A former top adviser to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds is heading up a fundamentalist evangelical pressure group — and seeking to lobby DUP ministers.
Wallace Thompson has been appointed chairman of the Caleb Foundation which aims to promote “the historic Protestant faith” and was represented on the now defunct Civic Forum.
Mr Thompson faced calls for his resignation when he was special adviser to Mr Dodds as Enterprise and Investment Minister after labelling the Pope “the Anti-christ” and making clear he would oppose a visit to Northern Ireland by the Pontiff.
Sinn Fein said he had overstepped the mark for a civil servant, the SDLP called his statement “pathetic” and Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey warned his views could harm the prospects of attracting business investment to the province.
Mr Thompson argues, however, an increasingly secular society in Northern Ireland has allowed opposition to the historic Christian principles become “more open, militant and vocal”.
He wants to meet new Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster over the planned visitors’ centre at the Giant's Causeway to ensure that the Biblical creationist position is “properly included as part of any interpretative aspect”.
And he is also pressing to meet Arts and Culture Minister Nelson McCausland to discuss creationism in the soon-to-be-reopened Ulster Museum and the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible in 2011.
“I feel honoured and privileged to have been appointed chairman,” he said.
“There is much work for us to do. Even in the last two years Ulster society has become increasingly secular, and opposition to the historic evangelical faith is more open, militant and vocal.
“In that sense our cause is probably more marginalised than ever, but it is vital that we do not shrink from the challenge.
“As believers, we are called upon to earnestly contend for the faith, no matter what the prevailing circumstances are or how we will be regarded.
“That is what the Caleb Foundation was established to do.
“We intend to lobby government and media as intensively as we can in coming weeks on a range of issues, and we have already sought meetings with Executive ministers,” he added.