Former Minister Ann Widdecombe says Christians could face prison for their beliefs
CHRISTIANS could be forced out of job roles in the future because of their beliefs, said a former Conservative minister during a speech in Plymouth.
Politician, novelist and Strictly Come Dancing star Ann Widdecombe told an audience of around 100 people at Plymouth University that she fears for religious freedom in the UK and that Christians are increasingly being marginalised for holding to their faith.
The Roman Catholic convert said: "If you are a Christian then I believe that in the future there will be things that you just will not be able to do.
"It will be nearly impossible to be a registrar as a Christian due to the new gay marriage legislation. And a Christian won't be able to be a teacher in a secular school if they refuse to promote gay marriage and nor can they work as a gynaecologist if they disagree with abortion."
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And Ms Widdecombe believes that there could be severe consequences for those believers who hold firm to their faith convictions.
"I think it could be quite possible that at some stage in the future someone in Britain will be imprisoned for preferring Church dogma to the way of the state."
The 65-year-old said she that she was opposed to the attempt to pass gay marriage into law but knew that some Conservative MPs had voted for the legislation in the Commons despite being personally against it.
"I know of a few that disagreed with gay marriage but voted for it so they could show their support for David Cameron.
"I am very sad that it is a Conservative-led Government driving this legislation through but it is also true that the objections have come mainly from within the Conservative party and there has certainly been a huge backlash in the grassroots of the party.
"This is Cameron's personal campaign – I know that."
During the 30-minute speech the former MP for Maidstone and The Weald explained, despite the Church of England and the Catholic church's objections, she felt those who opposed gay marriage had failed to make themselves properly visible.
"Over 200,000 people marched on the streets of London when Labour wanted to bring in the fox hunting ban – how come there wasn't that kind of reaction speaking out for our religious freedom?
"If we actually saw 100,000 Christians on the streets protesting like other organisations do then you might actually see us being listened to.
"The reason why governments keep on producing legislation which impacts heavily on Christians is because they do not think we matter very much."