Further to my post yesterday concerning discrimination in Northern Ireland, this morning’s Irish Independent carries some more detail on Iris Robinson’s Christian ways (tongue firmly in cheek) and her outburst on live radio concerning homosexualists. (My emphases in bold).
THE wife of Northern Ireland’s new First Minister, DUP leader Peter Robinson, sparked outrage yesterday by offering to put gay people in touch with a psychiatrist who would help make them heterosexual.
Just one day into his new job, Mr Robinson saw his wife Iris, who is also the DUP’s health spokeswoman in the Stormont Assembly, dragged into a massive political row.
The Strangford MP launched a stinging attack on homosexuality on a live radio phone-in show after a 27-year-old gay man was beaten up in a homophobic attack near his home and left with horrific injuries.
Mrs Robinson described homosexuality as “disgusting, nauseous, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile” and said her strong Christian upbringing meant she would never change her views and nothing would stop her from speaking out on the issue.
Mrs Robinson said she utterly condemned Wednesday night’s attack on gay man Stephen Scott, who was knocked to the ground by three young thugs who punched and kicked him as he lay helpless and unable to defend himself in the street.
The victim was attacked in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, and is recovering in hospital where he is being treated for broken ribs, a fractured wrist, leg and head injuries.
He said he thought he was going to die in the attack after which he was left lying on the roadside.
Mr Scott said yesterday: “As far as I’m concerned, the people who did this to me are scum.
“There were three of them against me and I was left for dead.”
But Mrs Robinson refused an invitation to meet gay men and women to find out more about the problems and prejudices they face in their lives. Declining the offer from David McCartney of the gay support group, The Rainbow Project, she said: “I do not need to put my hand into the fire to know I will get burned.”
She then offered to put gay and lesbian people in touch with a psychiatrist who she described as a born-again-Christian who would help them change their sexuality.
Mrs Robinson told BBC’s Nolan Show: “I have a lovely psychiatrist who works with me and who tries to help homosexuals turn away from what they are engaged in.
“He is a Born Again Christian and has links all over the world and I have met people who have been turned around to become heterosexual and who have gone on to get married and raise families.
“Homosexuality is not natural. My Christian beliefs tell me that it is an abomination and that is very clear.
“It is an offence to God, an offensive act and something that God abhors.
“My Christian beliefs tell me to love the sinner but hate the sin, so I condemn the people who went out and kicked that gay man.
“I am clearly not saying that I want people to thrash the living daylights out of a homosexual man or women, because I don’t.”
But Michael King from the Royal Society of Psychiatrists said there was no evidence people could obtain psychiatric help to stop them being gay. He said such treatment was potentially harmful.
Professor King added: “There is a lot of evidence going back 50 years to suggest that attempts to change people’s sexuality in either direction are not possible.
“Such treatments do not work and can actually cause quite a lot of harm. Homosexuality is a state and a sexual orientation and is not a question of behaviour.”
My question: if she does in fact “love the sinner”, why the refusal to go and meet with some of them to see what they have to say?
Afraid that she might meet human beings and not the jaded stereotypes Paisley and his ilk in the Free Presbyterian Church have been foisting on Northern Ireland since the 70’s? Who knows? Who knows what goes on in the mind of someone like this?
But as an elected representative, she has made one thing quite clear – she definitely does not view all the people of Northern Ireland equally and has stated that she will refuse to meet with some of them. Not terrorists, not paedophiles, not rapists. Gays. But in her mind, perhaps they’re all pigeon-holed together in the same dark, dank fear-filler corner of her mind.
Concerning all the press exposure she’s received as a result of this interview, I wonder what she and her husband (the First Minister) are discussing over breakfast this morning?