The presenter of BBC Radio Ulster’s flagship religious affairs programme Sunday Sequence has said that people spending time in the Province would think that Christianity is the only religion.
Former Presbyterian minister William Crawley, pictured, said that it had at times been “frustrating” to find narrow thinking in public life here after coming back to Northern Ireland following several years in the US.
In an interview for Mark Carruthers’ book Alternative Ulsters, Mr Crawley said: “At times it feels like we’re isolated from the conversation that’s going on in the rest of the world,” adding that politicians sometimes in private said things which they would never say on the airwaves.
He added: “Some of the rhetoric about sexuality, for example, can be near-homophobic, or fully unreconstructed homophobia, and if it was said in other parts of the BBC in London or Edinburgh, I think there would be hell to pay for allowing someone to be on the radio for half-an-hour saying some of these things.
“But because of the context of Northern Ireland, and the fact that we have a very different kind of cultural context, there is freedom to express some of those views.
“I’m for free speech, for sure, but I do feel like we have an under-evolved conversation about many of the issues of our day...if you spent any time in Northern Ireland, you would think that no other religion existed in the world except Christianity.”