This week has seen Nationalist politicians falling over themselves to condemn Ulster Unionist peer Ken Maginnis and DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots as homophobic bigots.
Maginnis on the Nolan show opposed gay-marriage and referred to homosexuality as deviant behaviour although he tempered his argument by saying “If my next-door neighbour is homosexual, I will treat him with the same day-to-day respect as I will treat the neighbour on the other side.”
The Audio Boo can be heard here.
“The attitudes contained within this survey, so frighteningly personified by Ken Maginnis’s startlingly offensive expressions of archaic ignorance on the Nolan Show this morning, are a timely reminder that a resilient residue of prejudice remains in our society. It should be named for what it is – bigotry.
The Republican Network for Unity Tweeted: “Ken McGuinness is a Backward, narrow-minded imbecile. The LGB community thankfully have rights, rights that RNU will support.”
Sinn Fein`s Phil Flanagan Tweeted “Ken Maginnis is a dinosaur. Comparing homosexuality with beastiality. Unnatural and deviant practices he says. Sigh!”
The SDLP`s Claire Hanna Tweeted “especially depressing Nolan Show this morning. Impressive contributions from John O’Doherty of Rainbow. Shame on Maginness, dark ages stuff”
Kieron McGuire retweeted by Sinn Fein`s Conor Maskey “Scandulous take from UUP on issue of gay marriage & this is who the stoops want to go into opposition with! #shame”
Yet the striking thing is that these largely Roman Catholic politicians, even when asked, fail to condemn the Catholic church for the very same views. I queried the majority of the above as well as several other Sinn Fein politicians (who had made similar comments on Twitter) as to their silence regarding the Roman Catholic and other Church`s positions on homosexuality and have yet to receive a single reply or condemnation.
The current Pope wrote the following in his “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons” whilst Cardinal to Pope John II who approved it:
“At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being “intrinsically disordered”, and able in no case to be approved of ……….. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.“
In 2003 the Vatican urged “Catholic politicians to actively campaign against legalising gay marriages which it said were evil, deviant and posed a grave threat to society.” And indeed the Catholic church recently urged members to oppose the UK gay-marriage proposals , being heavily involved with the Coalition for Marriage petition.
Is it not rank hypocrisy for these people to condemn Unionist politicians and not their own church? Shouldn`t the Catholic church be reprimanding these so called Catholic politicians? Richard Dawkins may well have been correct when he called for some “Catholic honesty“.
Further to that we have the same politicians erroneously attacking DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots over a so called `gay blood ban`.
SDLP health spokesperson Conall McDevitt has said that comments made by the Health Minister Edwin Poots regarding blood donations from gay men are both repellent and unscientific:
“The Health minister’s comments on the Politics Show, while not surprising, remain shocking, particularly his assertion that the ban should not only be retained but extended to anyone who engaged in sexual activity with prostitutes or anyone on the African continent. Once again, these views risk the perception that the minister is confusing personal prejudice with prudent policy.
“We are yet to see any significant evidence to support Poots’ views. On the contrary, the prevailing opinion among UK medics is that there is no higher risk associated with the blood of gay men, hence the decision to reverse the ban in Britain.
“The Minister’s comments perpetuate a tired mythology of cultural promiscuity in the gay community which troubles me as an advocate of a more accepting, shared society.
Kieran McCarthy Alliance MLA said:
“I am very disappointed that the Health Minister is refusing to allow gay men to donate blood. He needs to realise that it is unacceptable to discriminate like this.
“We should be encouraging people to donate blood, not telling perfectly eligible people that they are banned from donating blood.
“This is about equality, by banning gay men from donating blood, Edwin Poots is denying them their human rights. I would ask him to reconsider his decision on this issue.”
Sinn Fein`s Phil Flanagan tweeted “So Edwin Poots wants to maintain his ban on ‘gay blood.’ Sure why not lock ‘them’ all up in a compound. That’ll ostracise ‘them’ about right”
SDLP`s Claire Hanna tweeted “Min Poots claims new studies support his gay blood ban. Interesting reliance on research from the guy who thinks the planet is 6000 yrs old”
Sinn Fein`s Paul Maskey MP tweeted “Maybe Edwin should visit the Falls Park today and tell the many African people, their blood is no use here. Asylum and Refugee week.”
Fergus O’Hare former Sinn Fein councillor tweeted “Edwin Poots says anyone who has had sex in Africa should be banned from giving blood. That rules out most Africans I reckon. Sack the idiot!”
And NUS-USI’s (University of Ulster) Adrianne Peltz said:
“If Mr Poots cannot bring himself to treat everyone equally on blood donation then how can he expect the community to have confidence in him as Health Minister.
“He has had every opportunity to end the ban on gay men donating blood, but his abject failure is disgraceful.
“It’s time that Edwin Poots considered his position as Health Minister. His intransigence on this important issue of equality has brought shame on Northern Ireland.
The SDLP`s Conal McDevitt is wrong on his assertion that gay men can freely give blood in Britian and wrong on his assertions regarding high risk categories and evidence. The reality is that the UK still retains a ban on sexually active Gay men.
To give blood they must abstain from sex for 12 months. The reality is the Republic of Ireland and other European nations ban sexually active gay men from giving blood just like Northern Ireland. The reality is that the Give Blood website lists male gay sex, drug use, sex with prostitutes, sex in Africa as high risk behaviour.
The NHS website states
“All groups that are excluded or deferred from blood donation have been assessed as being at a statistically increased risk of carrying blood-borne viruses…….The criteria are based on complex assessments of risk and must by their nature be based on evidence and statistics that are recorded at a population level.”
The irony here is that Sinn Fein and the SDLP wish to harmonise NI law with UK law rather than the Republics.
So let us hear these Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance politicians condemn these institutions and accuse them of bigotry as they have readily done so with Ken Maginnis and Edwin Poots!