Letters: Christians must take up the cudgels against the UK Government on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers

THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Archbishop of Canterbury recently issued a joint statement about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, describing the 80 million-plus people displaced due to persecution, conflict and violence as “a global challenge of terrifying proportion”.

They said: “In a climate that is often hostile towards these men, women and children, we commit to offer them welcome and compassion. No effective solutions will be found unless states, religious groups and civil society come together in a spirit of pragmatism and compassion.”

Christians ought to denounce vociferously the callous treatment of refugees and asylum seekers by this Westminster Government, recognising that spiritual insight cannot be separated from political engagement, as demonstrated by Pope Francis. He recently censured in no uncertain terms the West for its treatment of refugees, asserting that “instead of welcoming people fleeing poverty and war, its indifference and cynical disregard continues to condemn people to death”.

At this time of year Christianity reflects upon the story of the birth of a baby into a homeless refugee family and the arrival of three strangers from the East “bearing gifts”.

I suggest that there can be no more appropriate gift in accordance with Christian tradition based on the reported teaching of Jesus in St Matthew’s Gospel than a welcome for refugees (“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”).

The need for the aforementioned “political engagement” on the part of the Christian community, if it is to remain faithful to its calling, is obvious. Those who assert that “religion ought to stay out of politics” have failed to recognise how politically and religiously subversive the teaching of Jesus was.

John Milne, Uddingston.


SORRY, but I had to laugh when I read the caption under your photo on Page 2 today, of a large puddle, a couple of centimetres deep, after a water main burst: “Severe flooding in Walton Street” (The Herald, December 21). Reminds me of the (no doubt apocryphal) headline in the Aberdeen Press & Journal after the Titanic sank: “North-east man lost at sea”.

You have a photo of severe flooding on Page 12, with army personnel in Kuala Lumpur wading through deep water to rescue babes in arms. Let’s keep a bit of perspective: for all our troubles this Christmas, there’s a great many in other parts of the world a gey sight worse off than us.

On that note, I was pleased to see you give prominence to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Afghanistan. Our children and grandchildren will get through this pandemic largely unscathed and can look forward to good times ahead. Millions of children in Afghanistan are at risk of perishing this winter in the most miserable circumstances. I wish all readers of The Herald the best possible Christmas, and I hope that 2022 will see generosity of spirit from both individuals and governments towards those much less fortunate than ourselves.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


THERE have been reports recently concerning ScottishPower chasing people for non-existent debts which reminded me of my own experience with that company. I had been a ScottishPower customer for some years, then about six or seven years ago I received two statements of account in the space of two or three weeks. One statement said I was in credit and the other said I was in debt. The difference was some £500.

When I queried this I embarked on a surreal experience where I was offered incomprehensible explanations for the conflicting statements. The data on usage of oil and gas was embroidered with “adjustments” for which no coherent explanation was given.

In the end I concluded that ScottishPower’s billing process was a complete shambles. I changed supplier as soon as possible and was very happy with the new supplier’s clear and transparent billing process. Unfortunately that supplier failed and I was pitched back into the arms of ScottishPower without any consultation. Needless to say I again changed supplier as soon as I could.

Ronald MacQuarrie, Erskine.


I HAVE followed the correspondence (Letters, December 16, 17 & 20) on the topic of assisted dying, at the heart of which, let us not forget, is a poor soul dying. Arguments both for and against have been presented by interested parties so I will make this very simple. When a family pet can receive more care and compassion in its final hours on this Earth than a human being, it’s time to dispense with the “what ifs?” and “buts”.

Maureen McGarry-O’Hanlon, Balloch.


I HAVE no experience whatsoever – so may I apply for a post as a brain surgeon?

No, let me amend that. I’ve decided to apply to ScotRail as a train driver (“New Scotrail chief has no experience in rail industry”, The Herald, December 21).

Gordon Casely, Crathes.

* I NOTE the new ScotRail CEO has no experience in the railway sector. It’s a wonder she didn’t get a post as a minister in the Government. Not having a clue would seem to be the perfect qualification.

Michael Watson, Glasgow.


MY late aunt used to tell of her favourite stories among which was her sister singing lustily about “a wean in a manger” coupled with “Jesus Christ, it was only a child”. Doubtless there are many similar stories entered into family folklore well worth preserving for posterity.

Ronald H Oliver, Elie, Fife.

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