Paisley Speaks

Ian Paisley has faced what has to be one of the most serious decisions of his life. He has lived his life in opposition to Sinn Fein. He hates Catholics and Catholicism with a passion hard for anyone outside of his theological mindset and political experience to understand.

He stands to lose something incredibly important to him – leadership of the Free Presbyterian Church. Friends who have fought beside him for years and years are now preaching against him.

However, it appears that the unthinkable has happened. Yes, Ian Paisley has spoken to a Catholic. And not just any Papist. Despite repeated pledges to never do so, he has actually spoken to the leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams. He didn’t shake hands. That would have been asking a bit much.

They did come to an agreement. It was, in part, an agreement to get Westminster to hold off on forcing them into an Executive until May 8. But they have started the ball rolling.

I know there have been a number of breakthroughs in the peace process, but I believe that today’s meeting was as significant as the Good Friday Agreement.

Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was the only party opposed to the Agreement. When the previous Assembly was suspended after some Sinn Fein personnel were gathering intelligence and the Ulster Unionist Party ministers (including First Minister David Trimble) resigned in response, the DUP won the plurality in the following election.

So to bring the anti-Agreement party to the table their predecessors in power lost everything due to trusting Sinn Fein too much is a miracle. Paisley may believe that miracles have ceased, but his own actions defy this view.

Paisley has not been doing himself any favours by holding out so long. Sinn Fein have been looking more and more like the good guys and the party of reason. The Revd and Rt Hon. Ian Paisley will very likely add First Minister to his list of titles, even though he has previously refused to nomination himself as such.

I don’t mind referring to him by any of these titles, but I do refuse to call him “Dr Paisley”. Back in December, I noted that I only ever knew of one person to have used an honorary doctorate to call themselves “Doctor”. I was forgetful. Paisley is another.

Revd Paisley is not the only one in his family with a title. His wife entered the House of Lords last year as Baroness Paisley of St George’s. He may wear the trousers, but she has the loftier title. There is a bit of irony in it – an anti-Catholic peer with a title ultimately named after a saint. St George’s was the ward from which she was elected to the Belfast City Council.


3 Responses to Paisley Speaks

  1. Huw Raphael says:

    Equally as important – easily – as Good Friday. Equally as moving. The BBC saw fit to say, “They sat side by side”. Although the other Presby Uberfrum may now preach against him, they don’t strike me as a Hydra. – if they loose their head in I.P. they won’t sprout 14 more. Something will have gone out of them.

    This is important because it’s this kind of personal reconciliation (no matter how personally deep it may be) that allows a man to come to the table to talk. This is what makes peace possible in Ireland’s north every day: Protestants and Catholics deciding they can talk to each other.

  2. Michael says:

    Just from where I sit, someone calling himself “doctor” based upon an honorary doctorate from a reputable institution (I would rate San Jose State considerably above Rhema, I don’t know who gave Paisley his) doesn’t bother me much compared to someone who “earned” their “doctorate” from a diploma mill.

    Are you a JD, Dave? JDs are an example of the opposite phenomenon, people who have an earned doctorate who aren’t customarily called “doctor”.

  3. Dave says:

    Kenneth Hagin’s honorary doctorate was from ORU, not his own Rhema, which amazingly the State of Oklahoma has not granted the power to issue graduate degrees.

    Paisley’s is from Bob Jones University. He and the late Bob Jones, Jr. were close friends.

    Actually, I’m not a JD, even though I was in an identical program. Because my undergrad was not from an accredited institution, even though I was working on an MA from Arkansas at the time I applied, I recieved an LLB (what the law degree used to be called for everyone).

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