Wednesday , 6 July 2022

Anti-gay minister named Free Church Moderator

David Robertson, one of Scotland's most outspoken anti-LGBTI rights minister and Christian commentator has been named the next Moderator of the Free Church
Anti-gay David Robertson named Moderator

David Robertson, one of Scotland’s most outspoken anti-LGBTI rights minister and Christian commentator has been named the next Moderator of the Free Church.

Rev David Robertson, minister of Dundee St Peter’s Free Church and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, was named Moderator on Thursday and will take up the role at next May’s General Assembly.

52-year-old Robertson has been vehemently outspoken against LGBTI rights, calling marriage equality “an attempt at redefining marriage”, and making “some people more equal than others.”

More recently Robertson has claimed that a petition to make sex and relationship education obligatory in schools is a “Trojan horse which will be used to indoctrinate our children into the particular sexual ethics and philosophy.

He also called the debate within the Church of Scotland over the ordination of gay ministers a “perversion of faith.”

Robertson’s appointment as moderator is an attempt to position the Free Kirk firmly against, and further differentiate itself from the Church of Scotland that is currently debating the issue of ordination of gay ministers.

Robertson said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to serve in this way, especially at such an exciting time for both the Free Church and Scotland. We are a growing and developing church, reversing the trend in a society which is becoming increasingly secularised and in a nation which is seeing significant changes.

“My hope is the Free Church will continue to bring the good news to all the people of Scotland and beyond and that the Lord will use us as salt and light to help his people, of whatever denomination, and to see Scotland return to its Christian foundations.”

Rev Blair Robertson of Affirmation Scotland expressed concerns given the new moderator’s views, LGBTI members of the Free Kirk may now feel further alienation, discrimination and rejection.

Commenting on the news, human rights advocate Peter Tatchell told KaleidoScot: “Rev Robertson’s appointment comes at a time when the Church of Scotland is finalising its decision on the ordination of gay ministers. It seems like an attempt by the Free Kirk to send a message to Christians in Scotland: if you don’t like what is happening in the Church of Scotland, leave and join us. It smacks of a de facto appeal to homophobic churchgoers.

“Given David Robertson’s opposition of LGBTI rights, it is worrying that his appointment may impact adversely on LGBTI people within the Free Kirk . They may find their inclusion increasingly questioned and uncomfortable.”

Garry Otton of the Scottish Secular Society responded to the news, telling KaleidoScot: “David Robertson’s arrogance, pomposity and duplicity only polarises both secular and Christian opinion and will banish the Free Church further to the fringes.

“He insists his organisation, Solas, which is little more than a platform for his own self-promotion, does not advocate ‘curing’ gays yet Richard Lucas, who has frequently signed his almost daily letters to The Scotsman as a spokesman for Solas has written: ‘The desire to discourage homosexual sex and help homosexuals to change follows the belief that God’s guidance is not arbitrary, but protects us from actions that are ultimately harmful, individually or collectively.’”

About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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  1. This is a travesty for modern Christianity. With Churches struggling to assert relevance in our modern, ever changing society, appointing a dinosaur as moderator isn't going to achieve this.

    • For me, this appointment typifies everything that is wrong with the Free Church's direction at present. Rev Robertson is stridently opposed to everything that progressive Christians stand for, and his church is becoming increasingly regressive and alienated from mainstream Christianity.

      The self-appointed defender of Christian "truth", Robertson not only has turned his fire on LGBTI people but also the Church of Scotland for such unpardonable sins as seeking to work with humanists.

      I don't necessarily share your view that this appointment is a travesty for modern Christianity. The appointment of Robertson will hardly register on the radar of progressive Christianity, and the Free Church itself is as much a dinosaur as is its new moderator. The real travesty is that the media give unmerited credibility to this man's views, and to this church's role in Scottish society.

      Robertson is, as St Paul would say, kicking against the goads. He and his church seek to stand in the way of progress and against what they inevitably see as the apostasy of mainstream Christianity. Inclusivity isn't in the Free Church's vocabulary, and never has been. I suspect the modern church will manage to assert their relevance irrespective of Robertson and his intolerance – and, outwith places such as Lewis, will struggle to convince many from Church of Scotland congregations to switch allegiance.

  2.…. Is this what the free church wants. It's sick. Scotland's association with the slave trade is the past. Get real. Everyone is entitled to the same equal rights. The churches are happy to take lgbt tax money but don't want is to enjoy equality.

  3. Some things never change – hasn't it always been the case that when someone stands up for the truth of the Gospel the 'religious' are outraged?

  4. Uncomfortable though it may be for some, David Robertson DOES represent "mainstream Christianity". His views on homosexuality are those affirmed by the worldwide church (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal) for 2000 years, and still held to by the vast majority of Christians. It is the so called "progressives" who are out on a limb here, and even the Church of Scotland still holds to the traditional position that gay sex is forbidden by the Bible, though it is now proposing to allow individual congregations to depart from the mainstream and allow people in same sex relationships to be ministers, an action which is causing several churches, ministers and members to leave the denomination. What's more, unlike the CofS and most "broad churches", the Free Church of Scotland is seeing significant growth just now.

    The fact is that it's not David Robertson that "progressive Christianity" is against, it is the faith of the Bible and of the whole church through the ages. Such views are actually far from "progressive", and are actually a departure from historic Christianity.

  5. Why do you give these religious haters a platform? They gay us gays, they hate themselves. I don't think people like this guy should be claiming to be a man of god. God didn't create a hierarchy of his love but this fool is trying to say he did.

    Makes me mad.

    • Free speech runs in both directions. To suggest that those who oppose your view should not be allowed to express theirs is tantamount to totalitarianism.

  6. "Given David Robertson’s opposition of LGBTI rights, it is worrying that his appointment may impact adversely on LGBTI people within the Free Kirk . They may find their inclusion increasingly questioned and uncomfortable"

    Have you actually spoken to anyone who is LGBTI in the Free Church? I work with a gay man who is a member of David's congregation. He has never said anything negative about David Robertson and in fact praises him as a pastor. I am bisexual and, though I go to another church, I have never had any hostility from David, he is always welcoming. I would be happy to be a member at St Peters.

    Please don't assume to speak on behalf on the LGBT population within the church, especially if you're going to lie about how we feel.

    • Jim, given David Robertson's quite clear views on sexuality and how its viewed in the light of the bible, I'm interested in the experience of your friend- who you say is openly Gay and a member of David's church?

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