Thursday, August 03, 2006

Scotland: Free Church plea for Presbyterian schools

The "Wee Frees" are more fundamentalist than the Church of Scotland

Free Kirk ministers are calling for Presbyterian schools to be set up to combat "the sustained attack" on Scotland's Christian heritage. The Free Church of Scotland, which fears that children are being fed a secular agenda, is examining whether state funding would be possible or whether the schools would have to be set up privately.

A resolution adopted by the church's General Assembly ordered the review, saying: "The General Assembly express their concern at the sustained attack upon and continual erosion of the Christian ethos and foundation of Scotland's nondenominational schools. "They note with particular concern that the Scottish Executive now deems it appropriate to use schools to further a secular social and cultural agenda."

The Rev David Robertson, the Free Kirk minister in Dundee - who proposed the resolution - said: "We're concerned that the schools are being used, in some parts of Scotland at least, to advance a secular agenda and so we need to look at the possibility of having to set up Christian-based schools. "Ideally we would want Scotland's school system to return to its Christian foundations. Both the Free Church and the Church of Scotland established complete systems of schools in the 19th century which they later handed over to the state."

Robertson admitted that the 12,000-strong Free Church would struggle to set up such schools on its own resources and that it would have to seek out like-minded church-goers from other groups, such as Baptists, the Church of Scotland or other Evangelical believers. He added: "The schools could be set up privately, which would be costly, or there is an case for state funding. We see the current emphasis on faith-based schools, and if we have state-funded Muslim schools, Church of England schools, and Catholic schools, then it's hard to resist the argument for Presbyterian schools, or whatever you would call them."

In recent years some in the Church of Scotland have called for Kirk schools to stem the decline in organised religion.


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