The University of Edinburgh has granted permission to the Pagan Society to hold its annual conference – involving talks on witchcraft, pagan weddings and tribal dancing – on campus next month. Druids, heathens, shamans and witches are expected to attend what is a major event in the pagan calendar.
But the move has enraged the Christian Union, which accuses the university of double standards after banning one of its events on the “dangers” of homosexuality.
Matthew Tindale, an Edinburgh-based Christian Union staff worker, claimed some faiths and beliefs appeared to be more equal than others on campus.
“This seems to be a clear case of discrimination,” he said. “It’s okay for other religions, such as the pagans, to have their say at the university, but there appears to be a reluctance to allow Christians to do the same. All we are asking for is the tolerance that is afforded to other faiths and organisations.”
The Union has won strong backing from the Catholic Church in Scotland, whose spokesman, Simon Dames, felt that allowing the pagan festival to go ahead while barring the Union meeting was an example of “Christianphobia”.
“This appears to be a clear case of double standards,” he said. “The principles of a pluralistic democracy revolve around an acceptance of competing ideas and universities should be enshrining this principle. Anti-racism groups would never be asked to put up posters saying there are alternative views.”
The row has its roots in last year’s decision by university officials to ban the Christian Union from using campus premises to run a course which claimed that gay sex was morally wrong.
Full story at Scotland on Sunday.