Are the media misrepresenting the DUP?
Posted by John Deighan on 22 June 2017
The newly elected DUP MPs with party leader Arlene Foster. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
The unexpected election result, which has led to Teresa May’s Conservative government being held in power by the support of ten Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs elected in Northern Ireland, has seen the DUP become the focus of intense media attention and widespread condemnation, writes John Deighan, CEO of SPUC Scotland.
Ireland has a difficult and troubled history with its complex interaction of political, religious and tribal loyalties. In recent years, it has been particularly a focus for international bodies, intent on overturning the last vestiges of its public policies which reflect its religious heritage. The present situation has therefore been used as yet another excuse to weigh in on the particular values of abortion and marriage to denounce the Christian perspective.
Whatever can be said of the past in Ireland, the values of Protestant and Catholic communities have been pretty close to each other on these very issues. Can it really be the case that these values are genuinely the ones that make the DUP so abhorrent or is it perhaps just to elite opinion they appear so?
No doubt the changes at a political and social level are radical, as they have been in Scotland in recent decades. That is because we have, in reality, been facing a cultural revolution imposed largely by social conditioning from the culturally powerful. For them no situation is to be missed for scorching the land of views to which they are hostile. Their views are incoherent but generally built around attacking the perceived moral order that defends life and marriage as intrinsic goods of human nature.
Media campaign against pro-life Ireland
Sadly, Ireland (North and South) has become the focus of attacks on those very values from bodies around the world who cannot tolerate what in some ways has been an oasis of cultural memory within what was once Christian Europe. We therefore have seen the United Nations and European Union aided by a plethora of NGOs mount an unremitting campaign to have Ireland conform to the new ideology of secularism. A day doesn’t go by without some carefully worked story to make the protection of unborn babies seem a vicious assault on women’s freedom and safety. The media has been compliant in mounting the efforts to re-educate its own people and turn them against the values of their fore-fathers. Eager always to denounce anything Christian, their analysis of the strengths of a Christian viewpoint are generally non-existent.
Not about republican/unionist politics
It's in such a context that the efforts to vilify the DUP can be analysed. Like most readers of the SCO I have heard and understood the dramas of politics which have waxed and waned in Northern Ireland. There are many threads and perspectives to the events there, but these are not the issues that have come to the fore in the present efforts to berate the Democratic Unionists. Rather, it is about the values of abortion and marriage, which if anything would be to the credit of the DUP. On these points they have held the line on the two values which are intrinsic to the Christian past of our civilisation and which are in fact foundations for genuine human rights. That these are the "errors" on which it is to be attacked, is evidence that our society has become one where increasingly we hold darkness for light and light for darkness.
Time to listen
Politics is the realm for serving the people of a nation and state by finding practical solutions to the challenges for living together with competing interests. By all means, it should be an area for robust debate. Only then can the best ideas be examined and tested. But increasingly our politics is about vilification and denunciation. These are fruits of the seed sown of secularism which instead of supporting the correct notion that religion and politics are two separate spheres, proposes instead that religious values are to be eradicated.
Perhaps we need more people to remember the words of Pope Francis when addressing politicians. He said, “Insulting has become normal. We need to lower the volume a bit and we need to talk less and listen more."
A version of this article first appeared in the Scottish Catholic Observer on 16 June 2017.