Is there a place for private conscience in modern politics?

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – There is much more to the SNP Kate Forbes row over same-sex marriage than secularism versus out-of-date conservative Christianity.

Religion Media Centre reported Dr Jessica Scott from the University of Nottingham, said the story had caused alarm because the issue was about personal conscience, which had seemed fixed, infallible or impervious to change.

But in the Christian framework, conscience is highly deliberative, involving reflection, discussion and tradition.

Commentators observed that religious convictions are treated in a different league from political dissent, and regarded more seriously and with less acceptance than political creeds.

They discussed that the furore illustrated a “Dawkins approach” to religion, that it is irrational and dogmatic, whereas they said that a religious conviction is often the main motivator for a politician to enter politics, to change society, alleviate poverty and fight for justice.

Dr Nick Spencer, from Theos, suggested that barring people from high office because of their approach to one moral issue “radically shrinks the space of a liberal democratic public square”.

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