Call to pray for police

By Cara Sulieman

A GROUP of policeman think that they can cut crime by getting community groups to “adopt a cop” and pray for them.

The Christian Police Association are urging churches of all denominations to pray for cops all over the country – saying it will reduce crime, ease community tension and protect the boys in blue from temptation.

Harry Pearson, branch leader of Strathclyde Christian Police Alliance, said that it “may well bring tangible results”.

The initiative is part of Coact, a national scheme which aims to build bridges between Christian communities and police across Britian.

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Kirk urges parishioners to “forgive” innkeeper

By Cara Sulieman

THE CHURCH of Scotland is calling on people to give the Bethlehem innkeeper a chance and to stop the “bad press” he has been getting for the past 2,000 years.

The Kirk said that he has been unfairly blamed for refusing Mary and Joseph a room when his inn was fully booked – and that he did his best by letting them stay in the stable.

Rev James Martin defended the hotelier in this month’s Life and Work magazine – asking for him to be given a “second chance”.

And he has the support of more senior members of the church, who are asking parishioners to spare a thought for the overlooked player in the nativity.

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Mother of Scots hero Tam Mason pays tribute to her son

Corporal Tam Mason

Corporal Tam Mason

By Cara Sulieman

THE mother of hero Scots soldier Tam Mason who died six weeks after being injured in Afghanistan has paid tribute to her son, saying he told her: “Don’t worry about me – I’ve got God on my side”.

Linda Buchanan described how her “wonderful son” used to tell her it would be an “honour” to die doing the job he loved.

The 27-year-old died six weeks after being injured in a blast in Kandahar despite attempts by specialist medics to save him.

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Kirk to send virtual vicars on Internet highway to Heaven

By SHAUN MILNE

CHURCHGOERS could soon be worshiping God using the Internet highway to Heaven.

A plan by Kirk ministers to deliver virtual sermons to solve a staffing crisis is on track to gets the thumbs up.pgworklaptopbible

Struggling Church of Scotland elders say there is a huge shortage of clergy in their rank and file with some 190 vacancies currently on offer.

Now a proposal is to be put to this year’s General Assembly calling for trials of using web-cams to host online -sermons to reach the masses, particularly those in outlying and difficult to reach areas.

The idea – first proposed by the Ministries Council after talks with the Mission and Discipleship Council – would centre of those churches struggling to attract full-time ministers. Continue reading

Scots Prefer Hymns for Funerals

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS are sticking to tradition and choosing hymns over more popular songs for their funerals.

In the rest of the UK, contemporary songs are the most requested for a loved-one’s funeral.

But in Scotland, over half of the ceremonies are accompanied by hymns rather than classical music or pop songs.

Only 36 per cent of funerals use contemporary tunes, and a measly nine per cent are accompanied by classical music. Continue reading

Anti-gay Christians distribute ‘abhorrent’ cartoon strip

cartoon1

By Alexander Lawrie

FURIOUS Scots have blasted an evangelical group for distributing a booklet to encourage hatred towards homosexuals.

The cartoon-strip leaflet, entitled Birds and Bees, is being handed out in cafes, churches and youth clubs in Dunfermline, Fife.

It features two gay characters called Larry and Charles who are introduced to a class full of schoolkids and are depicted throughout with demons crawling over them.

And in it homosexuals are compared to the people of the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah – cities that were destroyed by God for their inhabitant’s sins.

The chairman of a Fife-based gay support group has condemned the anonymously distributed booklet as “abhorrent”.

And a local councillor has joined the condemnation by claiming the cartoon book is “encouraging a form of hatred in the community”.

It is being handed out by a group calling themselves the American Evangelist Christian Company, and there are thought to be around 10,000 copies of the publication in circulation in and around the Fife town.

Throughout the cartoon storyline – which is obviously designed to attract children’s interest – the two homosexual characters are demonized for their lifestyle.

The schoolkids in the cartoon strip are told by a Christian classmate that “God hates homosexuality” and warns us in the Bible to stay away from it.

In the cartoon strip, the homosexual characters are accused of brainwashing the schoolchildren about their gay lifestyle.

One little boy is chastised by his teacher for using the word “queer” while one school girl regales her classmates of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The children are then told that they will be “saved” if they follow the Bible’s teachings and the school girl is quoted as saying: “Satan wants to destroy us kids. But God still says being gay is an abomination.

“If anyone tries to make you gay – stay away from them.”

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Graham Whyte, chair of the Fife Free Lesbian and Gay Society believes the non-PC booklet encourages hatred towards gays.

He said: “People aren’t born hateful of other people – they are taught that. And this is a clear example of a group trying to teach small children to hate other people. I think that’s abhorrent.

“I think people pit Christianity against ordinary gay people’s values and that’s wrong. Many people are members of both communities.

“It’s certainly not healthy for children to get such a distorted unbalanced view. I look in the mirror and I don’t see a wee devil sitting at the top of my head.

“So while we can ignore a leaflet like this as irrelevant it needs to be known that this is not mainstream thinking by enlightened reasonable people.”

Councillor Liz Mogg, a former headteacher believes the offensive cartoon strip is encouraging hatred towards the local homosexual community, and believes children should be protected from reading the booklet.

She said: “I imagine any headteacher who would look at that would put it in the bim immediately.

“It’s only encouraging a form of hatred in the community.

“It’s important to prevent this getting to children in the 11-14 age group – a lot of them might not be sure of their own sexuality let alone anything else, and to have this sort of thing thrown at them makes things worse,”

“Bullies will find any reason to make someone else’s life a misery just by calling tham a name, whether it’s warranted or not.

“I think children have quite enough to deal with without the fear of eternal damnation and brimstone.”

The definition of a hate crime adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland is “any crime where the perpetrators prejudice against any identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised”.

A Fife police spokesperson said: “We received no complaints about this matter and can therefore make no further comment.”