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Title: Church and state in Scotland
Author: Lyall, Francis
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1972
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There are four possible configurations of the Church and State relationship---the supremacy of the State that of the Church, total separation and co-operation. The Scottish development is not unaffected by theories and practice in other countries. Following the Reformation in 1560 the establishment of the Church of Scotland took time, partially for political and economic reasons. Presbyterianism was given statutory sanction in 1592, and the Treaty of Union and relative legislation of 1707 protected the worship, government and discipline of the Church of Scotland. Despite this protection patronage was re-introduced in 1712. The Veto and Chapel Acts of the General Assembly of the Church in 1834 were attempts to deal with patronage, and to exercise rights of Church government which the then majority in Assembly considered the Church to have. These Acts were held to be ultra vires of the Church in a series of cases statute prevailing in all these matters. Parliament having refused to give legislative relief, the Church of Scotland was disrupted in 1843. Thereafter much of the freedom sought by the seceding minority was granted, but by the legislative action of the State. The 1921 Church of Scotland Act declared lawful a new constitution of the Church of Scotland in Matters Spiritual, giving the Church freedom in matters of government, doctrine and discipline. This was necessary to allow the Union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929, since the U.F, Church contained within its constitution a freer system based upon its history, and steps taken to avoid the effect of the 1904 Free Church case. Present moves within the Church towards displacing the Westminster Confession as the subordinate standard of faith may require the civil courts once more to determine the extent of the freedom conferred under the 1921 Act. Due to the ascendancy of the established Church, the legal personality and powers of non-established denominations took time to be established, The limit of their independent and exclusive, 'jurisdiction', based on prorogation, is not yet clear, Property is held in trust for the original purposes of the non-established Church, The cases, notably the Free Church case of 1904, show that it is necessary that the constitutions of these Churches should provide for future unions, and doctrinal development and deviation, The law relating Co Sunday Observance is largely contained in old Scots Acts which are partially in desuetude, Development in the law will be gradual and will find its justification in reasons other then religious, Conscientious Objection to military service is not at present a live issue with the abolition of national service, but the law on the matter was congruent with the European Convention on Human Rights, In Broadcasting there are institutional arrangements in the B,B,C, and I.B.A, providing for a fair reflection of 'main stream' Christianity within religious broadcasts, These seem to work reasonably, though they will be criticised in any inquiry into broadcasting which may be set up before the B,B,C. licence is renewed in 1976' In Marriage there is an uneasy conflict between State and religious interests. Banns should no longer have legal effect, Proper arrangements should be made for granting the representatives of smaller denominations and non-Christian bodies to conduct marriage ceremonies. Education reveals a connected pattern of interest. As Church responsibility for the provision of educational facilities has diminished, so has its control over religious education. Special provision is made for Roman Catholic education within the State system* Future years may result in Church interest, including R.C., being phased out completely. The right of a parent to specify the religion in which a child is to be brought up is becoming submerged in general considerations of the welfare of the Child. This is seen particularly in Adoption and in Custody-cases. Other smaller questions are discussed, Religious Discrimination is reviewed, including the question of oaths. Civil and Criminal restrictions on the right to manifest or practise one's beliefs are shown not to be based on general policy considerations and not on religious dogma, e,g, in blasphemy and witchcraft. The extent to which State agencies make provision for religious belief in social services and in tax exemptions for religious organisations, is outlined, Lastly the question of State acts relative to Scientology is discussed. This chapter draws together certain general points. It suggests that developments within the Church of Scotland may require revision of the position of that Church as national Church. The position of the non-established Church might be clarified especially in relation to its jurisdiction, and in marriage questions, It is further suggested that the decline in institutional religion will cause pragmatic revision of the law in the other areas discussed* though the general vaguely Christian ethos of the law will remain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available