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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Review urged amid claims Scots charity law helps spread "religiously inspired misogyny"


First minister has been asked to act

A call has been made for a review of Scottish charity law to remove 'the advancement of religion' as a charitable purpose.

The National Secular Society (NSS) made the move, saying it gives cover for some groups which are spreading misogyny.

In a letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf, the NSS says that a Scottish Government programme to shape positive masculinity is being undermined by fringe religious groups set up as charities.

In particular, the NSS pointed to the recent example of Rosyth Baptist Church, a Christian charity whose pastor claimed "a husband is the head of his wife" in a sermon titled 'Submit and love'.

It said the sermon was "degrading and discriminatory" and "validates behaviour that could be considered coercive and controlling".

The NSS says that charity law, as it stands, is impeding Yousaf’s Shaping Positive Masculinity initiative, as ‘advancement of religion’ as a purpose “enables the spread of religiously inspired misogyny”.

Yousaf said the scheme, announced last month, seeks to “promote positive masculinity” to “tackle the root cause of violence against women and girls, namely abusive behaviour perpetrated by men”.

In the letter, the NSS told Humza Yousaf his initiative on shaping positive masculinity was being "undermined" by charity law which enables the spread of "religiously inspired misogyny". The initiative seeks to counter sexism, misogyny and abuse or violence against women and girls.

The NSS also referenced the case of a pastor at Moray Coast Baptist Church asserting that the "primary function" of a woman is "to be married, to have children, and to tend to household affairs".

NSS campaigns officer Alejandro Sanchez said: "We welcome efforts by the first minister to address the attitudes underpinning misogyny and violence against women and girls.

"However, he will be swimming against the current as long as religious charities are allowed to spread misogyny with impunity.

"If the Scottish Government is serious about tackling misogyny it must stop enabling discrimination promoted by religious organisations. This means ending their tax breaks and removing their charitable status."

The NSS calls come as the Scottish Government has pledged to review charity regulation in Scotland.

Last month, TFN revealed that ministers are considering making this an independent review.



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