Belfast Telegraph

Standing so high on your morals can often lead to a fall ... especially if you're part of judgmental bunch like DUP

Broken bond: the DUP's David Simpson and his wife Elaine at an election count
Broken bond: the DUP's David Simpson and his wife Elaine at an election count

By Lindy McDowell

Another week, another DUP sex scandal. Why is it that the local party most aligned to Bible-bashing and finger-pointing seems to provide us with more stories of bedroom origin than just about all the other parties put together?

Down the years the DUP seem to have delivered more scandal exclusives than you can shake a tabloid at.

Or maybe it just seems that way because, well, it's the DUP.

The party of high-horse morality that makes a virtue (some members, anyway) out of decrying what they see as the lack of virtue or morality in others.

The latest party scandal involves DUP MP David Simpson who has left his wife following an affair - as members of his own family have revealed to our sister paper Sunday Life.

These things happen.

People are human. There will be heartache for all concerned, not least Mr Simpson himself, who now will be dealing with the pain he has caused to his wife, his children and his extended family.

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But these things do happen.

Had this story concerned an MP from any other party there may not have been quite the same public interest.

It makes such headlines in this instance because ... David Simpson is David Simpson.

And the same man has not been behind the door in the past, about telling others how they should lead their lives.

In particular he has been extremely vocal in speaking out against gay marriage. All those glib, horribly patronising lines about how in the Bible, it's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Love the sinner, hate the sin etc.

Depends, of course, on who you're calling sinner ...

Back at the time of l'affaire Iris (the one that made global headlines) I remember noting that while God seemed to have been so opposed to adultery in the Old Testament that he actually dedicated a commandment specifically to it, he didn't seem to have been quite so bothered by homosexuality.

The only line therein which could be interpreted as a condemnation of male homosexuality is a convoluted passing mention in Leviticus in a section which is similarly censorious of eating prawns.

As a non-religious person, I stand to be corrected. But as far as I'm aware, that's it.

Even in the New Testament - and, again I stand to be corrected - Jesus felt the whole issue was so important, he never actually mentioned it.

What I do remember from my Sunday School days is stuff about motes in eyes and judging not lest you be judged.

I absolutely believe in the right to gay marriage and think legislation that would allow it here is long, long overdue in Northern Ireland.

But I also accept that there are people who don't share that view.

So, no, I'm not arguing that just because one of the main cheerleaders of the opposition - a man who has consistently cited tenuous biblical backing for his stance - is now revealed to have erred himself against biblical commandment, those people don't have the right to continue to hold that view.

But I do think that the DUP as a whole might need to take a long, hard look at itself.

Within its ranks, and within the wider electorate it aims to appeal to for votes, there are real people living real lives.

Marriage break-ups are not uncommon. Neither is being gay. Even within the DUP.

To coin a phrase, "You can't help who you fall in love with".

Theresa May famously once described her own party, the Tories, as "the nasty party".

Whether you'd want to go the whole hog and call the DUP that too, I do think there's no doubt that they've become the judgmental party.

Checking out the motes in the eyes of others.

But seemingly blinded (perhaps by all that RHI ash) to their own harsh, holier-than-thou reputation.

And honestly. It's doing them no favours.

Belfast Telegraph


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