THE media coverage around the election of Edwin Poots as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party has focused almost completely on Mr Poots’s faith. Nearabout every headline has begun with the words ‘Creationist Christian’, and you’re never far into the article before you’ve read that Mr Poots believes the world was made by God around 4,000 BC.
Why is this being discussed at all? Who cares? More importantly, would elections involving those of other faiths lead to the same form of coverage? Definitely not. Imagine a devout Muslim being asked on BBC Newsnight whether he really believed that the Prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse. The presenter would be sacked before he or she could say ‘As-salamu alaykum’.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jr, who represents the DUP, called out this anti-Christian bias on Newsnight.
‘I’m reminded of the Frank Skinner line: you can be anything in Britain today except a Christian. That seems to be the issue. The BBC wants to lambast the man because he happens to be a man of faith and they want to take, basically, the mickey out of his religion.
‘You wouldn’t do that if he was a Muslim. You wouldn’t do that if he was any other religion in the United Kingdom, but you can take the mickey out of his Christian faith. You should be ashamed of yourselves. The BBC should be ashamed of itself for starting from that position . . .
‘He has never been in the position where he would try to force his faith down your throat or anyone else’s throat. He would not allow those things to get in the way of . . . policy making, and he has an excellent track record . . . That’s what interests us.’
The video is well worth a watch.
‘Cobblers to your programme,’ indeed!
This article first appeared in Bournbrook on May 17, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.