More than 1000 priests have written to The Daily Telegraph today, accusing the Prime Minister of trampling religious freedom. David Cameron’s proposed legalisation of gay marriage will push Catholics back into their place as a persecuted minority, the clerics warn.
The priests,and bishops and abbots who also signed the letter to the editor, claim that gay marriage, together with equalities laws and other legal restraints, will prevent Catholics and other Christians who work in schools, charities and other public bodies speaking freely about their beliefs on the meaning of marriage.
They have a point: the Prime Minister, in his rush to please the equalities lobby, resembles Henry VIII in his rush to marry Anne Boleyn: both men are ready to sacrifice freedom of conscience at the altar of their personal ambition. Once gay marriage is a law, and with hate crimes already on the statute books, Catholics will be barred from many professions — just as they were from the Reformation until the 19th Century.
The teacher who cannot in good faith teach that homosexual marriages are the moral equivalent of heterosexual marriages; the counsellor who wants to “help” the gay who questions his sexuality, the adoption agency that will not let gay married couples adopt orphans: all risk losing their jobs if they follow their conscience.