Minister fury at hate symbols carved into tree

A minister has expressed outrage after discovering Nazi and white supremacist symbols carved into a tree.

Rev Scott Burton was walking his dog, Fletcher, in woods alongside the River Tay close to Scone Palace in Perthshire when he spotted the vandalism.

He made the discovery days after clashes between neo-Nazis and white supremacists and protestors at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA which left one woman dead and dozens injured.

Carved into the tree is a swastika which was adopted by Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich in the 1930s and 1940s and the numbers 1488, which are associated with white supremacists.

Scott Burton
Rev Scott Burton

Mr Burton, minister at St Matthew’s Church in Perth, said: “To say I was furious to discover hate symbols carved into a tree in the most beautiful, peaceful place is an understatement.

“Such a local sighting in these days when we are all aware of recent events in Charlottesville is really quite concerning.

“It begs the question, is white supremacism alive and well in our own neighbourhood here, as well as elsewhere around the globe?

“Who knows if this is an isolated act of vandalism from one individual or something more organised in a larger group.

“But whatever it is, our collective response as a Christian community surely must be to stand out in complete opposition to any notion that one race is superior to another within the one, God-breathed, family of humanity.”

Rev Scott Burton was shocked when he discovered hate symbols carved into a tree

God given diversity

Mr Burton urged people to support one another in speaking out against anything that smacks of racism, xenophobia or intolerance for others based simply on ethnicity, skin colour or country of origin.

“Our words matter and our actions matter,” he added.

“Particularly those of us with white faces must be seen to speak of love, inclusion, acceptance and respect for others who may be the same as, or may be different from, who we happen to be.

Mr Burton said there was no "us" and "them".

"It is God who made the Caucasian, the Asian, the African, the Indian,” he added.

“Our diversity is God-created.

“ Hallelujah - I praise God for his love for all!

“Jesus said ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. (John 13:34).

“Let us walk arm in arm with brothers and sisters of all colours and creeds that love will trump hate.”