A Scottish court heard today that Nicola Sturgeon acted outside of her constitutional powers by closing churches, and that her Government should not have involved itself in questioning “the legitimacy of beliefs or the manner in which they are expressed”. The Times has the story.
The pandemic has highlighted Christians’ “irreconcilable conflict” between obeying the state and God, a QC has said as she argued that Nicola Sturgeon acted outwith her constitutional powers by closing churches.
Lord Braid heard today that this tension had caused 27 church ministers to instruct Advocate Janys Scott, QC to raise a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The ministers believe that the Scottish Government’s decision to close churches earlier this year was unlawful and breached their right to religious freedom under human rights legislation.
They also believe that the Scottish Government has breached the obligations placed on it by the British constitution.
The ministers are seeking an order declaring the decision to be unlawful and a declarator which would allow people to attend church should the tier system be reintroduced . The order being sought would allow a person living in a “Tier 4” – the most restrictive tier – to go to church.
The message of the ministers was clear:
“The petitioners would say that faith is a matter of hope in life and in death and it’s more than mere obedience and that it is essential particularly at a time of national crisis.”
Last month, a Glaswegian priest also took legal action against the closing of churches during lockdown. He said that churches need to be open “to be able to support [parish members] best in their hour of need”. Hearings are ongoing in both cases.
Worth reading in full.