Attorney General John Larkin’s public support for Christians will be viewed as refreshing by many who hold to traditional views of morality and society, whatever their religious beliefs.
In an age in where Christians feel increasingly targeted by society, Mr Larkin’s supportive comments stand out.
At Irish Presbyterianism’s headquarters yesterday the Province’s first Roman Catholic Attorney General set out a closely argued case for a renewed public understanding of Christianity which deserves to be met with an equally thoughtful response.
When Christians speak in the public square, their words are often heard as harsh and accusatory but those who read the Attorney General’s belief that Christian hoteliers should be able to turn away gay couples seeking a double bed, should read his preface to those remarks in which he acknowledges how difficult such a decision will seem from the perspective of the one rejected.
Yet where there are competing rights, such conflicts will inevitably see one side left dissatisfied. As it is, when Christians lose out in such situations there is decreasing public concern.
Christians who attempted to stop a satirical play about the Bible being performed in Newtownabbey have been criticised, by this newspaper among others. Yet such a comic assault on Islam remains inconceivable. This week Channel Four News decided to partially censor a “Jesus and Mo” cartoon which has caused outrage among some Muslims. The broadcaster chose to obscure the section of the image which depicted the Prophet Muhammad because it said that some Muslims found any representation of their prophet blasphemous. Yet the cartoon of Jesus was shown without apology, seemingly oblivious to the fact that some Christians believe that it is wrong to create any image of Christ.
Such double-standards — now often founded in ignorance — are becoming increasingly embedded; not just in news reports, but in wider society. At some point it has to be challenged; perhaps Mr Larkin has done something to start that process.