A Scottish church leader has challenged atheists and secularists angry over discussions on intelligent design in the classroom to start their own schools.
The challenge from Free Church minister, the Reverend David Robertson, comes after the Scottish Secular Society sent an open letter to Mike Russell MSP, cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, demanding immediate guidance for schools that would prohibit them from the discussion of creationism and intelligent design outside RE classes.
The society wrote to Mr Russell in response to reports that pro-creationist books were handed out to pupils at Kirktonholme Primary School, in Lanarkshire, a controversy which led to its two head teachers, Sandra McKenzie and Liz Mockus, being removed.
The society wrote in their letter: "Creationism and intelligent design are anti-scientific views that are not only deeply divisive and confusing in an educational context but are positions that defeat the hard work of teachers in other curricular areas.
"These topics have no rightful place in Scottish primary and secondary science education, indeed no place in our education system at all outside of discussions of Religious and Moral Education classes.
"If this is left unchecked there is a very real potential that such views can continue to affect this nation's most precious resource - our children."
Rev Robertson strongly criticised the call for guidance, noting that the Scottish education system has its roots in the church.
He accused the Scottish Secular Society of "narrow and spiteful attempts" to remove God from the classroom.
Mr Robertson said: "It is clear that the Scottish Secular Society's intention is only those who believe that the universe self-created out of nothing should be allowed in Scottish schools.
"Perhaps it is time for militant atheists to leave the traditional Scottish Christian education system and set up their own atheist schools?
"As a Christian I am quite happy to tolerate such irrational schools, unlike atheists who seem to panic every time anyone dares express disagreement with any of the secularist fundamental beliefs.
"Are the atheists so unsure of their own case that they have to have a witch-hunt against those who don't buy into their mocking and arrogant meta-narrative?"