The Catholic Church has accused the SNP of showing “open and vicious hostility” towards pro-life MP and MSPs.
Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office in Scotland, accused the party of actively seeking to discriminate against politicians based on their pro-life and religious convictions.
Earlier this year, Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, received death threats just days after she voted against a Bill that would have banned pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics.
Mr Horan said Dr Cameron received “a significant degree of virtual and actual hostility for her belief in the right to life of the unborn, including calls by some for her deselection”.
Mr Horan also voiced concern over recent reports suggesting that “religious affiliation, pro-life beliefs and the belief that gender is not fluid and changeable may lead to some individuals being excluded from the SNP candidate selection process ahead of next year’s Scottish parliament elections”.
“If true, this would undermine entirely Ms Sturgeon’s claim that diversity of belief was something the SNP was ‘proud of’,” Mr Horan told The Times.
“It may be that in SNP branches officials are prepared to discriminate against and disadvantage their party colleagues solely on the basis of their religious belief, their belief in the right to life of every human being or on their beliefs about biological sex.
“They may not be aware that they are acting in direct conflict with the position of their party, as expressed by their party leader.”
Mr Horan insisted that it is of “paramount importance” that all parties respect the right to freedom of conscience in their candidate selection process for May’s election, and that “a diversity of views is not simply tolerated, but welcomed, including the belief in the dignity of human life in the womb and the right to disagree with transgender ideology”.
Michael Robinson, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s “(SPUC) Director of Communications, said: “The realisation that the SNP is now an anti-life party, which actively seeks to discriminate against Christians and especially Catholics, even within its own party, is becoming clear as it sets itself against unborn children.
“As Mr Horan indicates, the SNP is solidifying itself as Scotland’s premier anti-life and anti-Christian party.”
An SNP spokesman told The Times: “We are proud of the diversity in our party and no-one is failed at assessment because of their religious views.”
Picture: SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. (Jane Barlow/PA).