law to be appointed to all 32 local authority education committees.
These positions require at least one Roman Catholic and one Church of Scotland representative, but non-religious people are excluded. The report also highlighted the disparity of sex and relationships education, and religious education between Roman Catholic faith schools and others in Scotland.
Douglas McLellan, Chief Executive of the Humanist Society Scotland said:  “Many commentators in Scotland still seem unable to mention humanists or atheists without adding the term ‘militant’ or ‘aggressive’. I hope this report will make them reflect on how hurtful that is to the many millions of Scots who wish to lead an ethical and fulfilling life without reference to religion.”

Victimised atheism

The latest census reveals that in the UK respondents with no religion was up 10 points to 25%. A detailed survey in 2012 revealed that religious people make up 59% of the world population, while those who identify as “atheist” make up 13%, and an additional 23% identify as “not religious” (while not self-identifying as “atheist”).

Many countries criminalize manifestations of atheist convictions or skeptical thoughts. In prosecuting these “crimes” it may not be necessary to accuse the person of atheism. Many states prosecute people who express their religious doubts or dissent regardless of whether those dissenters identify as atheist. More commonly, secular people experience discrimination when they manifest their conscience by acting against the dictates of the religion of their family, community or country. In some societies allegations of religious dissent are manufactured for use against minority belief communities, or vulnerable individuals, or to settle personal vendettas. A ha…