“Protestants are now hounded out of politics, as Kate Forbes has shown”

Kate Forbes

The headline of a recent ‘Daily Telegraph’, which was drawn to my attention, ran as follows:

“Protestants are now hounded out of politics, as Kate Forbes has shown”.

The headline itself is most unusual and demands a reading of the article. For that reason we are circulating it amongst our readership.

I would wish however to make a few comments on it.

It can never be right for a Christian to ally themselves with an organisation or political party so blatantly anti-Bible as is the Scottish Nationalist Party. (SNP).

Signing The Deed of Demission, 1843

One cannot be in such a group without canvassing for people to support its views and that is very, very wrong for any Christian. In that Kate Forbes is wrong and in disobedience to God’s Word  and very much out of step with the godly founders in the 18th century of her ‘Free Church of Scotland’: men such as  Thomas Chalmers, Robert Candlish,  John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan and the Bonar brothers, Andrew and Horatio.

However well Kate Forbes may have spoken out against the core policies of the SNP, she cannot justify her membership of that party. There comes a time when a protest only becomes effective AFTER a person has separated from that protested against. There is little point in shouting ‘FIRE’ and remaining within the conflagration!

She is quoted as saying she would have ‘respected and defended the democratic choice that was made’, that is, the SNP’s decision to support ‘same-sex’ marriage. That is the equivalent of saying that she would have defended the decision, made by the majority of Jews, to crucify Christ. What is right morally is not decided by the vote of a majority but by the Word of God. It alone, as the Shorter Catechism her church still teaches, states in its answer to its second question. “Q 2: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A: The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.”

Kate Forbes is very wrong and so is the writer of this article who seems to consider her position on this issue very commendable.

The writer, Mr Fraser Nelson, refers to John Kennedy who as a Roman Catholic, became President of the United States in 1961, and Nelson extols his attitude as a model to follow.

I am with John Wesley on whether a nation should support a Roman Catholic as its leader. He said this in a publication, dated January 21st, 1780.

“That no Roman Catholic does, or can, give security for his allegiance or peaceable behaviour, I prove thus: It is a Roman Catholic maxim, established, not by private men, but by a public Council, that “no faith is to be kept with heretics.”

This has been openly avowed by the Council of Constance; but it never was openly disclaimed. Whether private persons avow or disavow it, it is a fixed maxim of the Church of Rome. But as long as it is so, nothing can be more plain, than that the members of that Church can give no reasonable security to any Government of their allegiance or peaceable behaviour. Therefore they ought not to be tolerated by any Government, Protestant, Mahometan, or Pagan.

You may say, “Nay, but they will take an oath of allegiance.” True, five hundred oaths; but the maxim, “No faith is to be kept with heretics,” sweeps them all away as a spider’s web. So that still no Governors that are not Roman Catholics can have any security of their allegiance.

Again: Those who acknowledge the spiritual power of the Pope can give no security of their allegiance to any Government; but all Roman Catholics acknowledge this: Therefore, they can give no security for their allegiance.”

J F Kennedy’s oath was to be seen in the light of the Roman Catholic ‘maxim’ John Wesley quoted and which is still in force today!

We here in Ulster know that the oath of a Sinn Feiner is as full of holes as a colander and can be cast aside at any time by them. Their true allegiance is ONLY to the cause of purging Northern Ireland of all things Protestant and British!

Given these reservations, and I could have added more, the article is worth a read if only to note the recognition of the ‘anti-Bible’ ‘anti-Protestant’ bias that is abounding in our society today.

Just today, I made an official complaint to the BBC about the terms it employed in its headline on an article about the shooting of Detective Inspector John Caldwell in Omagh recently. Its headline ran as follows:

“John Caldwell shooting: Four from Protestant backgrounds among arrests”

The men from a ‘loyalist’ background who are suspected of being allied to the IRA terrorists were described as ‘Protestant’. Later in the report it mentions those who actually carried out the murder attempt. “Criminals from a Protestant background who have links to dissident republicans are among those arrested over the attempted murder of one of Northern Ireland’s top detectives.”

Note that there is no reference to the Roman Catholicism of the republicans!

In truth, the ‘Protestantism’ of the ‘loyalists’ suspected of being involved in this crime would have been totally non-existent while the Roman Catholicism of the republicans was very likely of a ‘once a week at the Mass’ character!

Sincerely in Christ’s name,

Ivan Foster

Protestants are now hounded out of politics, as Kate Forbes has shown

Are we really a tolerant society when the ambitious are expected to renounce aspects of their faith?

Fraser Nelson — 23 February 2023.

So why did Kate Forbes do it? After years in parliament she will have been aware of the reaction to an MSP who declared their opposition to gay marriage, let alone pre-marital sex. Yet she did so anyway: immediately, almost proudly.

She was duly denounced as a bigot and her backers peeled away. A BBC radio phone-in had callers saying they’d feel “unsafe” with her in Bute House. One compared her with the Taliban. On day one she torched not just her own campaign but also, in all likelihood, her political career. Why?

One of her prominent supporters says she was out of practice: that seven months of maternity leave meant she bungled the question. But Ms Forbes is perhaps the smartest woman in Holyrood and an expert in talking about her faith, having been grilled about it in most interviews.

So I’m more inclined to go with another theory: that she decided to answer modestly but truthfully, and to expose the bigotry that religious politicians now face. And that any overreaction might – just might – provoke some soul-searching in her party.

“Love not Kate,” screamed the front page of the Daily Record, Scotland’s main tabloid, after she spoke about saving herself for marriage. A bit of a stretch; is pre-marital celibacy, however old-fashioned, really a form of hatred? But the word is being invoked here in its new, modern sense.

A “hate crime” isn’t really about hatred. It’s about deviating from the new set of liberal social beliefs which are now taking the form of a religion – and one in front of which Ms Forbes has decided not to genuflect. With results now there for all to see.

It’s worth reflecting on her offending words, because there weren’t many of them. On sex: “My faith would say that sex is for marriage – that’s the approach that I would practise.” On gender: “A rapist cannot be a woman, and therefore my straight answer would be that Isla Bryson is a man.” And on gay marriage: “I would have voted, as a matter of conscience, along the lines of mainstream teaching in most major religions, that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I would have respected and defended the democratic choice that was made.”

Such are the words that can now shoot down the highest political flyer, but it’s hard to see how she could have been more polite or restrained. She was talking about her personal worldview – stressing how, as first minister, she’d defend the rights of others.

When it comes to her job, she said, she “couldn’t care less what two consenting adults do in the comfort of their own bedroom”. But this was not about what she’d do, it’s about what she thinks. She has shown, in case the Tim Farron episode left any doubt, that a test of doctrinal purity is back.

In a way, it’s a return to the old days, where it was common to regard a religious minority as inherently suspect. For centuries, we had Test Acts which demanded that anyone in public life – even teachers – swore allegiance to Protestant beliefs, thereby keeping out Catholics, Jews and other nonconformists. They stayed until 1828 in England and 1889 in Scotland, but suspicion still lingered.

When John F Kennedy ran for president, his Catholicism was a talking point in interviews. As with Forbes, some argued that it was fine for a religious minority to have the number-two job (in his case, vice-president; in hers, finance minister), but just not be in charge. Kennedy decided to take this head-on and spoke to a gathering of Protestants in Houston in a speech later hailed as a template for religious tolerance in a democracy.

He asked to be judged only on what kind of America he believed in. “What kind of church I believe in,” he said, “should be important only to me.” And if religious candidates are subjected to a purity test, where would that lead, given changing political fashions? Today, he said, “it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed. It may some day be again a Jew, a Quaker, a Unitarian or a Baptist … Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped.”

It is now Protestants – Forbes and Farron – who are the highest-profile political victims of this new intolerance. Both pleaded, as JFK did, that their innermost thoughts should not really matter: they’d vote to protect diversity and equality. Both were asking for tolerance of religious minorities. And both ended up being denounced as bigots, because neither would, when asked, renounce the teachings of their church.

This is the real question raised by Forbes. How can a multi-faith democracy work unless we accept and respect religious differences? Do we want to live in a country where children growing up in a Muslim, Jewish or Christian family see – in Ms Forbes’s monstering – that they’ll hit a glass ceiling in their career unless they renounce certain aspects of their faith? Was the Equality Act of 2010 ever intended to impose a new religion, with apostates identified, hounded and deposed?

Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, put it well. The whole saga, she said, was intended to protect diversity, not enforce conformity. It’s a shield to protect minorities, not a sword to attack them. If people like Kate Forbes cannot say what they believe without being pilloried, then we have somehow ushered in a draconian system that needs to be dismantled. Outside politics, if people can be fired or disciplined for public expressions of aspects of their faith, how strong is our claim to be a country of religious freedom?

“I do not intend to apologise for these views,” said Kennedy in 1960. “Nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.” His words ended the debate – and, it was felt at the time, ended the era where any candidate’s religion was a bar to political progress. But that did not, it seems, last for long. As Ms Forbes tries to salvage what remains of her campaign, she can at least say she has shown that this old discrimination is back, and that a brief window of tolerance that Kennedy opened has snapped shut.