Senior bishops have warned that the freedom of Christians to express their beliefs is being eroded following the introduction of equality laws.
In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, prominent clerics, including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, argue that supporters of homosexual rights must not be allowed to “coerce silence”.
Their comments centre on a landmark legal challenge by a churchgoing couple who were banned by a council from becoming foster parents because they believed homosexuality was unacceptable.
The bishops claim that the case, which is expected to begin at the High Court this week, will determine whether Christians can continue to be express their beliefs in this country.
They fear that the ruling has the potential to exclude people of faith from adopting or fostering children and enshrine the discrimination of those with traditional Biblical views.
It is the latest case to test how recently-introduced gay equality laws impinge on the rights of Christians to act according to their conscience.
“On Monday the High Court is to be asked to rule on whether Christians are ‘fit people’ to adopt or foster children – or whether they will be excluded, regardless of the needs of children, from doing so because of the requirements of homosexual rights,” the letter says.
“A commitment to respecting conscience is the essence of civil liberty.
“The supporters of homosexual rights cannot be allowed to suppress all disagreement or disapproval and ‘coerce silence’.” Read in full at the Telegraph by clicking here.