Friday, 12 September 2014

BBC News: Former first minister and DUP leader Ian Paisley has died

BBC News: Former first minister and DUP leader Ian Paisley has died


Former Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley, has died aged 88.
In a statement, Baroness Eileen Paisley said her husband died on Friday morning.
Mr Paisley moved from a political "never man" to Northern Ireland's first minister.


I used to be a fierce anti-Catholic. Ian Paisley was somebody I admired and at one time I was involved with fundamentalist organisations that were associated with Ian Paisley.

I've since come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is not the Whore of Babylon and have actually decided I want to become a Catholic. Nevertheless, I still admire Ian Paisley a lot and am saddened to here of his death.

I remember a secular college lecturer and Labour party activist telling me how impressed he was when he learned that Paisley used to visit a certain town in west Africa every year to preach.

In an age of diversity and tolerance, it is impressive that a public figure continued such a polemical and controversial religious stance as Paisley. The courage of his conviction stands out, whether one agreed with him or not. What is more he was motivated by a passion for God's Word. We might disagree with his interpretation of much of the Bible, but all Christians ought to have stood with him in his conviction that the Bible is God's absolute and inerrant revelation to Mankind. I still share with Him a love of the King James Bible, which I think stands far above some of the banal modern translations favoured by Catholics.

Paisley also stands as a great example of how a Christian can combine involvement in both church and political activity without compromising either.

Yet oddly, one of the most important lessons to learn from Ian Paisley is thst there is a time for compromise, but only when the time is right. After years of struggle, Paisley agreed in the end to power-sharing with Sin Fein. But only when it was certain that the time was right. Paisley insisted on the complete decommissioning IRA weapons and a commitment by Sin Fein to support the Northern Irish police. A series of high profile criminal actions towards the end of the peace process demonstrated and vindicated the wisdom of Paisley's delays.

Paisley demonstrates, like Ariel Sharon in Israel, that it is actually those on the Right, and not those on the Left who are best at compromise. Left-wingers build their careers around ideals, hence they struggle to ever come to compromises. To compromise is to betray their ideological convictions. Those of us on the Right are able to put ideology aside when necessary, as Paisley did when he believed the conditions were right for power-sharing.


2 comments:

  1. "Paisley also stands as a great example of how a Christian can combine involvement in both church and political activity without compromising either."

    I respect the late Jerry Falwell for similar reasons. He even managed to be ecumenical in his political activism, reaching out to Catholics hoping they'd be fellow social conservatives/formerly silent majoritarians, hopefully as fed up with the aftermath of the Sixties as he was (which they sort of were - lots of working-class lifelong Democrats switched to vote for Reagan in '80; I voted for him in '84)... all without compromising his Baptist fundamentalism.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. Of course, Paisley went a bit further than Falwell in actually running for office himself!

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