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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Kirk 'regret' over bigotry
General Assembly
A protest was staged outside the General Assembly
The Church of Scotland has vowed to consign sectarianism "to the history books" after admitting that it was guilty of bigotry in the past.

A motion expressing regret over any part which the church played in sectarianism was passed by the Kirk's General Assembly.

It has also recommended the creation of a group which would work alongside the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission to combat bigotry in Scotland.

However, delegates faced a protest from demonstrators who gathered outside the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh to accuse them of "betraying" the faith of Reformation leader John Knox.


We have to face up to the ugly side of Scotland today

Rev Alan McDonald
The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday in favour of the motion in which it said it "regrets any part played in sectarianism by our church in the past and affirm our support for future moves towards a more tolerant society".

Rev Alan McDonald, convener of the Kirk's church and nation committee, said it was time to "consign bigotry to the history books, where it belongs".

He said: "We have to face up to the ugly side of Scotland today.

"The hard end of sectarianism is that people can die on our streets as a result."

Rev McDonald also read out part of a church and nation report which was presented to the General Assembly in 1923.

John Knox
John Knox was the leader of the Reformation
Entitled "The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality", he said that it accused the Irish Roman Catholic population of being part of a papist conspiracy to subvert Presbyterian values and of being the principal cause of drunkenness, crime and financial imprudence.

About 40 protesters from the Scottish Reformation Movement gathered outside the building to oppose the motion.

They claimed that the Catholic Church was to blame for sectarianism because it believed it was "the only true church".

Pastor Jack Glass said: "Those people inside have betrayed John Knox by calling the Church of Scotland sectarian.

"You won't see the Catholic Church betraying their martyrs like that."

See also:

28 May 02 | Scotland
27 May 02 | Scotland
26 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 02 | Scotland
09 Apr 02 | Scotland
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