Now John Maclean turned his back on the Original Secession Church of his parents.. He got involved in the secular, ecumenical Pollokshaws Union. And later the early Marxian inclined organisation, the Social Democratic Federation.
But Gerry Cairns points out in his recent biography of Maclean that "You could take the boy out of a Presbyterian church but you couldn't take the Presbyterian out of the boy."
Maclean had rejected organised religion but he didn't leave behind the ethics and morality he had learned. A sense of conscience and standards of behaviour mattered to him. And they would infuse his teaching and politics.
Indeed Maclean was interviewed by a friend Daniel MacDougall for a character album. Maclean listed his heroes as John Ball, Socrates and Jesus. As Gerry Cairns writes, "the gentle Christ still played a part in inspiring Maclean." Christ recurs again and again in Maclean's speeches and is to the fore in reflections throughout his life.
*From talk to SRSM political education session on "Liberation Theology."