Free Church Moderators urge Salmond to intervene

A group of Free Church of Scotland Moderators have written to the First Minister, Alex Salmond, urging him to personally intervene and stop what has been referred to as a “snooper’s charter” from becoming law.

If passed in its present form the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill would impose a ‘named person’ on every under-18 in the country, such as a health visitor or teacher, with legal authority to ensure they are raised in a state-approved manner.

The group of Moderators branded the plans as a “gross intrusion into family life” and “completely undermining of parental responsibilities”.

Rev James MacIver, minister of Knock Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, said: “We want the very best for all Scotland’s children and are fully supportive of the Scottish Government’s intention to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children, but this does not warrant such a gross intrusion into every home in the country.

“Given that the vast majority of Scotland’s million children do not require any state intervention, and the resulting costs of setting up such a scheme, surely the Scottish Government would be better investing in more community nurses and social workers to provide help at a grassroots level for those who are really struggling?

“The very concept of ‘corporate parents’ sets alarm bells ringing and is something becoming of a Big Brother state.”

Rev Dr John Ross, who ministers in Drumnadrochit, added: “The Scottish Government now seems intent on hijacking the legitimate rights and duties of parents to bring up their own children free of state interference.

“If this legislation is not amended, the Scottish Government will make itself the judge of every parent in this land.

“Historically, the Free Church of Scotland has always fought to be independent of state interference in all of its spiritual affairs – this does not stop at the church door on a Sunday, it goes right into the heart of the family home.

“Too much power will be given to the discretion of professionals, some of who have never raised a family of their own and many of whom are already stretched to the absolute limit.

“There is also a very real possibility that this legislation could be used as a back door means to completely undermine parental values, judgment and discretion for their own children.

“It does not take a rocket scientist to foresee the potential for future conflict between Christian parents and the secular political correctness brigade.

“This is the sort of thing we would expect in a Fascist or Marxist regime, not in 21st century Scotland.

“We urge Mr Salmond to do everything in his power to get rid of this snooper’s charter and restore some common sense.”

MSPs will vote on stage three of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill on Wednesday 19 February.