A “faith which is purely private is of no public use”, a Professor at Queen’s University Belfast has said.
In a comment piece for the Belfast Newsletter, Professor Stephen Williams stressed that Christians must not separate their faith from politics.
Writing ahead of yesterday’s Northern Ireland Assembly election he cited the issue of abortion, where the law is influenced by different values in society. He said: “If Christian values do not prevail, the alternative is not neutrality.”
Prof Williams, a lecturer in theology at Queen’s, said: “People who separate faith from politics are over-reacting.”
He added that: “If secular people believe that their values are best for society”, they will try to promote them.
Using the example of a Marxist, he said he could not imagine one saying: “My personal values are Marxist, but I put them aside when I enter politics.”
“It is very odd if Christians believe that their values are best for society but decide not to promote them.
“What we need is a culture of debate with input from all sides, not Christians (or anybody else) keeping their faith tucked away in a private corner of their lives.”
Earlier in the year The Christian Institute welcomed Stormont’s ‘heartening’ refusal to weaken legal protections for the unborn in Northern Ireland.
On 10 February, MLAs voted 59 to 40 against amending legislation to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. They voted 64 to 32 against allowing abortion in cases of sexual crime.
During the debate, politicians from a number of parties expressed concern about the proposals.