HOW do you sum up what Christians believe in three words? That’s the question I once put to a group of young people who were joining my Church. The answer we collectively came up with was a simple one – God is love.

The question of how faith and politics interact has become more prominent in Scotland this week than I can ever recall previously, so I’m grateful to The National for this opportunity to explain what it means to me as a Christian in public life.

I know that God loves me unconditionally. I believe that I am made in Their image. And so are you. That’s my personal belief and I’m delighted when people share it, but I certainly don’t seek to enforce it.

When Jesus was asked what the most important Commandment was, he was unequivocal. We should love God and love our neighbours.

When he was then asked who our neighbours are, he told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The message was quite clear, we are all neighbours and our love should not discriminate.

That’s not a message the Church has been good at preaching or practising over the centuries, but when it comes to LGBT+ equality, it is absolutely the mainstream position of Scottish Christians today.

Contrary to the narrative that "Christian" is the same thing as "socially conservative", when equal marriage was passed into law a decade ago it had the support of a majority of Christians.

Since then support levels have only increased and both the Church of Scotland and Episcopal Churches have begun conducting same-sex marriages, because many LGBT+ people are also people of faith, we’re not mutually exclusive groups. The Kirk has also issued an unconditional apology to the LGBT+ community for the hurt it previously caused.

Most Scottish Christians support LGBT+ equality not in spite of our faith, but because of it.

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Jesus stood with and for the marginalised and excluded. He welcomed the outcasts and the stigmatised. He preached a radical message of liberation. Not once did he say anything in condemnation of LGBT+ people (who certainly existed at the time).

In a society where queer people once again face growing levels of hate and discrimination, I believe that Jesus would stand with those being oppressed.

The debate around the SNP’s leadership election has even caused some to ask whether a person of faith can lead the country at all. As a Christian in politics, I think that question misses the point completely.

You only need to look at the figures leading the renewed campaign of hatred against the whole LGBT+ community – but the trans community in particular – to see individuals who are committed atheists. Those motivated by religion don’t have a monopoly on that agenda any more. Indeed, by all appearances they are a minority within that regressive movement.

Some have unhelpfully suggested that politicians leave our religious beliefs at the door when we’re in Parliament, but how would that work?

The National: Holyrood chamber interior

I care for the planet in large part because of my belief that we are stewards of Creation, gifted it by a loving Creator. That leads me to the same political conclusions as Green colleagues of other faiths and those of no faith, we just took different journeys to get there.

How exactly would the half of Scotland’s population who profess some kind of faith be expected to contribute to public life if we’re banned from considering our own values? You wouldn’t ask an atheist to drop their personal morals off at the door, so why expect people of faith to create an artificial divide in our own heads?

The issue is whether anyone – a person or faith or not – believes that everyone should be treated equally before the law.

I’m proud that my Church, the Kirk, has finally embraced equal marriage, that many of our Ministers now march at Pride and that we support a ban on so-called "conversion therapy".

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However much I disagree with their theology and practices, I understand that other Churches have considered the same issues and come to the opposite conclusion. It should be perfectly possible though, for a politician to say that whilst they don’t think their own Church should conduct same-sex marriages, they also believe that the law should treat everyone equally and therefore would have voted for equal marriage.

Voting for equal marriage in Parliament and against it within your own faith group is an entirely reconcilable position, because Church and State are two different things. Religious groups are voluntary organisations and are quite rightly free to set their own rules. Government and Parliament on the other hand, have a duty to ensure that everyone is treated equally.

I believe in equality because of my Christian faith, not in spite of it. I believe that queer love is equally worthy of celebration, because I follow a God who places love above everything else.

Whether you hold to any faith or none, if you can’t support the right of everyone to live equally under the law and free from discrimination, then you and I have very different visions for Scotland.