Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

EWAN GURR: ‘SNP must not supress pastor’s views on same-sex marriage’

EWAN GURR: ‘SNP must not supress pastor’s views on same-sex marriage’

For the first time in history, legal action is being taken against Scotland’s two biggest councils in Edinburgh and Glasgow by two separate organisations over the alleged suppression of freedom of expression.

Destiny Ministries, pioneered by Pastor Andrew Owen and his wife Sue, is best known in Scotland for its vibrant network of churches in various towns and cities.

Its congregations in Edinburgh and Glasgow alone have a combined weekly attendance of more than 2,500 men, women and children.

At the end of June each year, Destiny holds its annual conference – Surge – with the location alternating between Edinburgh and Glasgow.


>> Keep up to date with the latest news with Evening Telegraph newsletter


This year, the conference was scheduled to take place at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh until a complaint was made in relation to the conservative views on marriage held by one of the speakers, American preacher Larry Stockstill.

Destiny is now preparing legal action against the SNP-led City of Edinburgh Council, which cancelled the event as the Usher Hall’s majority shareholder.

I spoke to Pastor Owen in Glasgow last week. He said: “The council argues that Larry is violating its code on inclusivity and objects to his use of adjectives to describe his views on sexuality and marriage.

“However, they have breached their own contract by preventing their own citizens from hiring a publicly-owned building.”

He added: “My concern is, if they succeed in suppressing the Christian message, will they target our Jewish and Muslims friends who hold similar views?”

>>Read more from Ewan Gurr by clicking here

Pastor Owen is leading a crowdfunding exercise to raise £150,000 in legal fees and more than £22,500 was pledged in the first seven days.

Among the supporters is the former chairman of the Scottish Secular Society, Spencer Fildes.

He said: “I’m a free speech absolutist. Though I may disagree with you, I absolutely support your right to express your beliefs.”

All of this takes place in the shadow of an equivalent decision by another SNP-led administration.

Glasgow City Council cancelled an event scheduled in May at the SEC where American evangelist Franklin Graham was to speak.

The cancellation, due to Graham’s opposition to LGBT relationships, is now being legally challenged by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The sobering reality is that the ideological cheerleader for this inconsistent definition of equality is our party of government.


>> Read more of the latest news and sport from Dundee, Tayside and Fife by clicking here


No matter how we perceive the conservative nature of the views held by these men, a truly democratic society must affirm the right of all people to adhere to whatever views they so choose and, therefore, the flexibility of our tolerance must extend beyond viewpoints which we deem tolerable.

Any threat to democracy is a threat to every one of us and this is a watershed moment, not only for Destiny Ministries but Scottish society as a whole.

The SNP should reflect deeply and tread carefully.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.