This is the latest in a long series of murals to appear outside St John’s Church in Edinburgh. Positioned at the corner of Lothian Road and Princes Street, the church and its paintings are a memorable sight for anyone who has lived in, or visited the city.
I’m not quite sure what Ahmadinejad is doing in the picture. I think maybe he is walking towards the table that Rev Paisley and Mr Adams have already reached.
It is because of places like St John’s that I can never quite get behind the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens as they denounce religion. These authors rail against the intolerance and the dogma of religion… but the people who run St John’s church seem to be of a different ilk. When they campaign, their objections are not related to heavenly crimes like blaspheme, but against more human ills such as poverty and injustice. And where some fundamentalists encourage a divisive mentality, St John’s is a centre for interfaith dialogue and multiculturalism. It has a Fair Trade café, a bookshop, and a hall for meetings. It is a place where civil society actually happens.