Video: Cardinal scoffs at Labour plea for faith voters

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has slammed attempts by the Labour Government’s Scottish Secretary to court religious voters.

Watch a BBC report on the story

Cardinal Keith O’Brien attacked the Westminster Government’s record on religious liberty, homosexual adoption and civil partnerships.

He said the Government had “ignored” the views of the Roman Catholic Church.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy spoke to a Labour think-tank yesterday encouraging the party to “reflect and respect” the values of faith voters.

In a written version of the speech released to newspapers he said: “Faith voters massively outweigh ‘Motorway Men’ or ‘Worcester Woman’, or any other trendy demographic group identified by marketeers”.

“Our lead among them in 2005 needs to be replicated in the coming election – and it will be if we reflect and respect their values and aspirations in our policies, as I believe we should”, he added.

Mr Murphy was also set to claim the Bible gave Labour the “intellectual legitimacy to challenge the old orders”.

He commented: “As David said in Psalm 9, ‘the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble'”.

But Cardinal O’Brien said the country has witnessed a “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values” under this Government.

He added: “When introducing legislation to permit experimentation on and destruction of human embryos, the objections of the Church and other faiths were ignored.

“When introducing legislation to permit civil partnerships and same-sex adoption, the objections of the Church and other faiths were ignored.

“In refusing to tackle the soaring toll of abortions, the views of the Church and other faiths were ignored.

“Most recently, in advancing legislation which would completely and permanently undermine religious freedom, this Government has taken no note whatsoever of the concerns of people of faith.”

Labour has recently come under heavy fire for its Equality Bill which was set to restrict churches’ liberty in employment.

In January however the Government was defeated over the plans and the freedom of churches to employ people who live lives consistent with the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics remains.

Following legislation in 2007 a number of Roman Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close down or ditch their religious ethos because of their beliefs on sexual ethics.

In 2008 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was passed. This allowed for the creation of animal-human embryos and so-called saviour sibings.

Civil Partnerships were made legal in the UK in 2005 and there are now attempts to allow the unions to take place in religious buildings.

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