A Dundee minister has claimed a new campaign by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland is fanning hatred against religion.
David Robertson, minister of St Peter’s Free Church, said he was “personally offended” after seeing posters in the Dear Haters series.
He has contacted Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf about one particular example.
The poster reads: “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.”
Mr Robertson used the campaign’s own website to report it as a hate crime.
The campaign, a joint venture between the government and police, encourages victims of hate crime to report their experiences. Other posters in the series target homophobes, racists and transphobes.
Mr Robertson said: “If you were to replace the word religious with Jewish or Muslim or Christian then it would be considered outrageous, but the meaning doesn’t actually change.
“It’s poorly worded and it is not very subtle. For example, the font used is similar to ones used in a lot of religious texts. It’s seeding an anti-religious narrative.”
Mr Robertson said he was personally offended by the poster and knew a number of people who shared his concerns.
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“The police’s own criteria say a hate incident is anything that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice,” he said.
“They are breaking their own rules. I perceive the poster to be motivated by hate and prejudice.
“I’ve made a formal complaint and a lot of people have also told me they intend to as well. I have heard a lot of people say religious people are homophobic and a message like this is only going to harden that belief.”
A Scottish Government spokesman insisted the poster was not intended to fan hate crimes towards religious groups or individuals.
“Our new campaign, in partnership with Police Scotland, makes clear there is no place for hate crime or prejudice towards any religion in Scotland,” he added.
“It focuses on religion, race, disability, transgender identity and sexual orientation.
“The ‘Dear Bigots’ poster is designed to combat religious hatred, addressing perpetrators of hate crime while encouraging witnesses to report any incidents.”