Free Church of Scotland condemns 'anti-Christian intolerance' towards Kate Forbes

(Photo: Scottish Parliament)

The level of "anti-Christian intolerance" shown to SNP leadership contender Kate Forbes is "lamentable", the Free Church of Scotland has said.

The Scottish finance minister has been attacked over her traditionalist views on same-sex marriage as well as other issues like abortion since launching her campaign to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the SNPs. 

Forbes belongs to the Free Church of Scotland, which holds to a Biblical view of marriage and sexuality.

The 32-year-old has been open about the fact that she shares these beliefs, saying in a media interview that she would have voted against same-sex marriage when it was approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2014.

Despite the intense pressure and losing some backers, she has refused to apologise for her views.

In a statement, the Free Church of Scotland condemned the "anti-Christian" attacks on her beliefs and said that they revealed "a level of bigotry that has no place in a pluralistic and diverse society". 

"As a nationwide denomination the Free Church of Scotland is composed of people from all political persuasions, some of whom will not share Kate's politics, particularly over an independent Scotland. Regardless of these differences, Kate is highly respected within the church as a skilful, hard working and competent MSP," the Church said in a statement.

"Furthermore, she is consistent about what she believes, irrespective of the consequences, a quality which makes for an honest politician.

"The issues raised by Kate Forbes' intention to run as SNP leader have displayed a level of intolerance that we believe is uncharacteristic of the wider ordinary Scottish population, and indeed does not represent authentic Scottish identity which is historically grounded on hard work, common sense, respect, truthfulness and the family.

"It is lamentable that Kate's honest adherence to simple traditional values would, for some, disqualify her from contributing to the public good of Scotland.

"The Free Church of Scotland is concerned at the level of anti-Christian intolerance which has been displayed on social media, and by some political and media commentators.

"Kate Forbes is standing on the basis of her policies – the fact that she is being criticised for her Christian convictions shows a level of bigotry that has no place in a pluralistic and diverse society."