Where Peter Robinson feels at home – by Brian John Spencer

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It would have been hypocritical for Peter Robinson not to have backed Pastor McConnell. He’s right at home.

If people are shocked, it just shows how the DUP has conned people.

It’s not a reformist, post-Troubles party; it’s a Cold-war era free Presbyterian sect that passes for a political party. Not only are there Catholics and commies under the bad, now there are “Moslems”.

This is the politics of fear, not hope. The language of pogroms. Words not even Nigel Farage would utter. These are the words, at a stretch, of some ailing, crack-pot Tory backbencher – who if he did say them, would get booted into political oblivion. i.e. summarily sacked.

This is the DUP’s world. Politics of isolation, absolutism, religious certainty and threats, As Daniel Finn said:

“In British political terms, the DUP slots in between the right of the Tory Party and the BNP.”

They make a mockery of British democracy and a parody of Britishness. As Brigid Brophy said in the Spectator:

“The Northern Irish have indeed made themselves less and less like the British of the mainland by refusing to move on with the mainlanders from a merely numerical towards a tolerant conception of democracy.”

It’s not a Lockean democracy of religious freedom and enlightenment, but a party that will put flags before food, side with angry loyalist street protesters confronting the PSNI.

Again, this is the DUP’s world, not the western world we know and of which want to be part.

The world is opening up. We want to be part of that. Open for business. Open for immigration. Open for religious pluralism. Open for homosexuals. Open for a mixed economy.

Peter Robinson has sent out a message that we’re closed to Muslims.

This is anti-economy. Not only will it effect investment, it marks us out as intolerant and religious weirdos.

It’s long past high time we said that we did not want to be ruled, never mind associated with this sort of religious madness. We don’t want creationists doling out policy, religious prohibitionists drafting legislation. We don’t want society stultified and insulted by this hysterical garbage.

Robinson says that Pastor McConnell is right to decry false doctrines.

What’s next: the decrying of Catholics? By backing Pastor McConnell, Robinson has not only backed racism by his failure to unequivocally condemn racist attacks, but has now licensed the exclusion of religious minorities.

Fear is not a policy, it’s an alibi for lack of policy and vision.

Peter Robinson isn’t a leader, he’s an alibi and a excuse for unionism’s abject failure.

The Union will be saved with an “unremittingly” and “unrelentingly positive” case for the union, as David Cameron has repeatedly said. Once again Peter Robinson and the DUP make the “unremittingly” and “unrelentingly” negative case for the Union.

Where McGuinness’s handshake has deprived unionism’s hostility of its substance, Peter Robinson and the DUP continue to feed discontentment with the Union with Britain.

Shame on unionism which has facilitated years of loyalist hysteria, a dangerously false grievance narrative and a near-two year campaign of hostility on the streets.

Now we can say, shame on unionism for backing a religious leader and islamophobia over tolerance and religious pluralism.

This is really dangerous. This is but a further move to deceive, manipulate and propagandise impressionable loyalists. I’ll say it again, like I did last time: those who believe absurdities may take this further.

This sort of religious demagoguery needs repudiated, for the local sake – before this gets worse, for the international sake – before Northern Ireland unionism gets marked off as a pariah in the global community.

We want a naked public square – a wall of Separation between church and state. We have had enough years of terrorism and sectarianism.

Time to get tough on these religious loud mouths.


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About Author

Brian is a writer, artist and law graduate.


  1. Jeremy Cooke on

    Touch presumptuous I think – who is this “we” of whom you speak? I may agree with some of what you say but I’m dammed if I agreed to allow you to speak on my behalf.

  2. On Wednesday night’s Nolan show Pastor McConnell told the British Muslim speaker that he should ‘go back to Britain’. What, he couldn’t really have said something so stupid – but he did!

    And this is the poor ignorant fool that our First Minister gives his full backing to, on the basis of 20 years of friendship.

    Pete, in all that time did you never twig on to the fact that he was so uneducated or silly, but dangerous?

    Of course we had virtually the front bench of the DUP queuing up to lionise him as well. Though when you realise that half of them think the world is only 6,000 years old, how can you take them seriously or have a sensible debate with them?

    It must be so embarrassing for sensible Protestants to listen to ‘their’ spokesmen. But then how can they stand up to people who demand the right to be rude and ignorant to those with whom they differ, without accepting the right of anyone else to disagree or argue with them?

    • In the interests of fairness it was an UUP council candidate and not pastor McConnell who told him to go back to Britain.

  3. If you disagree he’s not speaking on your behalf Jeremy, I think you are being a touch facetious.

    What we (me, my mates and anyone else who might agree with my leftist sensibilities) need is to re-engage those who came out to vote for the agreement but haven’t since. It’s that important again. I mean, a man who believes the world is 5000 years old runs our health service.

  4. So the solution to lumping all people of a religious persuasion under one hate-filled pejorative term (a la James McConnell) is to tar all evangelical Christians with the same brush and call for their exclusion from public life?

    I’m an conservative evangelical pastor, who has sincerely held convictions based on historic, Reformed principles of biblical hermeneutics. Such convictions might prevent me from going along with the zeitgeist on a range of social and moral issues, but the prejudicial language of your article suggests that I and any like me ought to be now banished from public discourse. Such is the sense of tolerance in your article, and it falls short of how my faith informs tolerance. Europe, as you say might be opening up, but your article does not give voice to true equality.

    I abhor what James McConnell said, and the way he said it. I’m appalled that a senior politician would be so foolish and partisan to side with an anti-Islamic diatribe. Their actions strike a blow to the integration into our society that any ethnic or religious group deserves. And their words strike a blow to free speech.

    But this article simply freeloads on those issues by pushing arbitrary and jaundiced labels on to all creationists/evangelicals. You are distrustful of my ideological perspective and want it removed from public debate and policy. I wonder if you’d trust me to go to the shops for you?

    Your reference to homosexuality in this article is at best arbitrary. Which set of rights would you wish to champion, those of the same-sex marriage lobby or those of Islam? You surely can see the conflicts between both minoroties. The impoverished view of tolerance in this article is not large enough to accommodate both. And it is certainly not generous enough to accommodate the likes of me.

  5. I’m a Christian myself, but there are things I understand.

    First of all, there’s no point asking me to leave my Bible at the door before I come in, because it’s on my phone 😀 However, it’s about what I do with it.

    Every Muslim I have ever known, and I have to admit to only having had one or two proper friends who happened to be Muslims that I can remember, has been a decent ordinary person who is as much of a threat to me and everyone else in Northern Ireland as the next white Westerner (a little ironic, really.)

    More seriously, I think of my friend Jawad whom I haven’t seen for many years. He’s a good lad, loves Belfast, attends Friday prayers every week, dreams of Hajj to Mecca (he may well have made it by now – more than once). Knows something about being friends.

    He also understands that he and I belong to religions that both claim to have the whole truth about God. At least one of us has to be wrong.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other as friends and each other’s right to have our beliefs. The same goes for any Muslim I meet – I will assume in the absence of other evidence that I should treat them with the same trust or mistrust as any other human.

    That especially applies in a work context. I don’t care what the other person doing the same job as me is, in terms of gender, sexuality, colour, religion, or pretty much anything else. All I care is that they know what they’re doing or are there to learn, can preferably teach me a thing or two too, and ideally they make good work friends. That’s all that matters.

    I did just say that I believe that Christianity has the whole truth about God. Well, maybe not really, because the argument is that we know just enough to be getting along with.

    On the other hand, that “just enough” contradicts the beliefs of other religions. That should concern Christians, because if we’re right we should want others to join us.

    However, we have to be careful how we do it. Preaching on how awful another religion is can lead to dehumanisation of its followers, and self-righteousness about ourselves. We have no right to that, and as soon as you treat people as though you are better than them or their beliefs are worthless, you lose the ability to witness to what you believe is the truth.

    It also misses a massive point. We should never say “You should be a Christian because all those religions are worthless.” Rather, we should say “You should be a Christian because of Jesus and what we believe he has done” – let the gospel speak for itself. Of course, there is always what St Paul did in Athens, where he noticed something about their religion (the altar to the unknown God) and using it as a hook without denigrating it or the Athenians’ beliefs. His integrity was untouched, and his witness strengthened (and I saw an excellent blog post about this the other day.) Christianity should be able to stand on its own without needing to push others down to stand out.

    Christians don’t so much have a right as an obligation. To live with respect for others, including their right to disagree with us. To honour them. To live lives that witness to God by how we love, not by how we condemn. To love unconditionally and make people wonder “Hang on, there is nothing in this for them. What is going on? What makes them different?” or even “That guy knows he’s a hypocrite, and he doesn’t hide it, instead apologising for it. What’s happening?”

  6. McConnell 4 PM on

    How can it be a “free Presbyterian sect” when its leader isn’t even Free Presbyterian? Have you actually looked at the quite diverse range of denominations as members? The DUP, out of all, has the greatest chance to unite people in Northern Ireland under a strong local Christian Democrat party that supports the traditional family-friendly cultural values that make Northern Ireland a great place. Cultural and moral relativism does not create a cohesive healthy society and does not work. Even Cameron has stated that the “UK is a Christian country” and Merkel that “multiculturalism has failed”

    It is people like Spencer who are out of touch, and would do better to stay mum for a while after the poor election result for local “liberal” parties. And no, the legacy Cold War really is not over until the warped metamorphosed cultural Marxism of the useful idiots like Spencer is fully purged. The same goes for the “nationalist” parties who have nothing in common with any Catholic Christian values, and everything to do with old fashioned hard-line Marxism which the rest of the West got rid of some time ago (with quite a lot of the “PC” modern cultural type thrown in too).

    I’m also trying to find that quote in the Spectator. Must not be recent, as currently there is an article from a southern Irish Catholic (who has in the past written numerous articles highly biased against and critical of Unionism as one would expect) in praise of Robinson sticking the fingers to the PC Brigade in a manner only an Ulster Protestant could do.

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