Free Church defends bonfire night celebrations against secularists

(PA)Guy Fawkes is carried through the streets of Lewes in Sussex. The traditional bonfire night events take place across Britain on 5 November each year and have their roots in the foiling of the Gun Powder Plot

The Free Church of Scotland has defended bonfire night celebrations against calls from secularists to ban it for "religious reasons".

The Edinburgh Secular Society's spokesman Gary McLelland called for a "purely secular" alternative to Guy Fawkes events because of its "anti-Catholic" undertones.

Free Church minister the Reverend David Robertson said the plea was completely ridiculous and accused the Edinburgh Secular Society of being "puritanical killjoys".

"They seem to think that people are burning Roman Catholics on the fifth of November," he said.

Mr Robertson insisted no one associated Guy Fawkes night with Catholics, as he posed the question about what a "secular" bonfire night would look like.

"We cannot understand why anyone would object to people going out to enjoy the fireworks, indeed bonfire events bring many in communities across Scotland together," he said.

"The secularists are showing themselves to be the puritanical killjoys of the 21st century.

"Not only do they want to eradicate Christianity from our schools, but now they want to ban Guy Fawkes night. The mind boggles at what that actually means.

"What will be next? Banning Christmas?"