More than 1,200 church ministers in the UK have urged PM Boris Johnson not to introduce coronavirus vaccine certificates, saying they are an “unethical form of coercion”.
In an open letter, Anglican and Catholic ministers warned passports could create a “surveillance state”.
A government review is looking into whether people should have to prove they have been vaccinated.
The UK equality watchdog said passports could create a “two-tier society”.
Government ministers have said that certificates would allow people to show if they have been vaccinated, had a negative test or had natural immunity from a confirmed infection in the previous six months.
As restrictions ease, certificates could play a role in reopening theatres, nightclubs and mass events like festivals, plus allow social distancing to be relaxed in hospitality venues, the government has said.
But in the letter to the prime minister, church ministers warned that introducing the passports would create a “medical apartheid”.
“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,” the letter states.
“As such, this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics.”
The ministers said that, regardless of the government’s final decision, they would not refuse entry to their churches to anybody without a vaccine passport – or any other certificate which they have labelled “proof of health”.
The government’s suggestion of vaccine certificates has united MPs from all sides of the Commons, with No 10 facing criticism from those in both Conservative and opposition parties.
More than 70 MPs railed against the plan earlier this month, arguing that demanding medical proof in order to take part in local community life, such as going to the pub, was discriminatory and divisive.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “very worried” vaccine passports could lead to discrimination against people who have not received a jab.
And Tory MP Steve Baker labelled such certificates a “ghastly trap” that unfairly penalise those advised not to have a vaccine.