BBC host draws backlash for questioning politician if his Catholic faith is a barrier to holding office

(Reuters/Hannah McKay)FILE PHOTO: Conservative Party MP Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Britain October 3, 2017.

BBC host Jo Coburn has drawn backlash after she asked a Conservative Member of the Parliament whether his Catholic faith could be a problem in holding his office.

During an interview on the BBC's Daily Politics program on May 22, Coburn had asked Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg if he would throw his support behind Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is engaged to another woman, for a possible leadership position in the future.

In response, the politician said that he had no problem with Davidson's personal life, but he noted that it would be premature to endorse her for a hypothetical role in the government.

Rees-Mogg further explained that his Catholic faith prevents him from supporting her same-sex marriage.

Coburn then suggested that some people would have a problem with Rees-Mogg's stance while he is holding a government position.

"Can you see that that is a problem for many people if you're going to be a senior politician, that you hold those views about some of your colleagues who want to be married and are gay?" Coburn asked, as reported by Life Site News.

Rees-Mogg insisted that he does not make any criticism of his colleagues and proceeded to ask Coburn if she believes in religious tolerance.

When Coburn said that she did, Rees-Mogg asked her "Why do you pick on the views of the Catholic Church?"

Coburn reiterated that there are some people who might have a problem with the MP's stance.

"You are saying that tolerance only goes so far and you should not be tolerant of the teaching of the Catholic Church, so isn't this stretching into religious bigotry?" Rees-Mogg said in response.

The TV host went on to ask if Rees-Mogg thought that his Catholic faith could present a barrier to holding political office. The Catholic MP maintained that the matter is up for the voters to decide, but he stressed the importance of being honest with voters about his beliefs.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury had criticized the BBC, saying the interview was an indication that the network and its presenters view Catholic beliefs as "being somehow beyond public tolerance."

"It is hard to see this treatment of Catholic politicians as being other than a new bigotry," the bishop further stated, according to Catholic Herald.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley commended Rees-Mogg for calling out the host for "picking" on the Catholic Church.

Last month, Keenan had castigated the BBC over a video that reportedly described the Holy Communion as something that "tastes like cardboard" and "smells like hate."

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