Northern Ireland’s Axis of Ignorance

OUR last post on this topic was Northern Ireland’s Creationist Madness Escalates. The next indented paragraph provides background information, which most of you can skip:

Northern Ireland’s culture minister, Nelson McCausland, wants the Ulster Museum to include information about creationism and intelligent design. He says that the inclusion of anti-Darwinian theories in the museum is “a human rights issue.” He’s been exposed to all the world as being raving mad, and now — instead of resigning in disgrace — he wants a government investigation into the “leak” of his letter.

The story continues. In the Belfast Telegraph we read Why Good Book could be bad news for DUP. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Nelson McCausland’s leaked missive to the Ulster Museum, in which he asks that creationism be given equal billing with evolution, isn’t just an isolated case.

It is the latest round in an agenda-driven campaign to hold the DUP to its Free Presbyterian roots, and use it to promote fundamentalist religious views across a wide area of civil society.

For our American and other non-UK readers, the DUP is the Democratic Unionist Party, currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Let’s read on:

Anyone in doubt of this need only look up the website of the Caleb Foundation, which announces that “Caleb Spearheads Campaign for Equality in Ulster Museum” and details contacts it had with McCausland, the Culture Minister, shortly before he intervened with the museum. The site spells out a wider agenda centred around belief in the literal truth of the Bible.

Here’s their website: Caleb Foundation. Check out their Statement of Faith. It looks like a combination of the worst aspects of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) and Answers in Genesis. All that and political power too.

Let’s continue with the Belfast Telegraph article:

The mainstream Methodist, Presbyterian, and Church of Ireland denominations are absent. Caleb’s aims and beliefs are very similar to religious Right pressure groups in the US.

That is not a compliment. Here’s more:

They tend to be bright, able people, not dim-witted or humourless bigots. One member told me that they often refer to themselves as ‘the Caleban’ — a reference to the Taliban who imposed a fundamentalist form of Islam on Afghanistan.

It is just an in-joke, but there is no doubt that Caleb is a highly politicised group of religious fundamentalists. It has considerable clout within the province’s largest party, which it used to promote the teaching of creationism, not just in schools, but in public institutions like the museum and the Giants Causeway visitors’ centre, as well as lobbying on such issues as abortion, the extension of gay rights, and Sunday sport.

When we first started writing about this Nelson McCausland story, we assumed that he was a goofy aberration. It now appears that we were wrong. According to what we’re reading here, McCausland is typical of his political party.

The Belfast Telegraph story is rather long, and it contains far more information than we need about politics in Northern Ireland. We suggest you click over there if you want to know more. For your Curmudgeon, we now know quite enough — Northern Ireland, at least while run by the DUP, is crazed beyond our comprehension.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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One response to “Northern Ireland’s Axis of Ignorance

  1. It’s a lot crazier than you might imagine.

    The DUP doesn’t actually rule in Northern Ireland. Under the latest power sharing agreement the Catholics can veto anything proposed by the Protestants and vice-versa. Only proposals that achieve a concensus can be adopted. By a strange quirk of fate sanity is being maintained in N.I. by a group of reformed terrorists.