Why Kate Forbes’ Candid Speaking Could Open Up A Future For The Tired SNP | policy news

For the first time, a majority of people in the UK did not identify as Christian in the most recent census.

This was mainly because of the large percentage (13%) who switched from “Christian” to “no religion” in the last decade.

Religious faith still matters in politics as Kate Forbes is discovering to her discomfort.

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Children out of wedlock are ‘wrong’

After she confirmed her long-held and well-known conservative Christian views in interviews to launch her campaign to lead the Scottish National PartyForbes, 32, went – in a matter of hours – from “favorite” to “dinosaur”.

Nicola Sturgeonoutgoing Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney questioned his suitability to be leader, and half a dozen SNP MSPs withdrew their endorsements.

As nominations end on Friday, Kate Forbes has vowed to “fight”.

It will be up to the SNP’s 104,000 members to vote on their next leader. The winner will be announced on March 27th.

Forbes’ decline in popularity exposes deep fissures in the “broad church” coalition of ages, beliefs and backgrounds that has made the SNP the dominant force in Scottish politics.

Furthermore, it casts a relentless spotlight on the tensions and contradictions in British political culture, in which people who claim to be liberal and progressive are eager to “cancel out” those with differing views.

Kate Forbes shouldn’t have been surprised that her beliefs got her into trouble.

Strongly held religious tenets helped curb the careers of prominent politicians at the top, including evangelicals. liberal democrat leader Tim Farron and the Roman Catholic Church Work Cabinet Minister Ruth Kelly.

Identifying potential hazards, by Tony Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell blocked an interview with his devout boss with the words “We don’t make God”.

Blair avoided converting to Roman Catholicism until leaving office. When I told him that he could have been the first Catholic prime minister since Henry VIII, he just laughed.

Pope Francis speaks with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, September 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism after he left office

Presumably that record now belongs to Boris Johnson, whose most recent wedding took place at Westminster Cathedral.

“I was surprised to find Boris was a Catholic,” his father Stanley told me, because he had been confirmed in the Church of England at Eton.

Upon consulting family records, Stanley remembered that his son had been baptized in a Catholic church, his mother’s faith.

Other politicians, including Forbes, take their religious beliefs more seriously.

Kate Forbes was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and is a qualified accountant.

After she took over as finance minister to successfully introduce a budget to Holyrood parliament, and with just hours to spare, she was widely touted as a “rising star”.

Spectator magazine and the Daily Telegraph warned this week that she is the potential leader of the SNP that the conservative would have more reason to fear.

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Kate Forbes’ parents were missionaries for the strictly Calvinist Free Church of Scotland. She shares her faith in the Puritan “Wee Frees”.

She was not an MSP when Holyrood voted for same-sex marriage and was on maternity leave when she supported Sturgeon’s flagship Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Act.

But she made no secret of her views in interviews when she launched her campaign, insisting the public is “wanting a politician to answer straight questions with straight answers”.

Forbes admitted that it would not have voted for gay marriage. She does not support gender self-identification.

On the controversial case of the transgender double rapist that prompted Sturgeon to change his prison accommodation, Forbes told Sky News: “A rapist cannot be a female and therefore my direct answer would be that Isla Brayson is a male.”

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‘Rapist cannot be a woman’

She stated that having children out of wedlock is “wrong according to my religion”.

Despite pledging to stay out of the race for his successor, Sturgeon commented grimly, saying: “Scotland is a socially progressive country and I believe that is the majority opinion … people look to their prime minister to see someone who will champion them and their rights”.

John Swinney “deeply disagreed” with Forbes’ views, ominously noting that “Party members will make their judgment on whether they think it’s appropriate to keep if you’re a leader.”

Four days after throwing his hat into the ring, Forbes responded to his critics in a long string of tweets.

She wrote: “I feel very burdened and heartbroken that some of my responses to direct questions in the media have caused friends, colleagues and fellow citizens, but I have listened carefully.”

See more information:
Kate Forbes Explains Her Faith
Who are the SNP leadership candidates?

She pledged: “I will protect the rights of everyone in Scotland, particularly minorities, to live and love without fear or harassment in a pluralistic and tolerant society.”

Whether that guarantee will be enough to get her campaign back on course will decide whether she or someone else – currently probably Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, a progressive and practicing Muslim – becomes prime minister.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during a visit to the Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service (RCDS) at NHS Fife Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.  The president of a medical clinic.  union warned that there
SNP Rival Leadership Humza Yousaf

Polls suggest that there is considerable support for Forbes’ reservations about GRR. But there are overwhelming majorities in favor of same-sex marriage.

Ironically, for someone who could be the first “Millennial” leader in UK politics, his views are at odds with younger voters.

The past experience of other faith politicians does not bode well for her.

Tim Farron’s religiously motivated reservations about gay rights caused an uproar among the Liberal Democrats and contributed to his resignation as leader.

Farron remains an MP and regretfully commented: “We Christians don’t always help ourselves and can come across as judgmental and bigoted.

“I firmly believe that I have no right to legislate to make people who are not Christians live as if they were.”

Ruth Kelly, once seen as a “rising star”, left politics in 2010.

Her firmly held Catholic beliefs and social attitudes clashed in roles that included being the Labor Party’s new education secretary and equality minister.

As inclusive as Forbes promises to be, she will symbolize a significant shift in the direction of the SNP if she is elected leader.

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How the SNP will select its new leader

The party wasn’t always the diverse and progressive religious movement that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon made it.

They brought the SNP to power by expanding its support for working-class communities that had been loyal to Labour. It wasn’t always like this.

During an election in the 1970s, a Catholic friend was shocked to receive a pen as a campaign gift with the slogan “Vote SNP to keep Scotland Protestant”.

There were tea towels with the same message for sale at Barras market in Glasgow. The revered political scholar Tom Nairn supported independence, but joked that the former SNP was “a board of corporal punishers and they frequented Kirk”.

The party’s roots were not in the central belt that stretched from Glasgow to Dundee, but inland and in the Highlands, in constituencies like Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, which Kate Forbes represents.

Forbes’ frankness about his private morality could “torpedo” his chances, as the Guardian newspaper boasted.

If she is able to stay in the race, it’s possible that members are more lenient than their peers at the top of Sturgeon’s party and see her religious views as less of a risk than they do.

Her faith aside, she is an impressive and dedicated politician who could open up a future for her weary party.

Christianity may be in terminal decline, but it looks like it can still shape the political destinies of people and nations.

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