Over half of Scots would back an evangelical Christian in government top jobs

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.(Photo: Getty/iStock)

A poll has revealed broad support in Scotland for evangelical Christians holding top government jobs.

The poll of 2,008 UK adults was conducted by YouGov for Theos.

It found that over half (58%) of the 163 Scottish adults surveyed would be supportive of an evangelical Christian in high office.

This was higher than in England and Wales (both 52%), and the UK overall (53%).

Only a fifth of Scots were opposed.

The poll found, however, that Scots were split on whether opposition to same-sex marriage should be a bar to holding high office, with 40% saying that it should compared with 44% who felt that it was not.

Across the UK, half said they would not support someone opposed to same-sex marriage in a top political job, falling to only 26% among 18 to 24 year olds.

In general, more Brits were supportive of people with a religious faith being allowed to hold top government jobs (58%) than against (21%).

They were far more likely to support a Muslim in office (64%) than an evangelical Christian.

Commenting on the findings, Theos senior fellow Nick Spencer said: "Both the current SNP leadership race and our research show we have a complicated and perhaps slightly hypocritical attitude to religion in public life.

"On the one hand, most of us are happy to welcome it, even at the highest levels, in theory.

"But on the other hand, when that religious commitment entails unpopular, challenging or socially conservative views, we are much more hesitant.

"It all poses an awkward question to citizens of liberal democracies: how open and inclusive are we really?"

The poll was carried out as Scottish first minister contender Kate Forbes, a member of the Free Church of Scotland, continues to face strong criticism for her opposition to same-sex marriage.