Inconsistencies and contradictions

Trekking the highways and byways of social media this past few days I have gained the sense that I am the only one not swooning over Kate Forbes on account of her ‘honesty’. Everybody seems mighty impressed with the fact that she came right out and told us something we already knew. Something she could only have concealed if she’d had one of those Men in Black memory-wiper gadgets big enough to do the entire population. Kate’s got religion! And she admits it! This seems to impress the shit out of an awful lot of people. I’m at a loss to know why. It’s not like she’s confessed to being a cannibal or revealed that she has one of the more embarrassing sexually transmitted diseases. She’s a God-botherer! Big deal!

Religious faith is not an uncommon affliction. Less common than it once was. Which, I suppose, is a small blessing ─ even if probably not one we should thank Heaven for. Nonetheless, a sizeable part of the population remains to a greater or lesser extent, mired in medieval superstition and scriptural dogma. So why the fuss about Kate Forbes? Why no similar fuss about every politician who professes religious faith? These are the type of questions that those awestruck by her forthrightness don’t trouble to ask. Perhaps because they have grown unaccustomed to anything resembling honesty from politicians. What Kate Forbes offered certainly looked superficially like uncommon honesty. Which, by rights, should have made folk suspicious right away. A certain amount of cynicism is an essential protection against deceit and dupery.

Why the unique fuss over Kate Forbes? Is it something about her? If it is, I’m failing to see it. Aside from the fact that she has managed to make a positive impression on a lot of people (or not yet fucked-up), Ms Forbes seems little different from the majority of her colleagues. More likeable than some. Prettier than most, if that still counts for anything. But otherwise, unremarkable. There is the fact that she is vying to become leader of the largest political party in Scotland – by far – and almost certainly First Minister, as well as the de facto face and voice of the independence movement. That is an important bit of context all too often discounted by those perhaps over-eager to be impressed. None of this, however, seems to warrant the almighty fuss that has arisen.

Kate Forbes’s defenders (apologists?) maintain that it all a storm in a tea-cup got up by her enemies and/or the other candidates and/or the media. All of which may well be true, to a certain extent. But none of which precludes there being a genuine issue behind the smearing efforts of opponents and the distortion and exaggeration applied by the media. It is surely that which is being distorted and exaggerated which is of interest. After all, the media makes a big fuss about mass-murderers and nobody suggests that this means there is no crime.

So, I ask again, why the fuss about Kate Forbes and her ‘honesty’ regarding her religious faith? What else but the nature of that faith?

One of the things pointed out by the Forbes fan club is that many other politicians profess a religion of one kind or another and nobody is troubled by that. Firstly, I would challenge the notion that nobody is bothered about religionists occupying places in the legislature. A lot of people are uncomfortable with any overlap between religion and law-making. It is just a matter of degree. It is true that the same fuss would not have been made had Forbes owned up to being a member of one of the more ‘mainstream’ religious sects – Muslim or Catholic, for example. Again, this would seem to beg the question as to why Forbes is being singled out – or subjected to scrutiny, as I would put it. It should be obvious now that it has something to do with the nature of the religious faith she professes.

Kate Forbes is a fundamentalist Christian. The church to which she belongs is a fundamentalist Christian church. It is not one of these laid-back, easy-going, live and let live modern religions where the ten commandments are regarded as guidance notes and almost any manifestation of human weakness or folly is casually tolerated – if not eagerly incorporated into the belief system. The Free Church of Scotland preaches scriptural inerrancy. Their God is to be feared and obeyed. If the Bible says something is unacceptable to their God, that thing has to be abhorred by all who profess their belief in that God. There is no leeway. None of it is optional. It’s scripture, the whole scripture and nothing but scripture ─ for everybody.

I do mean everybody! The Free Church of Scotland is an evangelical sect. Which means they think everyone should believe as they do and they work at making everybody believe as they do. This is not a dialectic. Nor even a dialogue. These terms imply an exchange of ideas with the possibility of either or both parties’ ideas being changed by the process. Evangelicals are there to preach, not to listen. For a fundamentalist to even admit the possibility of their beliefs being changed by way of rational argument would be tantamount to heresy. That’s what fundamentalism is. It’s what it means. Religious fundamentalists aren’t going to ‘come round’ to the idea of homosexual relations or same-sex marriage or any of that Sodom & Gomorrah stuff. The best that might be hoped for is that religious fundamentalists will desist from stoning, burning, beheading or otherwise inflicting horrors on those they deem unfit to live in the world created by their God.

Do not mistake for tolerance that fundamentalists are not screeching their hatred at all and sundry. They are simply biding their time.

This is the reason for all the fuss about Kate Forbes. The core reason. The reason that remains even if you strip away all the media crap and the ulterior motives of her opponents. Kate Forbes professes a fundamentalist religious belief. That, together with the fact that she wants to be First Minister, is what sets her apart from the others. That is what provokes comment. Her defenders choose to ignore the fundamentalist nature of the religion Kate Forbes professes. They insist that her religious faith should not be a consideration. That it forms no part of the context. Which is every bit as insane as insisting that a man can become a woman merely by wishing it so.

How can it not be a consideration that the person seeking to be First Minister is bound by their faith to regard homosexuals as among the worst of the world’s sinners? How can it not be a consideration that this individual espouses as a tenet of her religion that their God has more say in how a woman disposes of her body than the woman herself? How can it not be a consideration that, in professing their religious faith, this person has declared the conviction that same-sex marriages cannot ever be legitimate in the eyes of their God and therefore in the eyes of the world? How can it not be part of the context of the current political contest that one of the candidates would bring these beliefs and convictions and attitudes into the First Minister’s office should they succeed? How can we possibly discount this?

But! But! But! Kate Forbes says she can leave her religious faith at the door when she steps into the First Minister’s office, her defenders will protest. Shite! Both things cannot be true. It cannot simultaneously be true that a person adheres to a fundamentalist religious faith and that they can set aside the strictures of that faith as and when they find it expedient to do so. The two propositions are mutually exclusive.

So, either Kate Forbes is being insincere about her declared religious beliefs, or she is being disingenuous about her ability to function as if she did not hold those beliefs. This, and not here religious faith per se, is why I am uncomfortable with the idea of Kate Forbes as First Minister. Although I am honest enough to tell you that I find all religious faith unfortunate and the fundamentalist variety quite abhorrent. But what I detest even more is deceitfulness. And one way or another, Kate Forbes is being deceitful.

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25 thoughts on “Inconsistencies and contradictions

  1. I accept your arguments regarding fundamantalist religions, Peter, buit why are you not also applying them to Hamza Yousaf? The Moslem faith is also a fundamentalist religion yet he is not being subjected to the same scrutiny.
    I deplore his lack of frankness around the vote on same sex marriage, which, i feel, makes him seem less trustworthy than Kate Forbes and would not vote for him, if i were entitled to do so. Whereas I would give a second place vote to her, after Ash Regan.


    1. Islam is not a fundamentalist faith. There are fundamentalist Islamic sects. There are also fundamentalist Christian sects. The Free Church of Scotland is a fundamentalist Christian sect. If you can demonstrate that Humza Yousaf belongs to a fundamentalist Islamic sect, you will have something like a point.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter: Kate Forbes is no more of a fundamentalist than Humza Yousaf, Peter. I am sure that lots of people who are not fundamentalist also do not like the thought of gay marriage. I don’t know why, but there it is. The fact is that she cannot be discriminated against because of her religious belief because these are protected in the 2010 Equality Act. She and Humza should be considered as candidates only on what they have stated, and, nowhere has she stated that she would enforce her views on others. So long as she allows a free vote on conscience on issues that are sticky and personal, there can be no traction on forcing her to remove herself.

    If you don’t mind my saying so, Peter (you probably will mind, but you are open-minded) you are falling into the trap of the ‘wokerati’. Gradually, all the other exceptions/protected characteristics contained in the 2010 Equality Act are being undermined one by one. First to be undermined was biological sex, then disability, now religious belief. What is going to be left except gender reassignment, and many people laud that as “stunning and brave”. Trumpets blare: end of 2010 Equality Act. Homosexuals and lesbians have defended her right to her beliefs because they know that taking out one protected characteristic weakens the whole structure of the EA and undermines it fatally.

    What if Ash Regan is Catholic? Irish name, so a possibility. Must she also step aside? Angus Robertson, once believed to be Nicola’s successor, is a Lutheran. Would that have disqualified him? Not having a go, Peter, honestly, but we have to be careful when we dismiss someone on his or her belief system. I would have respect for a ‘trans’ person who actually stood as ‘trans’, and not as a ‘woman’, thereby breaching women’s rights. Nicola Sturgeon pressed her belief in ‘trans’ on the entire Scottish population, did she not, and fell because of her high-handedness – and she is still trying to push for the GRRB to pass. I never heard that she was particularly religious. Even secularist politicians have their hobby horses, but it is the job of the SPADS, the civil service, the police, the judiciary and even the Kirk to keep them from becoming steeped in intolerance of other views – if they are not captured.

    Most of us will not even know anyone who is a Wee Free, unless we hail from certain parts of Scotland, and the Wee Frees have not invaded every aspect of public life (not yet, at least) and infected it with a belief system that is wholly unsustainable unless you are a totalitarian. All religions have a totalitarian aspect, as do all secular political systems, but it is up to the arms of the state to ensure that these tendencies never seep into everyday life – particularly not the lives of children – which the men larping as women have ensured has happened in Scotland. There is not one institution or corporation, both public and private, that has not fallen to the anti science brigade – not because people believe explicitly, or even implicitly, in their doctrine, but because they have behaved like terrorists, cancelling and terrifying in order to keep control and power. There is a massive difference between holding anti science beliefs that are backed by corporate ultra capitalist billionaires in a different country, and a small church that, on the whole, tends to keep itself to itself, within Scotland, albeit there will be Wee Frees in all of the former colonies, I should imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I know, Peter, but it does keep itself to itself even though it might be evangelical. It is confined to several parts of Scotland only. It did try to prevent Sunday ferry sailings, but lost, I think, because most people were not compliant. That is the thing that prevents and type of religious or political or social infection spreading: when people just will not comply.


    1. “The fact is that she cannot be discriminated against because of her religious belief because these are protected in the 2010 Equality Act.”

      The fact is nobody was talking about unlawful discrimination until you did. The fact is that she is asking for the votes of individual party members. The fact is those individuals not only can discriminate on whatever grounds they please, they are bound to do so. Otherwise, how can they make a choice? Duh!

      Nobody has to explain or justify their vote. It’s a secret ballot. Voting members are perfectly entitled to take into consideration whatever facts are available to them. It is a fact that Kate Forbes is a member of a fundamentalist Christian church.

      I did not suggest or imply that Forbes should be prevented from standing on account of her religion. Had I done so, you would have a point. But I didn’t. So you don’t. All I am saying is that her religious faith cannot NOT be a consideration when it absolutlely requires her to regard homosexuality as a sin and same-sex marriage as illegitimate and whatever other unenlightened attitudes are to be found in scripture.

      My main point isn’t even about her religious beliefs. It is about the dishonesty of claiming to be a Christian in the sense this is understood by the Free Church of Scotland AND able to set aside the ‘values’ that define the religious faith to which she lays claim.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh dear, Peter. I was talking about the on-line and MSM criticism she has been receiving, and also the sleekit asides from colleagues. That is discrimination, plain and simple. No other candidate has been subjected to that. It is one thing to ask her about her beliefs and quite another to hint sleekitly that her beliefs bar her from standing.

        The Earth is not flat, but you can believe that of you choose. Your problem comes when no one else goes along with that. She cannot hope to persuade the parliament to accept Wee Free doctrine, albeit Nicola Sturgeon persuaded the parliament to adopt ‘trans’ and ‘wokery’. Her beliefs were not the problem: sheer, cringe-worthyness, false sanctimony and utter stupidity won the day there – up to a point, when the public refused to accept it. I take your point, though, that it might just be possible to persuade the entire parliament to accept Wee Free doctrine. Who can tell?

        I don’t think she is being dishonest when she says she will not enforce her beliefs on anyone else. We all hold beliefs that we do not enforce on anyone else. Church and state are separate, as should be the law and the state. Lord MacKay managed to maintain his position as a judge without allowing his Wee Free beliefs to tarnish his position, and he attended the funerals of friends and colleagues of different faiths. No one is suggesting that people have no right to decide on the basis of the information we have about someone. It is when we allow ourselves to be swayed by others to the point where we are not making our own rational decisions that things start to fall apart because there is no rationale there, just prejudice, enabled by a third party’s devious manipulation. We must all be awake to that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The hope process of voting is (or at least should be) about discriminating between the candidates. Discrimination is a vital skill. Forbes’ brand of religion is relevant to a lot of things – some in a positive way, some not – depending on the individual. Since few people know much about the Wee Frees and their very Calvinist creed, the coverage is generally appropriate, in my opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I cannot believe the success the pro unionist establishment has achieved in setting the ‘Wee Free’ hare running amok amidst the pro Independence commentariat.

      To all intents and purposes it has succeeded in stifling practically all debate on the policies and strategies each of the three candidates intend to pursue if successfully elected as the ‘de facto face and voice of the Independence movement’.

      Forbes by hovering in the shadows of the debate around her ‘religious belief system’ rather than fervently championing a belief in Scotland’s Independence has done absolutely nothing to inspire confidence in her ability to lead for Scotland.

      Belief in your country and its people MUST supersede any misplaced allegiance to all scripture of whatever dubious origin.


      1. it wasn’t the “pro unionist establishment” that hare running. It was Forbes herself. Even she admits she habdled that interview badly. The Unionists have certainly taken advantage. But that’s politics. Hand your enemy a stick and they will beat you with it.


  3. Spot on, Peter. TBH, in a way, I’m glad I don’t have to choose between any of three – though at the moment, there is only one I’d even consider.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Most ‘Christians’ are deluded. The New Testament is essentially the philosophy of Paul who hijacked the movement of Jesus and his brother James and turned it into what should really be called ‘Paulianity’.

    True Christians based their philosophy on the sun and Venus.

    Paul was a self confessed liar who fooled everyone he had contact with.

    Ideal politician material.


  5. Peter, I would endorse wholeheartedly your appraisal of Forbes being somewhat disingenuous in her ability to separate her religious beliefs from the duty imposed on her should she become First Minister of Scotland.

    Forbes perhaps most ably demonstrated this potential flaw in her character by deliberately avoiding any participation in the recent GRR(Bill), citing maternity leave as the reason although she had previously signed a letter in 2019 along with interestingly, Ash Regan and other SNP MSP’s voicing concern over proposed changes to the GRA.

    Perhaps if Forbes assigned belief in and to the cause for Scotland’s Independence she might deflect from the not unreasonable scrutiny she has come under recently.

    Deceit comes in many forms and Scotland’s future can never be delivered by false prophets of whatever persuasion. We ignore this at our peril!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There may be a certain amount of straw-clutching going on in the minds of those who see Forbes as First Minister material. However the word that sprang into mind when I read “Why the unique fuss over Kate Forbes?” was “integrity”. Whether she has it or not remains to be seen but after the likes of Johnson, Sturgeon, Starmer, et al, someone who was a “fundamentalist to her fingertips” does seem like a refreshing change.


    1. The correct answer to that, as I understand it, is that there was no “before the Big Bang”. Time did not exist prior to whatever happened, therefore talk of “pre-Big Bang”, due to space and time being inextricably linked. It makes my head ache just thinking about it!


  7. So now we have some further indication from Kate Forbes as to how she claims she would proceed if elected.

    In summary of the ~13 minute segment: More of the same.

    continue to ask Westminster for permission.
    Facilitating Westminsters Neoliberal exploitation zones badged as Green Ports.
    The great ScotWind selloff.

    Very disappointing to anyone looking for Hope and Change.

    Liked by 1 person

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