CHRISTIANS across Scotland must play their part in national
reconciliation after the independence referendum, no matter what
the result, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of
Scotland, the Rt Revd John Chalmers, has said.
He has planned a service at St Giles's Cathedral in Edinburgh on
Sunday 21 September, where leaders from each side will commit to
working together, whether the people of Scotland have voted Yes or
No a few days earlier.
Explaining the idea, Mr Chalmers wrote on the Church of
Scotland's website: "The Church still holds the capacity to bring
people of good will together under a banner of unity and a national
church such as the Church of Scotland owes it to the nation to
allow this to happen."
The independence campaign had been divisive and focused on the
"deeply unpleasant" minorities on each side who had intimidated
fellow Scots. "If we do not behave respectfully to one another in
the run up to the 18th September, what on earth makes people think
that we will behave differently on the 19th September?
"Scotland may be in danger of becoming a divided country for
some time to come. Magnanimity in victory and graciousness in
defeat will be of the utmost importance," he wrote.
His message was echoed in an open letter signed by leaders of 16
denominations in Scotland, which urged Christians to pray and to
fast next week, in the build-up to the referendum on Thursday.
"What kind of nation do we wish Scotland to be? History shows us
over and over again that prayer changes things and that God
responds to the prayers of his people," the leaders said. They
included representatives of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the
Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, the
Scottish Evangelical Alliance, the Methodist Church in Scotland,
and the Church of Scotland.
On Sunday, churches are encouraged to include prayer for both
the vote and the aftermath in their services, and on the eve of the
referendum, on Wednesday, a national day of prayer and fasting will
The RC Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, the Most Revd
Leo Cushley, said last month: "No matter the result of the
referendum, I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage
positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian
message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the
benefit of the whole community."
Both the Yes and No campaigns have been galvanised by recent
polls that suggest a surge of support for independence. One, for
The Sunday Times, reported a two-per-cent lead for Yes,
when those undecided are excluded - the first time independence has
nudged ahead of those in favour of staying in the UK.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg all abandoned the
normal Prime Minister's Questions in Westminster on Wednesday to
travel to Scotland to join the No campaign trail.
Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister and current MP for
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, announced on Monday a cross-party deal
to offer more powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a
No vote, which he described as "nothing less than a modern form of
Scottish Home Rule".
He said that the necessary legislation would be immediately
introduced by whichever party won the General Election next year.
His offer was dismissed as "too little, too late" by the leader of
the Scottish Nationalist Party, Alex Salmond, on Wednesday.
Question of the week: If you had a vote, would you opt for