'Are we intolerant of people with religious beliefs?' Shelagh Fogarty asks as Kate Forbes faces backlash

21 February 2023, 19:00

Shelagh Fogarty: Are secular people 'blind' to their intolerances?

By Grace Parsons

Shelagh Fogarty argues that Kate Forbes has been "articulate" and "careful" in stating her views on same-sex marriage.

In light of comments made by Scottish MP Kate Forbes regarding her stance on same-sex marriage, Shelagh Fogarty questions whether society is now "intolerant of people with religious beliefs".

Ms Forbes, who is among the favourites to replace Nicola Sturgeon as SNP party leader, earlier said she wouldn't have backed equal marriage "as a matter of conscience", but respects the democratic choice made over the issue.

Shelagh said: "I do think that it's easy to, particularly when it comes to people of faith who have... socially conservative views on same-sex marriage, or sex outside marriage even... it's easy to say they are intolerant but are they?

"Are we in danger of the secular world, which I think still dominates now, are those of us who are more secular in our thinking about social issues in danger of actually being blind to our own intolerances?"

READ MORE: Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf takes swipe at SNP leadership rival Kate Forbes over equal marriage

Shelagh drew upon her Catholic upbringing, recognising people she knows who have developed views from the faith: "I know they're not bigots... they just have a view based on their religious belief and ethical framework... of the best way to live their life.

She went on to say: "Now if they start coming after you and berating you for the choices you make, that's different, then they're behaving in an aggressive, intolerant way but I don't think anyone can accuse Kate Forbes of that, can we?

"I think she's been very articulate and careful in what she's said. I'm always conscious... the same church would describe my relationships in life because they've all happened outside of marriage, as disordered, they don't think I should be having them."

Shelagh questioned: "I just wonder whether in our politics... are we just intolerant now of people with religious beliefs? Is that where we are? Because if it is where we are, I think that's a dangerous place to find ourselves in."

READ MORE: Scottish voters are beginning to look at Labour again

Gay caller fumes at Kate Forbes' religious views, insisting God 'does not exist'.

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