Why stand­ing so high on your morals can of­ten lead to a fall ... es­pe­cially if you’re part of a judg­men­tal bunch like the DUP

Belfast Telegraph - - LIFE -

Another week, another DUP sex scan­dal. Why is it that the lo­cal party most aligned to Bi­ble-bash­ing and fin­ger-point­ing seems to pro­vide us with more sto­ries of bed­room ori­gin than just about all the other par­ties put to­gether?

Down the years the DUP seem to have de­liv­ered more scan­dal exclusives than you can shake a tabloid at.

Or maybe it just seems that way be­cause, well, it’s the DUP.

The party of high-horse moral­ity that makes a virtue (some mem­bers, any­way) out of de­cry­ing what they see as the lack of virtue or moral­ity in oth­ers.

The lat­est party scan­dal in­volves DUP MP David Simp­son who has left his wife fol­low­ing an af­fair — as mem­bers of his own fam­ily have re­vealed to our sis­ter pa­per Sun­day Life. These things hap­pen. Peo­ple are hu­man. There will be heartache for all con­cerned, not least Mr Simp­son him­self, who now will be deal­ing with the pain he has caused to his wife, his chil­dren and his ex­tended fam­ily.

But these things do hap­pen. Had this story con­cerned an MP from any other party there may not have been quite the same pub­lic in­ter­est.

It makes such head­lines in this in­stance be­cause ... David Simp­son is David Simp­son.

And the same man has not been be­hind the door in the past, about telling oth­ers how they should lead their lives.

In par­tic­u­lar he has been ex­tremely vo­cal in speak­ing out against gay mar­riage. All those glib, hor­ri­bly pa­tro­n­is­ing lines about how in the Bi­ble, it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Love the sin­ner, hate the sin etc.

De­pends, of course, on who you’re call­ing sin­ner ...

Back at the time of l’af­faire Iris (the one that made global head­lines) I re­mem­ber not­ing that while God seemed to have been so op­posed to adul­tery in the Old

Bro­ken bond: the DUP’s David Simp­son and his wife Elaine at an elec­tion count

Tes­ta­ment that he ac­tu­ally ded­i­cated a com­mand­ment specif­i­cally to it, he didn’t seem to have been quite so both­ered by ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

The only line therein which could be in­ter­preted as a con­dem­na­tion of male ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is a con­vo­luted pass­ing men­tion in Leviti­cus in a sec­tion which is sim­i­larly cen­so­ri­ous of eat­ing prawns.

As a non-re­li­gious per­son, I stand to be cor­rected. But as far as I’m aware, that’s it.

Even in the New Tes­ta­ment — and, again I stand to be cor­rected — Jesus felt the whole is­sue was so im­por­tant, he never ac­tu­ally men­tioned it.

What I do re­mem­ber from my Sun­day School days is stuff about motes in eyes and judg­ing not lest you be judged.

I ab­so­lutely be­lieve in the right to gay mar­riage and think leg­is­la­tion that would al­low it here is long, long over­due in North­ern Ire­land.

But I also ac­cept that there are peo­ple who don’t share that view.

So, no, I’m not ar­gu­ing that just be­cause one of the main cheer­lead­ers of the op­po­si­tion — a man who has con­sis­tently cited ten­u­ous bi­b­li­cal back­ing for his stance — is now re­vealed to have erred him­self against bi­b­li­cal com­mand­ment, those peo­ple don’t have the right to con­tinue to hold that view.

But I do think that the DUP as a whole might need to take a long, hard look at it­self.

Within its ranks, and within the wider elec­torate it aims to ap­peal to for votes, there are real peo­ple liv­ing real lives.

Mar­riage break-ups are not un­com­mon. Nei­ther is be­ing gay. Even within the DUP.

To coin a phrase, “You can’t help who you fall in love with”.

Theresa May fa­mously once de­scribed her own party, the Tories, as “the nasty party”.

Whether you’d want to go the whole hog and call the DUP that too, I do think there’s no doubt that they’ve be­come the judg­men­tal party.

Check­ing out the motes in the eyes of oth­ers.

But seem­ingly blinded (per­haps by all that RHI ash) to their own harsh, holier-than-thou rep­u­ta­tion.

And hon­estly. It’s do­ing them no favours.

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