Kate Forbes: Would a Christian be permitted to lead Scotland?
With a Hindu as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a Muslim as the mayor of London, it would seem that the UK is at last fulfilling the promise of a multi-cultural society. Yet events in Scotland suggest that there is one group who are in effect banned from meaningful political leadership – Christians who actually believe what Jesus says!
This week there has been a concerted campaign against the candidature for First Minister of the young Scottish Finance Minister, Kate Forbes, within some of the Scottish media online and even in UK-wide press such as The Guardian, whose headline says what they want - "Kate Forbes' religious beliefs could stall her bid to succeed Sturgeon".
Here is the problem: Kate Forbes is a young, intelligent, woman who has already shown she is the most competent politician of her generation. The trouble is that for those who now mainly control the civic elites in Scotland she is not the 'right sort' of woman. She is a Christian who belongs to the Free Church of Scotland and is unashamed of her faith.
In an interview with the BBC's Nick Robinson in 2021, she could not have been clearer: "To be straight, I believe in the person of Jesus Christ. I believe that he died for me, he saved me and that my calling is to serve and to love him and to serve and love my neighbours with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. So that, for me, is essential to my being. Politics will pass. I was a person before I was a politician, and that person will continue to believe that I am made in the image of God."
This week she was asked whether she would have voted for same-sex marriage, and she honestly admitted 'no'. Everyone from The Times to The Guardian thinks that this has blown up her campaign – although I suspect the wish is father to the thought. Same-sex marriage is not up for debate in the Scottish Parliament. There is no chance it will be voted on in the next Scottish Parliament. It is a non-issue compared with the NHS, the economy, poverty etc. The only reason is to damn Kate Forbes for who she is, not what she will do.
Because of her experience with the poor in India, where her parents were working in a Christian charity, that is Forbes's big concern. But the SNP establishment has been taken over by the progressives who now enjoy the gravy train that comes along with being in almost total control of Scottish government patronage. They were never going to let that be disrupted by such mundane issues as poverty, the economy, the NHS, housing, drugs deaths and education. According to Toni Giugliano, the SNP's policy chief, the important issues include legislation on gender recognition, assisted suicide, abortion buffer zones and sex workers' rights. Forget the poor.
Part of Kate's concern for the poor is her concern for the unborn. This week some of the Scottish media and Twitterati were up in arms because of a speech she gave in 2018 to a charity run by Stagecoach co-founder Brian Souter. What did she say that was dredged up from the past that was so outrageous? "May our politicians recognise that the way we treat the most vulnerable – whether the unborn or the terminally ill – is a measure of true progress." Imagine that! Being condemned as unfit to lead because of such a statement!
It is interesting that the only candidate who is being subjected to this kind of questioning and the inevitable Twitter mob abuse, is the young Christian woman. Her main rival, Humza Yousaf, is never questioned about whether he accepts the Quran and its views on polygamy, domestic violence or the treatment of unbelievers. Why? Because nothing else matters to the Woke than their doctrines. To question them is blasphemy.
Which is ironic because Humza Yousaf as justice minister introduced Scotland's notorious Hate Crime laws in 2021, which in effect brought in a new law of blasphemy for anyone who dared to question the 'protected characteristics' determined by the Scottish government. The irony is that this draconian law could and should be used to deal with the hate being poured out towards Kate Forbes because of her religion. But of course, that was not what it was designed for.
In terms of the New Religion which has now become State doctrine, Kate Forbes is deemed to be a heretic. A new Test Act has been introduced into British politics. Accept the approved State dogmas – or you are out. Christian politicians have tried to operate a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy – even to the point of lying or denying their beliefs. But it's getting harder. We are moving into a world where having the wrong opinion, never mind expressing it, can get you fired. I remember one journalist who interviewed me about transgenderism a few years ago. She told me that she agreed with me but that it would be more than her job was worth to do anything other than write a condemnatory piece about me.
As I watch the hate campaign being poured out from the usual quarters (sadly aided and abetted by some professing Christians) I am saddened that what I saw coming four years ago has now arrived.
Nicola Sturgeon lost her job, partly because of the insanity of her transgender policy, so the initiators of that policy are getting their revenge. But it's not just the pettiness...which includes jibes about Forbes being a woman with a young family (so much for gender equality!) ...it's the fundamentalistic narrowness of it all. If you do not buy into the new religion, or at least publicly bow the knee, you are out. No matter your skills, abilities, policies or any such political nuances. In the new fundamentalist Scotland, ideology is everything.
Kevin McKenna, one of Scotland's top journalists has recognised this, calling the targeting of Kate Forbes because of her faith 'Scotland's shame'.
In a paragraph worth quoting in full he argues: "Ms Forbes' views on the sanctity of all human life from conception until death is a fundamental pillar of both Christian and Muslim belief. As is her belief – based on science – that sex is binary. The treatment that she's already beginning to receive offers further evidence of the poison now circulating at the top of the SNP. That you're free to be whoever you want to be, just so long as you're not a Christian."
Pray for Kate Forbes. In a normal world she would win this contest – her opponent has already failed in three ministerial portfolios. But this is a twisted world where being a Christian who believes what Jesus says is enough to get you cancelled. Who knows but that the world of the Twitterati and Scottish politics may not represent the wider constituency of the 100,000 SNP members who will vote?
However, we know that whatever happens the Lord is in control, Kate is in good hands. She has already won – because her life is defined by Christ and his ultimate victory, not by political victories. Kate Forbes has borne faithful witness to Christ and shown the people of Scotland a better way than the way of hate she is facing. I am thankful for her... and proud of our sister!
David Robertson leads The ASK Project in Sydney, Australia. He blogs at The Wee Flea.