Monday, 12 May 2014

A Service of Reconciliation?

I have to say it is a little patronising for the Church of Scotland to call their planned post-referendum service a 'service of reconciliation'. I understand such an idea would be needed in Northern Ireland although in a cross-denominational setting. But Scotland is not Northern Ireland. We'll disagree with each other verbally not violently and we'll all with maybe a few exceptions accept the result of the referendum and choose to get on with making the result work for the good of the country. We'll all, friends and foes, sit around the table at the pub together after the vote or if not a pub then we'll maybe all go for a nice little walk together in the countryside.

There is a place for the Church in this debate and a post-referendum service to bring politicians together in a single space. I'm not someone who thinks religion is just there to preach dogma. Although I disagree with the Church's stance against gay marriage I do feel the Church can do a lot to help people in their communities and could pass on some moral wisdom for the congregation. With politiicians the Church can be there saying, remember you are there to serve the people who elect you and you have to listen to their issues and their anger because that is your duty. For some politicians, especially those who are religious it is about finding moral courage and just having the time to pray to God and ask that that they, in that most difficult of occupations to get right, find the right answers, the right solutions to the problems and dilemmas they will inevitably face.

Personally, from my perspective what I would like to see in any event of 'reconciliation' is just for somebody to stand up in front of the mixed crowd of politicians and public figures and make the point loud and clear on behalf of Yes voters that the vote they cast in favour of independence was not necessarily to do with identity and wasn't a proclamation of 'Scottish-only'. Many of us voting Yes are NOT Scottish. We don't identify as such but we still believe in a Scotland governed by those elected by its residents. I want someone to stand up and shake this notion of non-solidarity with the people of England from the minds of those hardened unionists who really don't understand the desire for independence. Because I and many others are very angry at the idea that we are indifferent to the suffering of people south of the Border. We want to lead by example as people liberated from the shakles of Westminster. But unionist politicians should realise that if there is a No vote we are simply going to stand-by and sulk of course we will work with other people to get the best deal for Scotland and I hope that unionist politicians recognise that if there is to be a No vote, which I hope won't happen.

A church service at St Giles' on Sunday 21st September is a good idea. It just needs to be something that humbles politicians. It needs to be a place where Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling can shake hands without the same political heat of the debate and maybe even be a place for the two of them to discuss the season ahead for Hearts as they kick off their time in the second tier of Scottish football. Basically lets just make it a service which lightens the mood up. But don't call it a Service of Reconcilliation, it is the wrong term because we will be a nation already reconciled to the decision made three days earlier, we will respect it regardless of the result because this is a referendum where hopefully not a single bullet will have been fired.

St Giles' Cathedral

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