Conscience clause is necessary to ensure balance

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.
Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.

John O’Doherty’s response to the proposed conscience clause was an exercise in hysterics without substance. Clearly he had no actual argument to make.

Firstly, he charges Paul Givan with promoting discrimination. Factually all law discriminates. It makes a judgment as to what is lawful and unlawful.

Historically legislators could tell the difference between right and wrong.

Today they have substituted interests and groups conferring acceptance upon them.

O’Doherrty represents an interest group whose interests in his eyes must apparently trump the rights and liberties of everyone else. Hence his outrageous comments.

So much for toleration

Secondly, by slandering the conscience clause from the outset he obviously hopes to denigrate it in the eyes of others, hence his comparisons to ‘no Irish’, ‘no Blacks’ etc.

It is slander in the absence of thought and intelligent argument. It’s the old device of rhetorical terrorism to close down discussion, reasoning and debate.

Third. It is surely significant that so many see the need for and support such a clause in recognition of how intolerant equality has become.

Gerry Adams has indicated the real purpose of equality.

It is right to bring balance to an unbalanced provision.

Lady Justice Hale has recognised that, hence her reference to protection of conscience.

Fourthly, should the bill fail to pass, I trust that Givan will use the approach used by others in Stormont, keep proposing the bill.

If others can use this device then all can use it.

Finally, whatever the outcome O’Doherty needs to grasp one simple elementary point. What he is so determined to force others to accept cannot and will not be achieved.

He forgets that the Church has over two thousands years of resisting tyranny.

Rev E T Kirkland

Free Church Manse Ballyclare