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Should holding certain views bar someone from high office?

Should holding certain views bar someone from high office?

Nick Spencer on Kate Forbes and hypocritical public attitudes to leaders with socially conservative beliefs in Prospect Magazine. 03/03/2023

The race to become the next leader of the Scottish National Party, following Nicola Sturgeon’s abrupt departure in February, was never going to be a smooth one. Even so, many have been surprised at quite how quickly it has veered off course. The lead contender has struck one of the oldest and deepest potholes on the political road: religion. 

Kate Forbes, the Scottish finance minister, admitted that she is not a fan of same–sex marriage and would not have voted for it in 2014. She said she would not have voted for the highly controversial Gender Recognition Reform Bill had she not been on maternity leave. And she even confessed that she personally thinks sex and having children are for within marriage. In the process, she offered a striking example of how hard it is today for someone to combine traditional religious social views with the quest for high office. A senior politician being honest about her socially conservative views in a leadership race: what in God’s name was she thinking?

 


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 Image by Prospect Magazine

Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.

Watch, listen to or read more from Nick Spencer

Posted 3 March 2023

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