Friday, 15 April 2016

Northern Ireland's Moral Dilemma

The above front page appeared in one of our local papers recently and brings before us the very stark moral situation that is to be found in Northern Ireland.

The girl in the picture on the left found puppies that were left to die in a skip. She rescued them, adopted one and is rightly commended for her kind-hearted action.

The headline on the right directs our attention to a recent court case where a young woman was charged with accessing drugs which caused her to abort her child, the remains of which she disposed of in a bin.
Her housemates who found the aborted child, which was able to be identified as a male, were not commended for reporting it to the police but instead were lambasted on social media for interfering.
Why, because they were concerned not about the life of a animal but that of an unborn child. A human life, that is rightly protected by the law of our land.
This was not some unrecognisable collection of cells, the Housemates state "There was a fully-formed baby in our bin with little toes and fingers". It was not just a foetus, or an embryo, it was a baby, a human being that had been residing in what should have the safest place until the time of his birth.

David the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139 "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:" Every child is a blessing, a gift from God. Sometimes they do not have the perfect health that we would like but that does not diminish their worth. Every child is still precious in the sight of God and deserving of our love and care.

Abortion has become for many the standard means of dealing with unplanned pregnancies, but in reality it is the taking of the life of the unborn child. A transgression of the Sixth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill."
The Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 12:30-31  "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
How can we rightly love our neighbour if we do not care for the defenceless unborn child?
Our soldiers have gone to other lands to protect those under the heel of oppressive dictatorships, but what about the silent voice of the unborn child? Where is their protector?

In an age when there is much talk about love and tolerance, where is the love for the child of the unplanned pregnancy?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


The Government and Morals Committee of Presbytery have been engaged in on-going correspondence with government departments and other bodies on the moral issues of the day.

In November last year a play was staged as part of the Outburst Queer Arts festival in Belfast called, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven" The preview of the play on the Outburst festival website described how in the play there was a "revolutionary queer ritual in which bread is shared, wine is drunk and familiar stories are re-imagined by a transgender Jesus."

The Bible reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s and the eternal Son of God. The title “Queen of Heaven” is only used in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah to describe a heathen goddess whom God condemned. Furthermore the Bible teaches that homosexuality and transgender is sin. The play was a blasphemy against the Saviour whom we love and serve.

The Government and Morals Committee contacted various government departments and bodies who were listed as having sponsored this play. Among those contacted were, the Arts Council, which distributes funds from the National Lottery, Belfast City Council, The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, The Department of Social Development and the Public Health Agency.

It was pointed out to each that under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act public bodies have obligations relating to promoting good relations between people of different religious beliefs, ethnic origins, and political opinions. The Government and Morals Committee indicated that for the LGBT lobby to portray the Son of God, as something other than who He is does nothing to promote good relations. Rather it is our belief that it was their direct intention to make a mockery of Christ.

The Presbytery Committee received a number of replies, a couple of which denied that they had done anything that was contrary to section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act and urging that the Government and Morals Committee take the matter to the Equality Commission or the PSNI if they thought the law had been breached.

The reply that was most dismissive was that from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, which said that they supported the artist’s right to freedom of expression. The Arts Council stated that they took their obligations under section 75 very seriously but seemed to think that its only obligation under section 75 was “to promote equality of opportunity between persons of different religious beliefs.” However they look to have ignored the second section of the Act, which says, “a public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

Belfast City Council appeared to want to distance themselves from the event and said that their contribution was part of an overall support given to the Community Festivals Fund and that they did not specifically support this event. They also pointed out that the Outburst Programme contains the statement views expressed through Outburst events are not necessarily shared or endorsed by our funders, sponsors or partners.  The letter seemed to imply that the views of the play were not those of Belfast City Council.

The most satisfactory reply was from the Department of Social Development, which said that they had reviewed their procedures to ensure greater scrutiny of event programmes in the future.

It is hoped that our protest will result in greater scrutiny of events and that this kind of blasphemy will not be supported by public money in the future. We would ask you to pray for the Government and Morals Committee, which has the job of replying to government consultations on moral issues and of making our voice heard when issues like this arise.