Anyone who knows David Ford knows him to be a person of great depth, a fundamental seriousness, and immense commitment. Commitment to many important things that contribute so much to life here in Northern Ireland. To the Social Services. To the Ministry of Justice. To his constituents. To Alliance. To the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
To any observer, it seems disproportionate and unnecessary that, after a lifetime of service, he is, because of a disagreement over a single issue, being denied the chance to continue to fulfill that last commitment. To anyone who knows Mr. Ford, and knows how much Presbyterianism means to him, it seems disproportionate, unnecessary, reactionary, humiliating and very, very cruel.
It is not the province of this blog to instruct those who hold power in Mr. Ford’s church. Those who wish to function in a reasonably secular public space must grant a reasonable privacy in the religious space.
We would, however, offer, in a genuine absence of rancour, and in a genuine spirit of free and open exchange, the following quotation from a lecture delivered by the Dalai Lama at Harvard University in 1988:
“The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticise others. Rather, we must criticise ourselves. How much am I doing about my anger? About my attachment, about my hatred, about my pride, my jealousy? These are the things which we must check in daily life.”