John Urquhart Cameron

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John Urquhart Cameron
Born (1943-06-10)June 10, 1943
Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
Occupation journalist, scientist and churchman
Language English
Nationality British
Citizenship British
Spouse Jill Cameron, née Sjoberg (1970-present)
Children 2

John Urquhart Cameron (born 1943) is a distinguished academic and social reformer and a former parish minister of the Church of Scotland. He met and married the Anglo-Swedish skier Jill Sjoberg when he was a marketing executive with GlaxoSmithKline in London and they have a daughter Clare and a son Alex.

Biography[edit]

Cameron was born in Dundee, Scotland. He is the eldest son of Alexander Cameron, a miner who went up from the West-Central coalfields to Glasgow University to read Divinity in the depths of the Depression. After serving as an army padre throughout World War II, he returned to the coalfields as the parish minister of Slamannan where he was for many years a Labour Party councillor in local government in Stirlingshire. His maternal grandfather, Hugh Urquhart, was a leading Scottish railway engineer in the early decades of the 20th century.

He was educated at Falkirk High School and at Pomona College in California, St Andrews University and Edinburgh University. He holds a PhD in both Physics and Theology.

During his time in California he attended lectures given at Caltech by the great theoretical Physicist Richard Feynman. The Nobel Laureate's third wife, Gwyneth Howarth, was a distant relative of Cameron and the two men became friends, remaining close until Feynman's death in 1989. Cameron and another friend and associate of Feynman, Freeman Dyson, later became leading critics of the Global Warming hypothesis popularized by Al Gore.

Cameron was an outstanding athlete and was selected for the Scottish international athletics team while he was still at school and later gained one of the first American sports scholarships awarded to a Scottish runner. After the Tokyo Olympics he turned to golf, playing for St Andrews University in the 1960s and Edinburgh University in the 1970s before becoming a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

Following his time with GlaxoSmithKline in London he entered the Church of Scotland ministry. He was parish minister of Broughty Ferry for thirty five years during which time he also taught religious studies at the High School of Dundee. At other times during his career he lectured in Physics and Mathematics at Napier University, Dundee University and Abertay University.

A member of a distinguished extended family of journalists which included James Cameron he wrote articles for The Courier, The Scotsman, The Good Ski Guide, The Good Holiday Magazine and The Scottish Review. He was also a senior chaplain for many years in the Royal Naval Reserve and later padre to the Black Watch

He is best known as the leading social reformer among the Scottish clergy and has often collaborated with the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance of Princeton University to address some of the most controversial topics of the day. He has been a powerful advocate and supporter of same-sex marriage,[1] ordination of gay clergy, the right to physician assisted suicide, women’s right to choose[2] and the decriminalisation of narcotics.[3][4][5]

He joined Torrance and Dr Jim Swire to launch the initial campaign for the retrial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi the Libyan controversially convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing. His highly critical report of the scientific and forensic evidence presented at the trial in The Hague marked a water-shed in the Scottish public's attitude to Megrahi.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Intemperate words by Michael Alexander in The Courier March 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Abortion time limit debated in General Assembly by Gordon Dean in the Scotsman May 25, 1988.
  3. ^ Call for hard drug legalisation by Jonathon Petre, Daily Telegraph, May 28, 1980.
  4. ^ Legalise Dope Call Sparks Storm in Kirk Assembly by Rob Fairbairn in The Sun May 22, 1990.
  5. ^ US Drug Prohibition Methods Condemned by Christopher Reekie in the Scotsman May 23, 1993.
  6. ^ Jeans, Chris. The Case of the Lockerbie Bomber. Al Jazeere documentary, June 2011.