The fallout in Unionist circles following the recent tv programmes featuring interviews with Ian Paisley continues to grow. DUP leader Peter Robinson is now being condemned by Wallace Thompson of the Evangelical Protestant Society for attending the catholic funeral mass for PSNI officer Ronan Kerr. Wallace who was an adviser to former DUP finance minister Nigel Dodds released a statement yesterday.
Todays Nolan show (23/1/14) was at best insightful, at worst on a par with Jerry Springer on a bad day. One contributor not only condemned Peter Robinson for attending the funeral of Ronan Kerr, but stated categorically that First Minister Peter Robinson represented the protestant people of Ulster. This was challenged by presenter Stephen Nolan, who asked did Peter Robinson not represent everyone only to have the caller once again state his belief that Robinson represented the protestant people.
The words that go through your mind when you hear such backward, knuckle dragging thinking wouldn't be fit to print, but sadly show what we as a society are up against. Before I continue I will point out that I'm not bashing anyones religious beliefs, I feel that people should be free to worship how they want to worship, and if someone wants to show support for someone of another faith then it should be welcomed. I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that two UUP members Tom Elliot & Danny Kennedy faced censure by the Orange Order for also attending Ronan Kerr's funeral.
Another name came to mind today in light of the radio show, the name was that of the Rev David Armstrong. In the 1980's Rev Armstrong was forced to flee his parish after receiving loyalist death threats for exchanging Christmas greetings with Catholic parish priest. That was sad enough but in October 2008 six unionist councillors blocked a motion to grant him and Fr Mullan the catholic priest in question the freedom of Limavady.
The fallout within the DUP will continue, but it must not be allowed to spill out into the wider community and polarise people further. More importantly it has to be acknowledged that our society can no longer be seen as catholic and protestant, we are a multi cultural and multi faith society and political leadership should reflect this.
I had finished this piece then on the news I heard about Newtownabbey Council cancelling a theatre performance of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company claiming it was blasphemous and that people might be offended. Maybe I could offer some independent advice if you think you might be offended by something then don't go to it!
The point of all this, if you do want to represent people, I don't care what your faith is, what gender of person you decide to fall in love with or even if you wear women's underwear and your not a woman. Please leave your personal beliefs at the door on the way in, I don't want you to compromise your identity, I don't want you to compromise your beliefs, but I also don't want your beliefs to impinge on my rights.