WallaceThompson, DUP member, former advisor to Nigel Dodds, and secretary of the Evangelical Protestant Society, has called on all Protestants to “unite in opposition to a papal visit” to Northern Ireland.
“We call on all Protestant politicians, churches and organisations, including the loyal orders, to unite in opposition to a papal visit and we will be doing all we can to encourage and develop such united opposition.”
Quite apart from the sheer bigotry involved in such a call, which seeks to deny the right of an elderly German to visit Northern Ireland purely because he is the head of a different religion to Mr Thompson, the call reeks of unionist hypocrisy.
Far from creating a Northern Ireland where all religions, beliefs and political opinions are respected and freely expressed, Mr Thompson seeks to block a significant event for his Catholic fellow citizens ... purely because they are Catholic. He does not intend to promote, or even tolerate, mutual respect. Instead he, and by extension the DUP (who have not denounced their member’s views) are seeking to deny Northern Irish Catholics an opportunity to see their spiritual leader – for no reason other than irrational hatred.
On another level Thompson, and those who support him, display the sort of “little-Ulster” hypocrisy that is typical of the DUP. He is not calling on Protestant bigots in the UK to protest against the pope – he is calling only for protests against a visit to Northern Ireland, thereby demonstrating again that he sees ‘his country’ as being Northern Ireland, and not the UK. Logically there is no reason why a papal visit to Northern Ireland should upset Thompson any more than a papal visit to Bournemouth. But if the pope went only to England Thompson would be fairly quiet, because, of course, England, to the Ulster Nationalists, is not their country.
Thompson and his sort are repulsive bigots and should be denounced by all reasonable people. Silence by the unionist parties on this can only be construed to be tacit agreement with him, and his own party, the DUP, bears a particular responsibility to show that it does not share its member’s bigotry – but so far silence is all we have heard.