Belfast Telegraph

Nelson McCausland: Why setting the life of an unborn child against an Irish Language Act doesn’t help abortion debate

Recent interventions by Churches ahead of the October 21 deadline have been flawed, says Nelson McCausland

The March For Their Lives rally in Belfast organised by Precious Life
The March For Their Lives rally in Belfast organised by Precious Life
Nelson McCausland

By Nelson McCausland

Very often the “public square” of civic debate is dominated by the promoters of liberal-Leftism. That is partly because their voices are the dominant voices in academia, the media and the London-centric elite.

It is also partly because many other voices have abandoned the public square, fearful of the vitriol that is often directed against those who dissent from this liberal-Leftism.

On social issues such as abortion, marriage and the emerging issue of transgenderism, it is the voice of the liberal-Left that is heard most often.

For that reason I welcome the fact that so many people have demonstrated and articulated their opposition to the introduction of radical abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

The demonstrations at Stormont and in Belfast city centre have been powerful expressions of their concern, as have the many letters, emails and petitions.

Human life is precious, including the life of the pre-born child. That child may be small, but every child is “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Life matters, whether it be the life of the mother or the life of her pre-born child, and so both lives matter.

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However, the fact is that following two amendments to Westminster legislation, both proposed by Labour MPs and opposed by DUP MPs, the laws in Northern Ireland on abortion and the nature of marriage will change unless Stormont is restored and an Executive established by October 21.

That is just two-and-a-half weeks away and, faced with that impending deadline, a number of Church leaders and Christian organisations have spoken out on abortion.

Some people argue that faith has no place in the public square and should be kept in the heart, the home and the church.

However, in a democracy the public square has to be open to all worldviews, including a Christian worldview.

Of course such interventions require careful consideration, because public statements will always be open to interrogation and, in that regard, I found some of the recent interventions to be less than sure-footed.

In particular I was struck by the argument that “a life is more important than a language”, and the suggestion that unionists should concede an Irish Language Act to Sinn Fein in order to get Stormont back by October 21 and so prevent the introduction of a new abortion regime in Northern Ireland.

The motivation is right, in that it is based on a Christian desire to protect the unborn child. However, the analysis behind this slogan is deeply flawed and actually false. It fails to recognise reality.

During the last Assembly election Sinn Fein nailed their colours firmly to three masts: an Irish Language Act, abortion and same-sex marriage.

The first of these was directed primarily at their core support, but the other two issues drew in support for Sinn Fein from pro-abortionists and LGBT activists.

Their electoral success was based on building that rainbow coalition of interests and they made solid commitments to all three. Since then they have restated those commitments.

After the referendum on abortion in the Irish Republic the president and vice-president of Sinn Fein celebrated and held aloft a poster declaring “The north is next”. They have also restated their demand for same-sex marriage.

After the votes at Westminster pro-abortionists and LGBT activists were celebrating. They believe that they have already pocketed these changes and they know that, if Sinn Fein hold out for another fortnight, they will have got two of their demands. Yes, it was Westminster that voted on the amendments, but they were only able to do so because Sinn Fein had collapsed Stormont.

They also know that if Stomont were back in business, opponents of free-for-all abortion and same-sex marriage would have the opportunity to oppose changes in the law and Sinn Fein cannot afford to let that happen.

If they were to go back into Stormont before October 21, Sinn Fein would feel the ire and anger of the pro-abortionists and the LGBT activists, and they are too astute to let that happen.

For that reason the calls for unionists to surrender to the cultural demands of Sinn Fein are misconceived. It wouldn’t work.

To set an Irish Language Act against a life is a flawed analysis, and an unfounded and unhelpful distraction.

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