No sermons

11th April 2003 at 01:00
Ministers of the realm may have ducked the question but church ministers have not. The Church of Scotland's education committee deserves credit for asking what it believes is the obvious question about compulsory religious observance of a "broadly Christian" character: "Is this kind of legal provision, now some 130 years old, relevant in this day and age?"

The Kirk follows its logic in rejecting the dragooning of reluctant young people into assemblies in an increasingly secular and no-faith society.

That is a commendable stance and one commissioners at the General Assembly may not accept. It is a conservative body. But like other edicts from the Michael Forsyth era, this one has also proved unworkable.

Scottish Executive ministers have so far avoided such openness towards the realities in non-Catholic schools with a low-key and lengthy consultation on observance, avoiding another potential Section 2A wrangle. You might think there is an election looming.

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