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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 18:30 GMT
McConnell's no to a PC Christmas
Jack McConnell
The first minister wants to keep the core message of Christmas
First Minister Jack McConnell has said public bodies must not break "the link between Christianity and Christmas".

He spoke after it was reported that a hospital had banned the distribution of a Christmas CD over concerns it could cause offence to non-Christians.

Bosses at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh said the CDs were being distributed after carol services.

Mr McConnell said trying to ignore the core message of Christmas was "political correctness gone mad".

Dilute Christianity

The CDs were donated to the hospital to cheer up children over the festive period and raise money for charity.

But hospital chiefs refused to pass them on.

A spokesman said: "It was felt that the appropriate way to distribute the CDs was to make them available after the carol service to anyone who wanted a copy."

Holyrood chiefs also came under fire last month amid claims they had removed the word "Christmas" from cards given to MSPs.

Parliament bosses denied the move - but Mr McConnell chose to voice his concerns at any attempts to dilute Christianity at Christmas time.

He said: "There have been a number of examples over the last month where public bodies have tried to separate the link between Christianity and Christmas.

Holyrood chief came under fire over Christmas cards
Holyrood chief came under fire over Christmas cards

"Trying to ignore the core message of the Christmas celebrations is political correctness gone mad.

"In Scotland we should respect all faiths and cultures. But this is the main Christian celebration and we should be able to talk about Christianity and its meaning at this time of year.

"I believe other faiths recognise and support that fact, just as I hope all Christians would respect the celebrations of other communities at other times of the year."

Public outcry

Mr McConnell made his comments after holding a meeting with representatives from Action of Churches Together in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for the First Minister later said Mr McConnell had been inundated with complaints on the matter from voters.

She said: "The overwhelming feeling he's got is that this is happening out there and people just can't believe it and think it's ridiculous.

"He's responding to the public outcry he's had in the post."

The politics of Christmas cards
22 Dec 03  |  In Depth

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