Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Do we need more Christians in Politics?

On BBC Spotlight last night, the Environment Minister Edwin Poots, asserted that he believed more Christians need to get involved with politics. The minister was responding to a question from the audience which asked whether Christians were being unfairly persecuted by legislation, in particular the recent decision to reject a Christian couple from fostering a child because of their strong belief that homosexuality is a sin and something that needs to be cured.

Mr Poots said that he believed Christians were being persecuted and being denied the right to practice their faith by, what he termed; 'silly liberal laws'. The minister apparently believes that the only way to address this perceived persecution is for more Christians to be involved in the decision making process.  One can fairly assume from this that Mr Poots feels that Christians are currently under represented in Politics.

Well, I disagree. For one, his party's MLA's, MP's and candidates for Assembly in May have or will at some point made reference to their Christianity, their church or even their Orange order membership. The UUP are not quite as big on pointing out their Christian credentials but they're not far behind. On the other side the fence, separation of church and state is more evident but there is still no shortage of Christians. That is how it should be, Mr Poots, not your way. There is nothing wrong with being a Christian but there is everything wrong with trying to impress your religious beliefs on others and it is abominable to do it through legislation.

Dawn Purvis provided an excellent answer to this question when she said that the freedom to practice religion must not prove detrimental to the rights of others. The couple who were denied the opportunity to foster were not, at any point, denied their right to practice their faith. What they were denied was the opportunity to push their faith on someone else, in particular, an impressionable child. This isn't a silly liberal law, this is protecting the rights of those who need the most protection.

On a final note, for Edwin Poots to moan about state interference is quite simply laughable. Almost to a man, his party opposes relaxation of Sunday Trading laws. Apparently, it's fine for the state to interfere when it's about keeping Sunday free for church.


  1. I thought David Ford who is himself a Christian gave the strongest response to the question.

  2. He did give a very good and balanced response, but I thought Dawn Purvis provided a more comprehensive answer to the question.

  3. I thought that Mr. Poots was a sycophant, a trait of politicians in the build up to elections and a trait of the DUP at most times in-between. Mr. Ford & Ms. Purvis gave educated responses and it was obvious they understood what the judgement was trying to achieve.

    The answer from Ms. Purvis was not much of a surprise because Dawn has always expressed her opinion in an honest and truthful way even if it is not what the listener wants to hear. Telling someone what they need to hear and not what they want to hear is a strong leadership, it might cost you votes but at least you can hold your head high.

    To have a mix of church and state cannot work if a pluralist society is the goal, too many conflicts of interests would mnddy progress.

  4. Steve; spot on. That's what I meant by more comprehensive. While David Ford was correct he didn't touch on the root cause of the problem - that of supposedly secular politicians forgetting what that word means.