Posters – and a video – created by the Scottish government to combat hate crime are being interpreted as an attack on the religious.
Among those accusing the government of generating hatred towards Scottish faith-heads include the Reverent David Robertson of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee.
It is an absolute contradiction – a poster that is supposed to be against hatred that then encourages hatred. I showed my congregation the poster and they couldn’t believe it. It’s basically a poster that says if you are religious then you are a bigot.
The campaign makes clear that Scotland has will not tolerate bigots, racists, homophobes and transphobes, and encourages people to report hate crimes.
Robertson said he reported the campaign’s posters for “fanning religious hatred.”
Meanwhile the international Christian ministry the Barnabas Fund has called on the government to withdraw the posters because they “promote anti-Christian prejudice.”
One campaign message states:
Division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why if we see or hear your hate, we’re reporting you. End of sermon.
You can’t spread your religious hate here. End of sermon.
Yet another says:
Do you think it’s right to harass people in the street? Right to push transgender people around in clubs? Right to humiliate, intimidate and threaten them online? Well, we don’t. That’s why if we see you doing harm, we’re reporting you. We believe people should be allowed to be themselves. Except if they’re spreading hate.
Barnabas said the posters are a form of “state-sponsored hatred” that unfairly targets members of the Christian faith.