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Scotland smacking ban an 'attack on God's authority'

Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) minister Rev Richard Ross said parents and carers should be within their rights to discipline their children with a "gentle" smack.

He said: "Scots law is based on moral law, which is the word of God - and a bill to ban smacking would substitute man's law for God's law.

"Many thousands - perhaps millions - of Scots believe that the scriptures give a good, solid foundation for life, not only for children but for parents.

"As we understand it, the Bill is an open attack on the authority of God to tell us how to live, and it will smash the very foundation of Scottish society."

Rev Ross was addressing a meeting of the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee on the Isle of Skye.

Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

They discussed a proposed new law which would remove the defence of "justifiable assault" for adults who physically discipline their children. It has been tabled by Green MSP John Finnie.

Scottish church leaders are divided over the issue. The Church of Scotland has previously spoken out in favour of a ban, saying it would "offer equal protection to children".

Church of Scotland minister Rev Peter Nimmo of the Church of Scotland said the Bible does not offer a clear stance on smacking.

He added: "We do not use violence against criminals. We do not do it to schoolchildren any longer.

"It seems wrong and strange that we still allow that defence when an act of violence is used against a child within a family."

Ahead of the meeting, Committee Convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said: "The physical discipline of children is an emotive topic. Those we have heard from so far have held varied and often strong opinions.

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