The Court of Session has judged that the SNP Scottish administration did not have the authority to close churches for public worship in Scotland during the coronavirus pandemic.
The judgment has been published on the last day of the current Scottish Parliamentary session but it is as significant as any of the other judgments in recent weeks.
A number of ministers from various churches challenged by Judicial Review the SNP administration’s decision to shut down churches and stop public worship. They have been successful.
The Justiciary of Scotland’s website states: “An action at the Court of Session challenging the lawfulness of the closure of places of worship in Scotland has been successful.” Lord Braid judged that the Scottish Government regulations “went further than they were lawfully able to do”. He upheld the long-held independence of civil and ecclesiastical authority and jurisdictions in Scotland, which has been in place for hundreds of years, which had been swept aside by Nicola Sturgeon and her administration.
The regulations enacted and enforced by the SNP administration were also judged to be disproportionate and therefore a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 9, on the freedom of religion and the right to engage in public worship. He countermanded the legislation with immediate effect.
So often it is Christian action that secures civil liberties by asserting religious liberties and it is time for a Christian Voice to be heard in the public square once more.
Education in Scotland
Also today, Audit Scotland has produced a Report that shows that the “attainment gap” is as wide as ever between school pupils in the most deprived areas and the least deprived areas in Scotland.
There was an 18% gap in achieving five or more awards at Level 4 – 94% in the least deprived areas and 76.1% in the most deprived areas.
There was a 36.2% gap in achieving five or more awards at Level 5 school leavers – 82.7% in the least deprived areas and 46.5% in the most deprived areas.
Scotland’s schools are failing their pupils and today’s Audit Scotland Report says: “Progress on closing the gap has been limited and falls short of the Scottish Government’s aims. Improvement needs to happen more quickly.”
In 2015 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that she should be judged on closing the attainment gap in Scottish schools and on the SNP record on education. After 14 years of the SNP Scottish administration she has been judged and found wanting.
She also told us that gender issues would be top of the agenda of this administration. Primary school children are now confused by gender identity teaching, sexualising primary school children and at the adult level feminists are arguing against transgender men, and the SNP is in-fighting over transgender issues and gender fluidity. This is some achievement on Sturgeon’s watch.
The Scottish Hate Crime Bill
The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill which abolishes the offence of blasphemy and makes hatred into a crime has been promoted by Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, with his questionable attitude towards white people, criticising 96% white Scotland of being run by ‘white’ people.
James Hamilton’s Report
22 March 2021 James Hamilton’s commissioned report cleared Nicola Sturgeon of four charges of breaching the ministerial code but states that she had given MSPs an “incomplete narrative of events” by failing to tell them about a key meeting.
23 March 2021 The Report of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints (Committee of Inquiry) was published, the main news being its criticism of Sturgeon’s testimony to the Committee.
It has been a busy week for SNP misjudgments. Then, of course, there was the previous month with Alex Salmond’s testimony before the Committee of Inquity. Then there will be the aftermath with Alex Salmond’s continued pursuit of those behind the injustice he experienced. He has wisely intimated his desire to draw a line under the issue, but the main point has been his blow in favour of natural justice although my campaign for a National Justice Service has a long way to go, although there is plenty of material to support it. The Labour Party’s support of advocacy for rape victims is a beginning, but it needs to be available for everyone.
24 March 2021: summary by Christian Concern which led the successful legal case against the SNP Administration’s closing of churches.
27 March 2021: the media and others have asked Alex Salmond to apologize over his treatment of women, politicians have asked Nicola Sturgeon to apologize over the Scottish administration’s mishandling of sexual complaints, but I have not yet heard Sturgeon apologize for shutting churches ‘against the law’. Her defence may be that she did not realise it was against the law until Lord Braid passed his judgment, with which she may disagree, but this was reckoned to be no excuse when Boris Johnson’s Government prorogued Parliament, after which the Supreme Court made the hitherto unknown judgment that Proroguing Parliament had to be done in Parliament. In effect, they established new procedure but usurped Royal authority in the process by making law and applying it retrospectively. In effect, Parliament went through the process again, ‘properly’ this time, and it is helpful to clarify the procedure, but the facts are that the monarch had prorogued Parliament even if the process had been flawed. Retrospective clarification of process can trump royal authority? Where does sovereignty lie in the UK? The answer is in the age-old conflict between the law of man usurping the law of God – “the leaven of Herod”. So, where is Nicola Sturgeon’s apology to the churches or at least an acknowledgment of Lord Braid’s decision? Alex Salmond has accepted the various recent decisions, although he disagrees with James Hamilton’s verdict, and he is ‘moving on’, although the SNP is determined to stop him, such is its love for the people of Scotland, except Alex Salmond (and some others also).