Paisley and forgiveness

Language and its use are of course vitally important in politics. Variations in how people use language are often instructive. The change in language by the DUP has of course been breath taking. I can well remember people like Ian Paisley saying “Never” and William McCrea telling us that forgiveness can and should only be granted if people repent of their past wrong doings. This is inspired by a religious position common amongst fundamentalists. In this context the recent remarks by Dr. Paisley in the debate on victims with him apparently replying to Naomi Long that he hoped people would be “soft enough to forgive, but wise enough not to be taken in” are very surprising and instructive. To suggest victims forgive without the repentance of the perpetrators (if that is what Paisley is suggesting) is an interesting new departure in Paisley’s ethical analysis, and seems to suggest a very different world view to that which Paisley used to hold. Unless that is Paisley now regards Adams’s self proclaimed “regret” over these actions as constituting real repentance. That also would be an interesting new position for him; one which not all the victims and their relatives would agree with. Of course the second part of the sentence is also interesting; is Paisley wise enough not to be taken in? Again that suggestion will probably produce very different opinions.