Church of Scotland urges voters to display unity on polling day whichever way they intend to vote
Published on 18 September, 2014
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is calling for voters to take part in the referendum in a spirit of unity, whichever way they intend to vote.
The Rt Rev John Chalmers says it is important people cast their vote in this historic poll so everyone has a stake in the outcome. He says he hopes people will go to the polling stations with cool heads and calm hearts, and make their choice according to their own faithfully held opinions.
The Moderator says there is a clear interest for everyone in having a post-referendum period which is harmonious and future-focused. The conduct of people before, during and after the poll will help set the tone for what follows. Mr Chalmers is offering several ways politicians, campaigners and voters could contribute in a positive way.
- In the first 72 hours senior figures on both sides the debate should be seen to be clear in both their words and their actions that the issue has now been settled democratically. The campaign with the majority should announce a post-referendum event inviting the main players on both sides to discuss a shared strategy for delivering the settled will of the Scottish people
- Voters can remove their Yes/No affiliations from their profile images and replace them with a shared symbol of unity, such as the 'One Scotland' badge available on the Church of Scotland facebook page
- In a campaign dominated by social media, politicians, campaigners and voters could post selfies of themselves with someone who has voted the opposite way and share them with this hashtag. Both Yes and No sides could also agree a number of joint hashtags to promote magnanimity and a celebration of the democratic process, such as #indyref one
The Church of Scotland is playing its part by inviting people to worship in Edinburgh's St Giles Cathedral at 1130am on Sunday, when the theme of the service will be commitment to unity of purpose. The main participants in the campaign have indicated their willingness to participate in the service which will be a way of signifying their commitment to the shared values inscribed on the Scottish Parliament's mace, namely: wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity.
The theme of the service will be repeated in Church of Scotland congregations across the whole country where prayers will be said for Scotland's future.
The Moderator believes these ideas will encourage the celebration of the referendum process as an achievement for democracy of which Scotland can be proud.