Irish Politician Accused of Inciting Violence Against Gays for Saying Homosexuality is Wrong

By Elizabeth O’Brien

  BELFAST, Northern Ireland, May 30, 2007 ( - Irish Democrat Ian Paisley Jr. is being investigated for a "breach of his ministerial pledge of office" over statements against homosexuality. Paisley told HotPress magazine, "I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and - without caring about it - harm society." He continued, "That doesn’t mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what they do" according to an Ireland On-line report.

  While homosexual activists groups and those among his fellow politicians are accusing him of inciting violence, in his statements, Paisley does make the important distinction between the homosexual person and the homosexual act. He indicates the importance of condemning homosexual behavior as unnatural and harmful to both the person and society, but also points out that people must give homosexual persons full respect.

  In June 2003, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, explained Church teaching on this issue. The document shows the importance of the distinction between the person and the act, saying men and women with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided". They are called, says the document, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however "objectively disordered" and homosexual practices are "sins gravely contrary to chastity". (See Vatican Document

  As Junior Minister of the Democratic Unionist Party, Paisley has been requested to publicly apologize for his statements. MLA Martina Anderson, representative from the Sinn Fein said, "Whatever about his personal beliefs, the fact is that he now has ministerial responsibility for this issue…Ian Paisley Jr should withdraw these comments and apologise… They feed into the attitudes that fester and lead to homophobic violence." 

  According to The Independent the political party Sinn Fein is accusing Paisley of upholding a "dangerous homophobia" that contradicts the work of his own office, and thus, the republicans in the coalition government with the DUP may yet examine Paisley to see whether his words have "breached in his ministerial pledge of office."

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