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Background Info

• To afford a particular section of society a privileged position within the decision making process of local government, based solely on their particular and personal religious beliefs, is profoundly and inherently undemocratic, unfair and discriminatory. It strikes against those specific virtues of justice and integrity underpinning our society and which lie at the heart of the Scottish Parliament.

• 2011 Social Attitudes Survey shows that around 65% of young people (18-25) have no religious affiliation

http://www.bsa-29.natcen.ac.uk/media/13421/bsa29_full_report.pdf

• The legal requirement for religious representative to have a 'recognised place of worship' discriminates against many minority faith groups and belief groups such as humanists, spiritualists, etc, and the non-religious.

• Despite the Church of Scotland claiming that they are impartial on Local Authority Education Committees, the Church and Society Council reported to the General Assembly that they ‘...estimate that these three Church Representatives hold the balance of power on 19 Local Authority Committees’ (Church of Scotland Church and Society Council Deliverance to CoS General Assembly  May 2013 p3/31 para 11.4.3)

http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/13790/3_CHURCH_and_SOCIETY_2013.pdf

• The legislation requires one Catholic, one Protestant and one other religious representative; this seems to reinforce the tolerance of a sectarian and secular divide in Scottish society.

• Edinburgh Secular Society in researching this issue compiled a list of the current 92 religious representatives (July 2013) who sit, un-elected, with full voting rights, on Scottish local authority education committees.

http://edinburghsecularsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Religious-Reps-Edinburgh-Secular-Society-July-2013.pdf

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