Today's Press and Journal is running with an exclusive (above are pictures of the Moray edition - thank you, Shuna Dicks!) from their correspondent Cameron Brooks under the headlines "Thousands quit Kirk as gay clergy row rages" and "People walk away from Kirk in droves". Brooks is basing his report on the annual publication of membership statistics for the Kirk as it appears in the Blue Book (the General Assembly Reports book). His article states, "Nearly 50,000 people have abandoned Scotland's national church in just three years."
Reading between the lines, the purpose of this reporting seems to be to gin up "the fight" ahead of the General Assembly and the ongoing debate relating to allowing congregations to call a minister living in a civil partnership should they wish to do so - this report is contained in the Legal Questions Committee, and there is theological support for a mixed economy approach to this issue in a report from the new Theological Commission (a very good report, I thought). The tenor of the P&J's reporting is that the church's deliberations on this are the cause of people walking away in droves from the Kirk. This is a highly distorted view of the reality, and certainly not how I would interpret the data. But then numbers are so easily recruited to one's own prior agenda. What was it that Twain/Disraeli said about "lies, damned lies and statistics"?