not a member? click here to sign up
He’s the son of a preacher man
His father, the Rev. Ian Paisley, has been one of the dominant figures in Irish politics over the past 40 years. Now Ian Paisley Jnr is a Junior Minister in the new Northern Ireland administration. So how different is he from his father? And how does he feel about cross border co-operation, education, abortion and homosexuality?
Jason O'Toole, 11 Jun 2007
But you couldn’t really describe a raped woman aborting a child as a sin?
Well, I haven’t described abortion as a sin. It is very difficult to say there is a hard and fast rule for all. In circumstances such as rape – you can identify other cases of abuse, or indeed where a child would be abused and then become pregnant – there’s all sorts of things, including mental well-being – but these are not easy issues. What I think is required, from politicians, is good judgement and discernment – and I think sometimes we find in politics that both those commodities are in short supply.
But should Northern Ireland legalise abortion like the rest of the UK?
Having a situation where abortion would be on demand – in other words, to make Northern Ireland’s law on abortion the same as the rest of the United Kingdom – I think it would be wrong. It would be folly. I think we should avoid that. I think it would have huge consequences for this island. When people say there are a lot of hypocrites in the Republic, who don’t want abortion on demand in the Republic, and they sat ‘we’re quite happy to send women to Britain’. Well, you know, I think that’s an issue the Irish Republic has to wrestle with. But I also think that, how many more problems would Irish society have if abortion was on demand in one part of the island and not in the other?
Do you think that a censorship board with emphasis on Christian culture should be set up?
Again, I think this goes back to having good judgement and discernment. For example, there was that very controversial play that was based on the television one – ‘Something (Jerry Springer) Opera. I can’t remember what it was called. It was full of profanity and all the rest of it. Now, am I for censorship on that? What I am for is, if people choose to go to that, well, so be it. But it shouldn’t be forced down the necks of people on national television. While a person can censor a television by switching channel, I think a national television station like the BBC shouldn’t broadcast those types of programmes – they should be showing better judgement. I think it got something like 60,000 objections. Now, if the BBC gets 12 objections they usually do an enquiry. To get so many objections to a programme like that, I think, indicates that they just got it wrong. I am not for censorship per se – no, I am for people exercising free judgement.