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Will Young: Clergy who call same-sex marriage 'abhorrent' should be jailed

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Celebrity singer Will Young has suggested that clergy should be put in jail for speaking out too strongly against same-sex marriage.

In a discussion on legalising same-sex marriage on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ last week, the gay singer expressed his conviction that criticism of the Government’s plans was ‘homophobic’.

As Daily Mail Columnist Janice Atkinson voiced fears that religious leaders opposed to carrying out the ceremony at their places of worship might be accused of “hate crimes” and face imprisonment, Young energetically shouted “Yes!”

Debate

Church of England lawyers have raised concerns that the introduction of same-sex marriage could lead to vicars being sued under equality legislation if they refused to marry same-sex couples.

Janice Atkinson, who is not religious, voiced her fears about this on the programme:

“In this country we also have something called a hate crime. If this goes through, what happens to those imams, the priests and the vicars, if they turn around and say no, this is wrong? This is abhorrent? ... then they could be called into a police station,” she said.

To which Young replied “Yes, rightfully so!”

Young was supported by an audience member who said that every Catholic bishop who stood up in church to disagree with same-sex marriage was guilty of a hate crime.

Free Speech

Some Christians have become fearful of expressing their beliefs in public. There have been a significant number of cases of Christians being penalised for their faith, particularly at work.

These include David Booker, who was suspended from work for talking about church teachings on homosexuality during a private conversation with a colleague; and Adrian Smith, a housing manager from Manchester, who was demoted and had his salary cut significantly by his employers after he questioned same-sex marriage on his private facebook page, out of working hours.

Comment

Freedom of speech was defended on the programme however by Conservative MP Eric Pickles, who asserted that:

“It would be sad if we used [same-sex marriage] as a way of oppressing free speech. I don’t agree with the Cardinal, but I think he’s got a perfect right to speak from his pulpit.”

“Goodness sake, for merely expressing it is wrong in view of his religion, to turn that into a hate crime would be the worst kind of repression.”

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“People have historically moved to this country because of our tolerance and freedoms, but this reputation is fading fast. Freedom of belief must be robustly defended.”

“I would encourage all Christians to be unafraid of sharing their faith at all times.”

Source

BBC Question Time Clip

Resources

Christian Concern: Religious Freedom

Christian Concern: Sexual Orientation

 

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