@KateForbesMSP twitter

Christian Scottish politician says constituents are telling her stories of religious bullying

Sun 06 May 2018
By Cara Bentley

Kate Forbes MSP called on the government to let children practise belief in school without mockery.  

After being approached by constituents, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate Forbes, brought the topic of religious bullying up in Hollyrood.

People had told her stories of their children feeling uncomfortable about being open about their faith.

Kate Forbes told Premier one was of a “five year old who was in the habit of saying a quick grace before lunchtime and she was getting questioned by other people and I think possibly staff as well.”

“She was just replicating what she would normally do at home and I think it’s right that children are allowed to express their faith in that way.”

The SNP politician said another regarded: “The teenage sons of the minister who were just constantly being accused of being bible-bashers and things like that and they were by no means shoving anything down anyone else’s throat.”

“People should be allowed to be themselves in school.”

Listen to the full interview with Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch speaking to Premier's Cara Bentley here:

Last week the MSP, prompted by the stories of religious bullying, asked the parliament: “what its position is on protecting young people's right to religious observance, education and freedom of religious belief in schools.”

The reply from John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, stated: “Freedom of religious belief is an important feature of Scottish life that must also apply in schools” and said providing education on religion and morals was enshrined in law.

He added: “The legislation also gives parents a right to withdraw their child from these activities, with Scottish Government guidance stressing the importance of including children and young people in any decision to opt out.”

Kate Forbes said she was content with the government’s response and respects the right of parents to withdraw their children from classes.  

She said: “I wanted to note that pupils should be allowed to explore, develop and understand the diversity of religious faith in Scotland because if they can understand it in school you will hope that as they go through the rest of their life they will be tolerant of people who believe things that are different to them.”

"Five year olds should be allowed to say a wee quick grace before lunch if they want to". 

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