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.
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.’”