NI Christian charity trustee compares gay marriage to bestiality

Posted: Wed, 5th Apr 2023

NI Christian charity trustee compares gay marriage to bestiality

The National Secular Society has raised concerns about a new charity whose trustee compared gay marriage to bestiality.

David McLaughlin (pictured), minister and trustee of Carryduff Free Presbyterian Church, made the remarks in a 2015 sermon entitled 'the myth of gay marriage'.

He said same-sex marriage "opens the floodgates" and asked, "could a man get married to his dog or his donkey? Why not?"

The 38 minute sermon came ahead of a motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly to legalise same-sex marriage. It was legalised in 2020.

Charity trustee: Gay people "should not have children"

McLaughlin described homosexuality as "unnatural" and said it is "rooted in lust not love, it's nothing to do with love".

He said homosexuality is "the enemy of the family" and "destroys the family". He added that he agrees "homosexuals should not have children".

Carryduff Church is affiliated with the larger Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, also a registered charity. It calls lawmakers who approved same-sex marriage "legislators of evil". It describes same-sex marriage as "utterly abhorrent" and compares its proponents to "Sodom and its allies".

Carryduff Church is one of 61 Free Presbyterian Churches which registered as charities in February. All are registered under the charitable purpose of 'the advancement of religion'.

Another of these charities, Clogher Valley Free Presbyterian Church, says on its website that "Satan is endeavouring to catch the church" through progressive policies on gay rights and abortion, and that Gay Pride should be "more properly called Gay Shame".

NSS: "Preaching homophobic hate doesn't benefit the public – it harms the public"

The National Secular Society has raised concerns with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The commission's guidance specifies charities' purposes must "be beneficial, not harmful".

In 2021 the commission refused to take action against Core Issues Trust, a Christian charity accused of promoting 'gay conversion therapy'.

The NSS also called for similar reforms in Scotland earlier this month, after the Scottish charity regulator refused to intervene on religious charities promoting misogyny and homophobia.

NSS campaigns officer Alejandro Sanchez said: "It is shocking and disturbing that a church which compares same-sex marriage to bestiality can register as a charity and be exempt from tax.

"Charities should exist for the public benefit. Preaching homophobic hate doesn't benefit the public – it harms the public.

"These charities' views are rooted in the fundamentalist Christianity they exist to promote. The charitable purpose of 'the advancement of religion' needs urgent review. If it is creating a loophole which allows religious organisations to preach anti-gay intolerance while benefiting from charitable status, this is unacceptable and the law needs reform.

"No charity, whatever its ethos, should be allowed to stir up hatred."

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Tags: Charity