Yet another overblown “epistle” from John Macleod (Majority want to keep their Lord’s Day) on Hebrides News today. And I wonder, is someone paying him by the word for these exhortations? There is just so much waffle in there that it’s easy to lose track of any point he’s making. I find that surprising for someone who is supposed to be a journalist and a writer – aren’t they required to be much more concise? Maybe it’s just the good ones that are.
Macleod launches another attack on a fellow correspondent (David Gilmour – see letters here and here) and otherwise comes up with nothing new. But there are a couple of things he says that are worth taking a shot at. David Gilmour mentioned Sunday golf in his correspondence giving rise to this from John Macleod:
It’s good to be reminded so helpfully that we’re dealing with folk who have a wider agenda. This is about a whole lot more than ‘freedom of movement.’
Once they win a Sunday ferry, they will demand Sunday sports, and Sunday golf; they will go to law if they have to; and they will no doubt besides campaign for Sunday shopping.
They will stop at nothing until they have dismantled every last social aspect of the Lord’s Day on Lewis and removed every trace of Christian influence from the public life of this island – even if it denies young Stornoway families the one day in the week they can stroll in a large portion of the Castle Grounds without the risk of flying golfballs.
You don’t think about such things when your all-consuming mission is to humiliate the Church and spite local believers.
Macleod and his ilk need to take note that:
- This is about a whole lot more than “freedom of movement”. At it’s heart this debate is simply about freedom. If he wants to go to church on Sunday or any other day he is free to do so. What he is not free to do is seek to restrict the freedom of those whose ideology differs from his own. Those who want to play golf, swim, shop, drink, etc., should be free to do so whether they believe in a god or not.
- I don’t think anyone is looking to dismantle “every last social aspect of the Lord’s Day on Lewis and removed every trace of Christian influence from the public life of this island”. Macleod may have been trying to be humourous with that remark but it sounds like a flight of paranoid fantasy. There are some who might say (including me) that such a dismantling would be no bad thing – we can certainly do without Macleod’s form of Christian influence interference. However that is not what is required nor would it be right. Instead both sides need to find a way to co-exist and compromise for the good of all. If you can attend a church and shop on the same day in Glasgow or Edinburgh then you can do it here too without the fabric of either society or the church crumbling into dust.
- I have been taking walks in the Castle Grounds since I was a toddler. I’ve walked every road, path and track therein on every day of the week and have never been hit by a golf ball (not even whilst playing golf). This part of Macleod’s exhortation may have been meant as funny, perhaps even clever, but this is just the sort of fluff that obscures any points he is making – people will focus on this kind of inanity, forgetting anything of worth he said beforehand (not that he said anything of worth beforhand…or did he?). Spending time with my family is very important but the reality up here is that whilst Sunday is free to spend with the family there’s nothing for a family to bloody do! No shops (okay 1 shop), no swimming, no golf, no gym, no sports hall, no soft play, no cinema. The Castle grounds are open and the swings are no longer chained together but neither venue is a lot of fun for anyone in the pouring rain. Frankly, I’d rather take my chances with the golf balls.
- Finally, no one needs to try and humiliate any church. Take a look round the world at the way many churches and their adherents behave and you’ll see they do a pretty good job of humiliating themselves. As for spite, some of the most spiteful remarks I have heard have come from religious members of this community. An old lady on her way to church one Sunday evening, bible in hand, told me I was “a nasty little heathen”. I was just a kid at the time, playing in my own garden and was, as I’d been taught, trying to be polite by saying “Hello.”
On second thoughts maybe dismantling the Lord’s Day and removing every trace of Christian influence interference isn’t such a bad idea after all?