The Evangelical Alliance has defended the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after claims that it is intolerant.
Writing in Premier Christianity magazine, Peter Lynas, Northern Ireland Director of EA, said there has been “a lot of irresponsible and uninformed comment about the DUP”, which supports traditional marriage and opposes abortion.
Talks are ongoing between the DUP and the Conservatives, who need the party’s support to form a minority Government.
Over the last few days, media commentators have vilified the DUP for its socially conservative views, with the BBC mocking the party in its election commentary.
Pro-abortion group BPAS also attacked the party for its pro-life stance, claiming that it has “extremist views”.
In his piece for Premier, Peter Lynas asserted that DUP politicians and many of their Northern Irish constituents are wrongly called extremists as a means of “political point scoring”.
He warned that this “loose” use of extremism will “ultimately undermine attempts to legislate against terrorism”.
In the last Parliament, the Conservatives faced serious criticism for their approach to counter extremism, which risks criminalising Christians and others who hold unpopular views.
The Government’s working definition of extremism was blasted as vague and subjective.
Atheist commentator Brendan O’Neill also mounted a defence of the DUP’s right to hold socially conservative views in a blog for The Spectator.
He hit out at the “hysteria” of “London-based liberals” over the DUP, saying it exposes their own intolerance.
O’Neill wrote, “the DUP’s views are relatively common in Ireland and, I dare say, in many parts of Britain”.
“Look, I know this is inconvenient, and you’d prefer it if everyone in the country was a carbon copy of you and your lovely friends, but some people out there are religious.
“They have traditional views. They think marriage should be between a man and a woman and they think abortion is morally wrong. They aren’t evil. They aren’t fundamentalists. They just don’t agree with you.”