DUP education minister falls over himself defending colleague who shared ‘ex-gay’ propaganda
Northern Ireland’s education minister Peter Weir defended DUP colleague Nelson McCausland after he shared “ex-gay” propaganda, claiming he did nothing wrong.
Weird pushed back at criticism of McCausland, who formerly represented the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on the Northern Ireland Assembly and currently sits on the board of the nation’s Education Authority.
McCausland has defied calls to resign after sharing “ex-gay” propaganda on Facebook, having described an account of a man who renounced homosexuality as a “powerful testimony of a life changed by God”.
The DUP figure shared an article from the anti-LGBT+ US-based Gospel Coalition, lauding a former Hollywood fashion designer who renounced his homosexuality after praying for God to heal his “sexual brokenness”.
DUP education minister claims colleague was not advocating for conversion therapy.
Peter Weir defended Nelson McCausland in an interview with Belfast Live, claiming the post was not technically advocating for conversion therapy because it did not encourage anyone to seek treatment.
He claimed: “I think that the article that was shared by Nelson was one about the personal testimony of an individual who had found the Lord.
“I think possibly where people have conflated something is where the conversion of somebody to being a Christian has been equated to conversion therapy, which are two completely different things.”
He added: “I noticed a number of representatives have accused Nelson of promoting conversion therapy.
“That clearly shows either they haven’t read the article before they’ve commented on it, or alternatively they are deliberately misreading or misleading people by that article.”
Weir added that it would be a “very dangerous road to go down” to take action over people “sharing their beliefs in the public sphere”, adding: “What happens within anybody’s life or their own thoughts or feelings is a matter really for themselves.”
LGBT+ activists call for resignation over post.
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A petition calling on McCausland to resign, started by Belfast councillor Séamus de Faoite, has attracted more than 3,000 signatures.
It says: “Nelson McCausland, a member of the NI Education Authority’s Board has recently shared articles on his social media pages advocating for so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’.
“This harmful and abusive practice is incompatible with the delivery of education in an inclusive and compassionate Northern Ireland and therefore Mr. McCausland should immediately resign his position on the Education Authority’s Board.”
McCausland denies that the article, which speaks of praying for God to heal “sexual brokenness” and overcoming “same-sex attraction”, was an endorsement of conversion therapy.
“Councillor Tennyson must have misread or misunderstood the article that I posted as it was not about ‘gay conversion therapy’,” McCausland said.
“It was a testimony from The Gospel Coalition website and was in the form of an interview about the life transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.