24 April 2014
Alliance tells Scottish government: “Christian values can lead to a better Scotland”
Evangelical Christians have welcomed news that the Church will play a vital role in shaping the constitution should Scotland gain independence following September's referendum, but reminded politicians of the part Christianity can play in shaping a good society – whether independent or not.
In a written speech delivered on behalf of Roseanna Cunningham – the Scottish government's minister for community safety and legal affairs - at the showcasing of the Evangelical Alliance Scotland's manifesto What Kind of Nation? in Holyrood yesterday, the MSP praised the work of Christian organisations such as the Salvation Army's Greenock Floating Support services, Christians Against Poverty and the Bethany Christian Trust.
She also told Christian leaders: "We look forward to your continuing participation in Scotland's future, including the drafting of a constitution.
"One of the first and most exciting tasks in an independent Scotland will be the drawing up of a constitution. It's inconceivable that churches and faith groups would not be foundational to the process of drawing up a constitution."
While welcoming the news, the Evangelical Alliance Scotland also urged the Scottish government to remember the Christian values upon which the nation was founded and the positive role churches play in today's society if the "better Scotland" spoken of by the first minister yesterday is to be achieved.
The event on Wednesday (23 April) evening – which was attended by MSPs and representatives from some of Scotland's leading Christian organisations including Bethany Christian Trust and the YMCA – took place at the same time as first minister Alex Salmond's speech in Cumbria. "We want to use the powers of independence to transform our country… We want to get on with building a better Scotland," he said.
But in building a better future for Scotland, the contribution of the Christian faith both in the past and the present must not be forgotten, the Evangelical Alliance urged.
Drawing upon the Christian values of wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity, as inscribed on the Scottish parliament mace, the Alliance reminded politicians that the Church has something to say about the future of Scotland – whether independence takes place or not following September's referendum.
Speaking at the showcasing of the manifesto, Fred Drummond, national director, said: "We want to say the Church has things to say and the Church has a vision for a better Scotland and the Church – which is so often characterised as miserable grumpy 'no people', we wanted to say that we're positive people with a positive vision who believe in a positive God.
"We need to work together to ask what kind of Scotland we actually want to live in. Our manifesto calls on Christians to get involved in shaping a vision for the future that is one of hope.
"Our heart is to work with anyone who will work with us to see a Scotland that is a place of inspiration and hope; a place that's marked by grace and love and forgiveness."
The Evangelical Alliance represents more than 750 organisations and two million evangelical Christians in 3,500 churches across 79 denominations in the UK.
A ruthless commitment to the eradication of poverty, restoration of the dignity of those who rely on the welfare state and tax incentives to encourage the rich to invest in projects that would tackle Scotland's most pressing social needs are among the 38 recommendations included in the Evangelical Alliance Scotland's What Kind of Nation?
The Alliance also announced it will be hosting seven hustings events in cities around Scotland drawing together high profile politicians from either side of the independence debate.
The first hustings takes place on 13 June in Glasgow.
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org