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Civil religion in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Commonwealth

By Norman Bonney,
Manchester University Press, October 2013

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

2011 Scottish census results on religion show the need for change

The results of the 2011 Scottish census question on religion released today demonstrate the need for fundamental changes in Scottish institutions and help explain the growing support for secularism in Scotland.

The growth of the number of those who report that they have no religion to 36.7 per cent of the population explains the growing dissatisfaction that is evident amongst parents with the requirement for religious observance in schools.

The assumption by the Church of Scotland that it is the national church, evident in its claim that it should crown the monarch of an independent Scotland, is challenged by the census finding that two years ago it only had the support of one in three of the population.

The practice of Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament which gives hardly any space for the representation of belief outside of organised religion, even though it is intended to represent the whole spectrum of belief, again needs a fundamental review.

Scotland has only begun to witness the major changes in its institutions that must result from the rejection of organised religion by a large sector of the population.

If the 2001-2011 census result trends are projected forward to the present day 39 per cent of the population are likely to have no religion and 30 per cent identify with the Church of Scotland.