Clearly some churches as a bottom line have an exclusion policy which applies when people have committed criminal offences or have a proven history of violence or dealing in drugs, and their continued presence in church meetings may prove a danger to members. Other than in such extreme cases, banning people from attending public meetings run by a charity is a very difficult thing to justify. There also needs to be policy in place to ensure that if it is practiced, it is done openly and with great care and concern for the person being dealt with.


Otherwise it can very easily become a convenient way for the leadership to get rid of people they find awkward or time consuming; who are only guilty of asking questions, seeing things differently from what the leaders would wish, or talking about things going on in the church that other people know they are not supposed to talk about.


So as a publicly accountable Scottish charity with "the benefit of the public" in their charity objectives, we would invite the SMC leadership to answer the following questions:


  • Have people ever been banned from attending public meetings at SMC?


  • Are all bans permanent or are some temporary?


  • Who has the authority to ban someone? How is that authority given to them?


  • Are the leaders of each church given training on how to operate the SMC banning policy?


  • Does an SMC banning policy document exist so it is done the same way and on the basis of the same offences in each church? If so - are members issued with a copy so they know what the policy is?


  • Can members of the public who are thinking about joining SMC see a copy of that policy before they decide to attend or not?


  • Does each SMC church decide their own banning policy?


  • What conduct has led to people being banned? Would everyone found guilty of this conduct be banned, or just some people?
    • For example, if someone was banned for drinking alcohol and the leader then discovered one of their personal friends in the church also drank - would they then have to be banned as well ? 


  • What is the process by which a leader would be banned, if discovered to have been guilty of the same misconduct as a banned member? Or would that be handled differently?


  • Have children ever been banned from attending public meetings at SMC? How was this ban communicated to their parents?