BY SCO Admin | July 24 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Secularists spark foodbank furore

Scottish Secular Society criticises Dundee Foodbank for Christian specific job advert

A Dundee foodbank has been condemned by secularists for seeking a Christian to lead church services.

The Trussell Trust—a Christian inspired charity that funds hundreds of foodbanks—had posted a job application online for a manager of Dundee Foodbank, whose duties would include ‘leading church services, speaking to a number of church groups, working with predominantly church-based stakeholders and, in some cases leading prayers.’

However the Scottish Secular Society has claimed seeking a Christian for this position is an ‘insult’ and ‘discriminative.’

A local priest told the SCO that as ‘the adverts say the applicant will need to read prayers, it seems pretty obvious to me if someone’s saying prayers, they should be said honestly.’

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said that the ‘Dundee Foodbank carries out vital work to help tackle the scourge of hunger and poverty that we see too often across the UK, it is affiliated with the Trussell Trust, a well known Christian charity.’

“As it is run in partnership with local churches across Dundee and the manager is expected to lead church services, speak to church groups, work with predominantly church-based stakeholders and, in some cases, lead prayers, it is understandable that the organisation has sought a committed Christian for the position,” he said. “Clearly, being a Christian and sharing Christian values is an intrinsic part of the post.”

Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for the Trussell Trust, echoed these comments saying that applicants’ duties would include ‘leading church services, speaking to a number of church groups, working with predominantly church-based stakeholders and, in some cases leading prayers.’

“However, the foodbank continues to welcome the support and involvement of people from all backgrounds in its work to alleviate hunger for people,” he added.

In addition the Citizens Advice Bureau said it was acceptable to suggest that applicants belong to a certain religion if it will be an important part of the job.

Gordon Macdonald, Parliamentary officer for CARE Scotland, a Christian charity, suggested the Scottish Secular Society were ‘just trying to stir up trouble.’

The Scottish Secular Society argues, however, that the advert is openly discriminating against those of no faith.

“There is no law in this land that allows an employer to openly discriminate against those of a particular faith, yet here we have another example of discrimination towards other beliefs and those of no faith,” a statement from the secularists said. “What Dundee Foodbank, and it is not obvious they are a Christian organisation, are effectively inferring is that unless you are a Christian, you are unfit for the role. This is an insult to the thousands of non-Christians who hold charitable roles across the country.”




—This story ran in full in the July 24 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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