Conscience expression 'suppressed'

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Ann Widdecombe was received into the Roman Catholic Church. Ann Widdecombe was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

It is "very difficult" to be an active Christian in modern Britain, former government minister Ann Widdecombe has claimed.

The ex-MP blamed "quite militant secularism" and equality legislation for people feeling they could not express their faith.

She claimed that respect for people's personal views meant people could have been a fascist in post-1945 Britain or a Communist during the Cold War but Christians now had started "suppressing the expression of conscience".

Ms Widdecombe, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1993, said: " Christians now have quite a lot of problems, whether it's that you can't display even very discreet small symbols of your faith at work, that you can't say 'God bless you', you can't offer to pray for somebody, if it's an even bigger stance on conscience that you're taking, some of the equality laws can actually bring you to the attention of the police themselves.

"So I think it is a very difficult country now, unlike when I was growing up, in which to be a Christian, an active Christian at any rate."

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live's Stephen Nolan, the Conservative former politician said a concern about "political correctness" meant people were reluctant to express their faith to others because "they think strong belief offends them".

Christians also faced a "sort of atheism" that "wouldn't once have been said".

There used to be a view that " we've all got freedom of conscience, we've all got freedom of expression", she said.

"In the 1950s when plenty of people had lost lives and limbs and loved ones to the Nazis, it was still possible to be a Nazi in this country.

"When we were engaged in the height of the Cold War, when there were all those weapons lined up on the borders of the Warsaw Pact countries pointing straight at us, you could still, in this country, proclaim yourself as a Communist, you could still stand for Parliament for that matter as a Communist.

"You wouldn't get in but you could stand. You could sell the Morning Star on street corners.

"We have always respected, no matter how strongly we felt as a nation at the time, we've always respected the right of people to their own views and I do feel nowadays as a combination of political correctness and equality law and all the rest of it, we've started suppressing the expression of conscience."

Comments (3)

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8:57am Sun 8 Jun 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

It's not as difficult however, as being transgender and particularly a person who identifies outside of the gender binary in a country where only two gender are legally recognised. Ms Widdecombe should be aware that despite equality legislation there is as of yet no law in this country which legally guarantees the right of freedom of gender identity expression.

She might also like to consider that this means that an employer cannot, for example, stop a Christian wearing a cross to work, or a Muslim wearing a veil but can prevent, fire and simply refuse to hire a man who wears a skirt to work or - as in a recent case with an employee in a high street store - fire a woman simply for not wearing what they consider enough make-up.

1984? Some crossdressers good; some crossdressers bad. Is Ms. Widdecombe fair?;)
It's not as difficult however, as being transgender and particularly a person who identifies outside of the gender binary in a country where only two gender are legally recognised. Ms Widdecombe should be aware that despite equality legislation there is as of yet no law in this country which legally guarantees the right of freedom of gender identity expression. She might also like to consider that this means that an employer cannot, for example, stop a Christian wearing a cross to work, or a Muslim wearing a veil but can prevent, fire and simply refuse to hire a man who wears a skirt to work or - as in a recent case with an employee in a high street store - fire a woman simply for not wearing what they consider enough make-up. 1984? Some crossdressers good; some crossdressers bad. Is Ms. Widdecombe fair?;) Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -1

6:17pm Sun 8 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

Leaves poor old Jock in a quandary if he turns out wearing a kilt then.
Leaves poor old Jock in a quandary if he turns out wearing a kilt then. varteg1
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Sun 8 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

I actually like Anne W, she is intelligent, can be witty, and has principles, I say that as a rabid atheist, anti capitalist, who would never engage her in a debate as to her right to belong to any faith.

I would debate her attachment to her Party, on the basis it is in often violently anti Christian, certainly anti social, also I would debate with her on the existence of the God she apparently worships, but her personal options are hers alone and as long as she doesn't attempt force her beliefs onto a third party..ie Me... I will still like her.
I actually like Anne W, she is intelligent, can be witty, and has principles, I say that as a rabid atheist, anti capitalist, who would never engage her in a debate as to her right to belong to any faith. I would debate her attachment to her Party, on the basis it is in often violently anti Christian, certainly anti social, also I would debate with her on the existence of the God she apparently worships, but her personal options are hers alone and as long as she doesn't attempt force her beliefs onto a third party..ie Me... I will still like her. varteg1
  • Score: 0
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