Proposals for a Secular Charter

by Elias Blum

I’ve been thinking about suitable wording for a ‘Secular Charter’, to be endorsed as a ‘Statement of Aims’ for a secular Scotland.

These are not necessarily draft constitutional provisions, since Constitutions that last are based on the broadest possible compromise, and a suitable Constitution for Scotland might have to be more accommodating than these principles would suggest.

Nevertheless, they do, perhaps, represent the direction in which we ought to be heading if we are to establish a Scotland free from religious discrimination and clerical privilege.

(1) There shall be no legal establishment, state endorsement, or state funding of religion.

(2) No person shall be compelled to take part in, or to support, any form of worship or religious rite whatsoever.

(3) No religious tests shall be established as a requirement for holding any public office.

(4) Representatives of religious communities shall not have any right to specially reserved membership of Parliament, local Councils, education authorities, or other public bodies.

(5) No person shall suffer any discrimination on account of their religion, or lack thereof.

(6) Freedom of expression shall not be infringed on the grounds of blasphemy or heresy.

(7) Everyone enjoys freedom to manifest his or her religion or belief, in public or private, and in worship, teaching, practice and observance, subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Thoughts and comments?