Gagged or not?

The minutes of Monday’s GA session are available online and the wording of the so-called ‘gagging clause’ read as follows:

Instruct all Courts, Councils and Committees of the Church not to issue press statements or otherwise talk to the media or to make decisions in relation to contentious matters of human sexuality, with respect to Ordination and Induction to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, until 31 May 2011;

There were, of course, some get-out clauses for some projects and councils. It seems to me that this is aimed primarily at the official bodies of the Kirk and not at individuals. In other words, there cannot be an ‘official response’ to the discussion, but personal opinion should be allowed.


I just caught, on the webcast, a statement about the moratorium. It is, as yet, a draft but it states that individuals are also expected to comply with the spirit of the agreed motion.

So, whilst not a hard and fast ruling on individuals, there is an expectation that individuals won’t make statements to the press. It still leaves a bit of wriggle-room to allow public discussion.

2 responses to “Gagged or not?”

  1. oh yes, discussion is encouraged [over cups of coffee, I believe!!], it’s just not feeding info./ airing dirty linen within the media three-ring circus….  In that context, just sharing opinions within the blogosphere is fine, I suspect.  My sense is that underneath is a ‘deliberate intent’ context: neither side to use the media in the ‘battle’.

  2. John,

    The bit about individuals was the original part 3 of the deliverance, although it’s hard work piecing this together from the minutes.

    3. Urge all members who are subject to the discipline of the Courts of the Church of Scotland to act inaccordance with the process outlined in 1 and 2.

    What you printed above is the 2 referred to in 3.
    The reaction to this debate has been interesting. I had the dubious privelege of being a commisioner and it seemed to me that the Assembly was not so much keen on ‘gagging’ as providing breathing space. As Nikki said, chats over cups of coffee are strongly encouraged. I know two local ministers, one very liberal and one conservative who have agreed to get together to talk. My sense is that there is a strong desire for the Kirk to remain together, except from a small minority. Whether we will find a way of doing that in the next two years, I’m not sure. I, for one, hope we do. 

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