Politicians not quite meeting at Christian festival

Paul from Not My Opinion saw some of our ‘second rank’ politicians in action at the GreenBelt Christian Festival. On the whole, he was not convinced that there is much good will (or understanding) towards the ‘other’.


  • WheresMarkRobinson

    Strange article. This piece says Peter Weir was on the panel, but he’s not in the picture on the site. Its a second rate event.

  • Apologies for naming the wrong North Down MLA. No doubt when the DUP and SF share a platform at a first rate event, I’ll be along in a couple of weeks to misidentify them as well 🙂

    Seriously though, talking in any form has to be an improvement over hiding in the toilets to avoid meeting members of another party (like in the bad old days) – even if we were quite some way from a genuine meeting of minds!

  • Occasional Commentator

    What about separation of church and state? Wouldn’t we be better to keep all the politicians away from this narrow-minded event.

    Surely “good will (or understanding) towards the ‘other’” means reaching out to non-Christians. And don’t forget the more secularist Christians and Christians whose politics don’t fall into the stereotypical NI categories.

  • Are you suggesting that any sort of Christian event is “narrowminded”? Or was it just this panel discussion that brought different strands of political opinion together that was narrowminded?

    And what about the separation of church and state? What on earth does that have to do with dialogue between the DUP and SF?

  • Occasional Commentator

    In the context of this blog post (a religious event being attended by politicians) it is narrowminded because it implies that our politicians should be tied to one religious ideology (Christianity with its various factions). Perhaps I shouldn’t refer to the event itself, but instead to the politicians and the blogger.

    Seriously though, no politician in NI should have anything to do with this event (while wearing their politician ‘hat’). Although maybe there’s something to be said for politicians visiting a wide variety of religious and non-religious groups.

    I suppose I’m running out of steam and don’t really have any case here. Maybe I don’t know their intentions, but I wanted to remind everyone that many of us are of the opinion that we need less religion in public affairs, not more.

  • I guess the politicians were trying to get their case across. The event was a panel discussion on Northern Irish politics. The context was a christian arts festival, but they organise events on other issues like social action and justice and globalisation and the environment as well.

    I don’t imagine either politician was specifically endorsing any other event that happened at the festival, any more than the moslem speaker who was talking on media perceptions of Islam was.

    Perhaps you’d agree that there is a place for ethics in public life – maybe you’d even agree that some religions at least some of the time can have something useful to say on ethics (just as secular ideologies, like, er, communism can also contribute to the debate? bad example, perhaps?)

    It seems odd to me to suggest that politicians could somehow be contaminated or brought lower by contact with events run by people of faith.

  • Occasional Commentator

    If an MLA started using the Assembly to preach religion it would be unacceptable. Just like advertising his/her own business in the Assembly would be unacceptable. Religion and politics are all very well, but they shouldn’t be tied together too closely. If politicians, wearing their politician hat, go to a variety of different events (religious, charitable, schools’n’hospitals) speaking politics that might be OK too.

    Some would say sport and politics shouldn’t mix, but they wouldn’t think that they ‘contaminate’ each other, just that they should be kept separate. I don’t believe that religion ‘contaminates’ politicians – just they should be kept separate.

    And ethics and religion don’t go hand in hand. Politicians already know that the lying and corruption are wrong.

    If the politicians talk to each other at any event it’s good. But doing so at a religious event is no different from any other type of event. And if they are discussing theology then it’s not relevant to political progress.

  • pith

    Send all “our” politicians there. If they have to listen to Rock Gospel music then they really will have something to agree about.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    OC, I’m not sure how attending a Christian festival is related to separation of church and state. The latter is about not mixing vested interests in religion and politics, the former can be regarded as something distinct, provided they aren’t requiring attendance by their constituents or pary members.

    I mean, if people could remove politicians for attending this festival, they could remove someone (or at least make it uncomfortable) who was a member of the Irish Humanist Association (or whatever permutation of those three words they’re using now).


    Are you suggesting that any sort of Christian event is “narrowminded”?

    I would have to say yes, until I see evidence to the contrary. Religion is by defintion narrowminded, excluding as it does, logic and evidence in favour of ones preferred analysis, based upon ones own personal beliefs. It doesn’t get anymore narrowminded than that.