The last time I passed comment on the Irish family Robinson, I was slated in some of the comments that followed after Iain Dale linked to my post. However, today with the full revelation from Iris and response from Peter I feel that some further comment needs to be made.
First off I agree with Iain that Peter looked to be on the verge of a breakdown during his interview earlier. What I'm amazed by is that he has been able to carry on without any hint of this since 1 March last year. Therefore unlike Iain I think he has had 9 months to get used to the fact that his wife has had an affair, the frame of mind for the interview was just a matter of saying something very hard in a public domain. Something that touches the very person of who you are. It was a brave thing for him to have done rather that just leave a statement.
Iris's statement does through up some unanswered questions in the detail. Not that I'm expected her to answer these just now. She says that the affair started over a year and a half ago. Therefore in term of Iris's own history, with myself and other people who have commented on her this is before she said that gays should seek psychiatric help. It is also before Peter backed her up by saying that the bible called it an abomination.
Of course Peter was just being the good DUP Christian that he was in referencing Leviticus 20:13, however 3 verses earlier we have.
"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Lev. 20:10 (New American Standard Version)But as Peter shows there is more to being a Christian that the Old Testament. Indeed in his own words he says:
"Iris sought my forgiveness, she took responsibility upon herself alone for her actions and I have forgiven her. More important, I know that she has sought and received God's forgiveness."
Now is not the time for the gay community in Northern Ireland, or elsewhere, to take a stand against Iris or the Robinson family. Now is a time for her healing and recovery. But a time will come when the practical example of Peter not to take Old Testament Levitical law literally, especially with such proximity to that of his views on homosexuality must come to bear. Peter also needs time to get over the hard task he underwent today. He says he will be back at his desk tomorrow, good for him I say, if he (and indeed his wife) is ready to do that then that is where he should be.
However, the fact that the first couple of Northern Ireland politics have been seen as fallible, may actually in the long run turn out to be a breakthrough point in the Northern Irish LGBT situation.
Now I know that some will feel that none of the above needed to be said. But having seen some of the reaction over the last few hours I think that there most certainly are parts of this for both sides of the debate that need to be said now, while the thought is fresh. It isn't meant to hurt anyone but to bookmark lessons for the future.
Some of you who have not be raised in Northern Ireland will not realise the sway that biblical teaching has over every aspect of your live. It can be used as a hammer against you, but everyone eventually cracks and then they realise that there is hope, a word also used by Peter Robinson about the future of his life with Iris.
Once again I wish Iris a full recovery from her depression, she is clearly taking some of the steps along the way and being honest about the things that led to or resulted of of that is one of those steps.