A reminder of sectarianism in Scotland

The recent vandalism of a Roman Catholic Church in Livingston is a visual reminder of the problem of religous sectarianism.

Anti-catholic messages including the words “**** all Taigs” and references to Loyalist paramilitaries (Red hand) were spray painted on the church’s exterior.

Police Scotland are investigating.

But what is sectarianism? It is linked to the Reformation in the 16th Century but in the an increasingly secular society it can embody more than faith.

Recent studies found that almost nine in ten Scots believe that sectarianism is linked to football. A majority (90 per cent) surveyed believe the issue of sectarianism remains a problem in the country. But 69 per cent argued that it was localised to Glasgow and western parts of Scotland.

Loyalist (including Orange Order) marches and Irish Republican marches were the next most commonly mentioned factors (but only a minority argued it was the main factor).

Around half of Scots think that Catholics experience a measure of prejudice and 41 per cent believed the same about Protestants.

But a recent government announcement of fresh funds to community projects hope to turn the tide. The promise of an additional £3m follows the £9m invested in similar projects in the past three years.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse stated, “We are confident that these projects will help us to continue to reduce sectarian attitudes and behaviours and help to finally rid Scotland of the prejudices of the past.”

Wheelhouse also noted that ‘religiously aggravated offending is falling and is now at its lowest level in a decade—last year alone there was a 15 per cent decrease‘. But more work is needed, hence the further financial commitment from the Scottish government.