STIRLING, Scotland (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — Stirling University Students’ Union has suspended the Catholic Society after the group shared a post promoting pro-life vigils in Scotland.
The university’s Catholic Society was placed under investigation over a social media post encouraging members to attend a pro-life vigil outside of a hospital in Glasgow, which the union’s vice president for communities, Jess Reid, said “goes against our values and policy as a students’ union.”
On 24 February, a post was added to the Catholic Society’s Facebook page, letting followers know about the work of 40 Days for Life, and encouraging members to attend the vigil at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
A week later, the same post began to receive negative attention. Then, on March 3, Reid uploaded a post stating that the Catholic Society would be suspended pending an “ongoing investigation into these complaints.”
The post included a line from the Union’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which stated:
“No one should be denied opportunities or should face any form of discrimination, including harassment and bullying, based on any of the following protected characteristics: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Pregnancy and Maternity.”
The post went on to mention that the Students’ Union intends to campaign for “buffer zones,” which would criminalize those who attend peaceful, prayerful pro-life vigils:
In addition to this, in October 2022, with the support of my fellow Officers, I passed a motion that our Union will campaign in support of the Safe Access (Abortion Services) Scotland Bill. This motion includes that the Union is to ‘actively oppose all anti-choice protests and activities across Scotland.’
‘Deeply troubling,’ says SPUC
Michael Robinson, SPUC’s Executive Director (Public Affairs and Legal Services), said: “It is deeply troubling that a small group of activists is trying to force this Christian group and all its members to act against their conscience and deny them a voice.”
Continuing, Robinson added:
The views of the Catholic Church and their 1.3 billion members on abortion are clear and are derived from the belief that it is wrong to take a human life. The promotion of 40 Days for Life is therefore fully in accordance with their faith – a legally protected characteristic.
To deny anyone the right to express a sincerely held belief (religious or secular) on abortion and other issues is profoundly illiberal and even bigoted.
SPUC calls on Stirling University to protect the right to free speech and religious expression of its students. Failure to do so will send a terrible message: that there is no place for pro-life Catholics or pro-lifers of any sort on their campus, a shameful admission for any university to make.
Reprinted with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.