Scottish Independence: Role of religion 'should be recognised'

Leaders from Scotland's Churches and faith communities The call for the role of religion to be recognised in any written constitution for Scotland came after an interfaith meeting

Churches and faith groups are calling for the role of religion to be recognised in any written constitution for Scotland.

They plan to hold an interfaith conference on the subject in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, in July.

The call follows an interfaith meeting convened by the Church of Scotland.

The Scottish government said it did not plan to change the legal status of any religion or Scotland's churches.

The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church have joined forces with other major religious and faith groups to "stake a claim" for recognition in a written constitution.

A joint statement released by those who attended the interfaith meeting said: "At a meeting, chaired by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, representatives of Scotland's diverse faith traditions were united in the view that the contribution of faith to Scottish society should be properly recognised whatever the future holds.

"All the churches and faith communities present agreed Scotland's diversity of religious belief is an important reflection of Scotland's wider society."

'Open process'

It added: "It is intended the conference will help inform their responses to both the constitutional consultation and the wider political debate beyond the referendum.

"The conference will transcend political differences and any statements agreed will make no endorsement of either side in the referendum campaign."

The Scottish government has said it will publish a draft constitution to inform the independence debate.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We propose no change to the legal status of any religion or Scotland's churches.

"The interim constitution will, however, give full legal force to the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion.

"The interim constitution will be subject to consultation and the permanent written constitution will be drawn up in a fully open, participative and collaborative process."

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