Church leaders in Aberdeen are among hundreds from across the UK who have written to the Prime Minister urging him not to introduce vaccine passports.
Issuing members of the public with certification showing they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is being considered as a possible way of reopening society quicker while also minimising the spread of the disease.
However, the government has faced criticism on the issue, with a number of MPs describing the issue as “discriminatory” against those who may be unwilling or unable to have the jag.
Now nearly 1,000 Christian leaders from across the country have written to Boris Johnson urging him not to pursue the “dangerous” policy.
The signatories include senior figures from a number of churches in Aberdeen, including Grace Baptist Church, Deeside Christian Fellowship and Trinity Church.
John-William Noble, the pastor at Grace Baptist Church, described the possible introduction of vaccine passports as “totalitarian”.
“Following the success of our legal campaign challenging the disproportionate ban of church gatherings in Scotland by the Scottish Government, it is now necessary to articulate in clear and no uncertain terms that it is also not the place of our government to say who can and cannot enter a place of worship,” he said.
“As a church leader, I have a responsibility to shepherd the souls of my congregation, and that is defined by God’s Word, not their vaccination status.
“I also welcome all people to enter through our doors to hear the life-saving message of the Gospel, but what I do not welcome is this totalitarian measure that further threatens the very freedoms our democratic land has been blessed to enjoy for many centuries.”
The letter, which was co-ordinated by a number of Christian leaders from across the country, reads: “We risk creating a two-tier society, a medical apartheid in which an underclass of people who decline vaccination are excluded from significant areas of public life.
“There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge leading to a permanent state of affairs in which Covid vaccine status could be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment and perhaps even other criteria beyond that.
“This scheme has the potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy as we know it and to create a surveillance state in which the government uses technology to control certain aspects of citizens’ lives.
“As such, this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics.”
The UK Government published a review of its route out of lockdown last week, and included an update on its policy on vaccine passports.
In the document, it said: “The Government believes that Covid-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.
“Equally, the Government wants to be sure that the benefits of any such approach are fully interrogated in public debate and that the deliverability of Covid-status certification is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that Covid-status certification would have across different settings.
“We will continue to gather evidence on the extent to which Covid-status certification is an effective measure to control the epidemic and reduce hospitalisations and deaths.”