Controversy over ‘bigot’ award for Cardinal Keith O’Brien
There has been strong reaction after the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, was labelled ‘Bigot of the Year’ by homosexual campaign group Stonewall.
The announcement was made at Stonewall’s annual awards dinner at London’s Victoria & Albert museum.
Cardinal O’Brien wrote an article for The Telegraph earlier this year in which he criticised the government’s plans to redefine marriage.
Prior to the event, corporate sponsors Barclays and Coutts had threatened to withdraw their support for the awards if the ‘bigot’ category was not removed.
The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson won Politician of the Year but was booed by the audience for criticising the bigot award.
Ms Davidson, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to redefine marriage in Scotland, said: “But where I disagree with Stonewall in these awards is the need to call people names like 'bigot'. It is simply wrong.
“The case for equality is far better made by demonstrating the sort of generosity, tolerance and love we would wish to see more of in this world.”
On BBC Good Morning Scotland she added that Stonewall “doesn't do itself any favours” by persisting with the bigot award.
She went on to say: “I think the organisation does much more to advance equality by demonstrating good practice, to celebrate people who have broken new ground, and also by demonstrating the sort of generosity, tolerance and love that as an organisation it wants to see more of in this world.”
John Deighan, the Catholic church’s parliamentary officer for Scotland, also criticised Stonewall for its bigot award, calling it an “outrage” that displayed a lack of judgement.
He said: “Stonewall wants to shut down anyone who doesn't agree with them in the public discourse.”
The Chief Executive of Christian Concern, Andrea Minichiello Williams, commented: “We regard Cardinal Keith O’Brien as a courageous Christian leader who has stood for the truth.
“Neither he nor any faithful Christian is homophobic. Stonewall’s attack on him reveals their contempt and brazen attitude to those who will not capitulate to their agenda”.