By Ian Hamilton
George Buchanan and John Knox are dead. So is the Church they founded. From the whited sepulchres of their pulpits the dull black crows drone on. Yet the moral questions of today are ignored. To them immorality is a boy and a girl in the back of her father’s car.
It has been left to a Roman Catholic to speak for us all. Cardinal Keith O’Brien has plagiarised my blog. He has used his position, a mitre higher than my own, to praise Scotland’s humane laws and to condemn the barbarism of the United States.
What has happened to that church which so arrogantly claims the name of the Land we live in? It does not speak for Scotland. Once its General Assembly condemned torture and then fell back in exhaustion. Oh brave, brave worshippers of one who was tortured to death!
But where is their praise for Kenny MacAskill? This is the greatest action this country has taken since it started to become itself again. By its mercy this country will be judged.
Where then are the silent young people of The Church of Scotland? They should be girding on the armour they sing about in their silly hymns. I will tell you where they are. They are hiding behind their pews in case they say something offensive to Unionist opinion. To them the Bible has no politics. They read a different bible from mine.
I have before me a letter dated 29th December 2006 from the minister of Prestwick Parish Church. In his parish the aeroplanes carrying the tortured are refuelled. He says he has information on the subject of rendition. Not even, the police to whom I reported him, not even waterboarding, would get that information from him. He keeps his secret still……………. if he has one.
The Christians keep no watch on Prestwick Airport. They have never demonstrated there. Ayr Presbytery has never condemned any action of the Americans. The barbarians, with whom we have a special relationship, keep nearly two and a half million of their people in prison, half of them are black. Add the rich and those who run the country. They too are jailed. They live in gated communities, too frightened to walk freely in the society they have created, and from the black craws comes not a croak.
I write with anger. I was brought up in the Church of Scotland. Once it had a voice. My father fulminated at the poverty he saw around him.
Now all it can produce is Gordon Brown. He gave the rich their millions and to the widow 85 pence.
Let he who has two coats give one to the poor. Let he who has two faces hide them both in shame.
These words come from a comment below.
The Rev Ian Galloway, as convener of the Church & Society Council was unequivocal in stating the Church’s position on the Megrahi release.
“This decision has sent a message to the world about what it is to be Scottish. We are defined as a nation by how we treat those who have chosen to hurt us. Do we choose mercy even when they did not choose mercy?
This was not about whether one man was guilty or innocent. Nor is it about whether he had a right to mercy but whether we as a nation, despite the continuing pain of many, are willing to be merciful.
I understand the deep anger and grief that still grips the souls of the victims’ families and I respect their views. But to them I would say that justice is not lost in acting in mercy. Instead our deepest humanity is expressed for the better. To choose mercy is the tough choice and today our nation met that challenge.
We have gained something significant as a nation by this decision. It is a defining moment for all of us.”
These noble words have appeared as a quotation in a comment to this piece. They express my own sentiments better than I could ever do myself.
Yet why, oh why does it take an attack on the Church in my obscure blog to bring them out of some thesauras where they had lain forgotten by all but a few.
They should be printed in some great typeface like Perpetua caps and hung in all of your churches. They should hang in every school.
Is there a better baptism for any new nation than an act of mercy? And these words are the very litany of the service.