Me, Hell, Lesley and Wallace

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I took part in a discussion this morning with two very nice people. It was on BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster’s ‘Sunday Sequence’ (best programme on BBC Raidio Uladh, by the way) and the two very nice people were Wallace Thompson, a former adviser to Nigel Dodds of the DUP, and Rev Lesley Carroll, a Presbyterian minister. They struck me as the kind of people I’d enjoy talking to, on or off a programme. The only problem was that one of them would appear to believe I’m going straight to Hell when I die and the other is, well, a wee bit ambiguous.

I’ll put a link to the programme below, but I’d like if we’d had more time discussing the influence of religious groups on legislators. It’s reported that politicians like Edwin Poots, Nelson McCausland, Jonathan Bell, Diane Dodds, Gregory Campbell and Jim Allister are in sympathy with/responsive to the lobbying of Wallace Thompson. And since he’s a former adviser of Nigel Dodds, maybe he should be added to the list. The comparison has been drawn between Wallace’s Caleb Foundation and the Militant Tendency working within the ranks of the Labour Party, influencing policy. Some people think Wallace’s Caleb Foundation has already surpassed the Orange Order in its influence on unionist politicians. And given that a senior Orangeman formed part of the DUP group at the Haass negotiations, that’s going some.

Should fundamentalist religious groups influence legislators and legislation here? Well as they say, there’s no law against it. Wallace and Co are perfectly entitled to buttonhole Edwin or Nelson or Jonathan or Diane or Gregory or Jim and see if they can shape their thinking to match exactly with the content of the Bible. The catch is, if they’re successful, the people in our society who don’t interpret the Bible literally, or those who don’t believe a word of the Bible – they’re going to be living in a society with laws reflecting the literal Bible.  Even though I know I should be worried about going to Hell, I find myself also worried about living in that kind of society. The catch with those who have theocratic tendencies, as Wallace appears to have, is that they don’t really take into consideration those who have no interest in religious faith, or who are opposed to it, or who have religious faith in sharp contrast with that held by such as Wallace. The difference in thinking is exemplified on the programme where Wallace effectively says Catholics like me are on the way to the fiery pit while he, a saint (his word, not mine) is not.

Once you start thinking about other people as inevitably damned, allowing themselves to be led to their damnation by the Antichrist (that’s the Pope, Virginia – try to keep up, would you?), it’s not too big a leap to think of such people as being…well, a bit inferior. In fact, spiritually speaking, a very big bit inferior. And the walk from spiritually inferior Catholic to politically inferior Fenian scum isn’t really all that long a walk, is it?

Here’s the programme link – our discussion starts at 38 mins 52 secs in:




23 Responses to Me, Hell, Lesley and Wallace

  1. Barry Doherty January 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Ah Jude, these same people see no problem starting a sentence, ” what God meant to say was” and how does one rationally interact with that level of arrogance ?

    • Jude Collins January 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      You may say that, bd. I couldn’t possibly comment…

  2. a anderson January 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Jude, when I heard Wallace Thompson in that interview my blood ran cold. It was so scary to think in this day and age that people think like this.
    I commend you for your measured reply but I don’t think being measured gets across to these people the anger that they arouse.

    On another note I wish you had kept the tick boxes, (maybe even expanded them) that you had on your previous website.

    • Jude Collins January 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks for comment, aa. My No 2 Son designed this one. I’ll inform him of his design omission. Go raibh maith agat.

  3. Argenta January 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    “One of them would appear to believe I’m going straight to Hell when I die and the other is,well a wee bit ambiguous “.For those of us who have still to listen to the broadcast ,you have clearly outlined the thinking behind Wallace Thompsons beliefs.Could you perhaps summarise what the Rev Carroll was saying in the discussion ?By commenting that she was “ambiguous ” seems to imply a lack of charity on her behalf.Surely it’s presumptuous of anyone to suggest where individuals might end up in the next life.

  4. Jude Collins January 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Go on, Argenta – make the effort and listen. It’s all good stuff… I cited Chapt 25 Sect 6 of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Wallace had no problem with that, Lesley was unhappy with it but accepted it (I think). No one said ‘Collins, you’re on skid-marks to Hell’ but it was pointed out that the Catholic Church was not a Christian Church and that it was led by the Anti-Christ. So my prospects appear not particularly rosy.

  5. pretzellogic January 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I would imagine Jude that you are in agreement with quite a few of the Caleb Foundation’s views and if you’re not, you certainly reminded us in a previous piece that Pope Francis was. In fact a lot of their views seem to be christian teaching with all it’s dogma. You’re right about the dangers of these people influencing government legislation. Could you imagine an Ireland like that ? We wouldn’t be allowed to read books or go to plays and have to content ourselves with the pretty colleens dancing at the crossroads.

  6. Pointis January 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    It really shows the double standards in our society where it was sensationalised in the media when Ian Paisley referred to Mr Robinson as the “beast” but there is not an eyelid batted when Wallace Thompson calls the Pope the “anti-Christ” another name for the “beast”. Yes I know he is just stating what many thousands of people here subscribe to but it does allow outsiders to see why “some” people here find it so difficult to live and work together!

    Let’s be honest the whole thing boils down to the Westminster confession of faith which states the Pope is the anti-Christ and Catholics are in fact by definition the “devil’s disciples”.

    Would you like your daughter to marry a Devils disciple or indeed would you like to live beside them?

    I think proponents of the Westminster Confession of faith should be challenged openly in the media to support their position the way John Brown challenged preachers in the American Deep South who claimed blacks should be slaves as they were not even men as referred to in the bible.

    This is the root of our problems here!

  7. giordanobruno January 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    What they believe is clearly childish nonsense though I’m afraid your a la carte version is really not that different. How does one decide which bits are to be believed and which jettisoned.
    Anyway that of course is your business and at least you don’t wish to impose it on the rest of us.
    Having said that many who are anti-abortion clearly feel the human foetus from the moment of conception possesses a soul which must be protected
    Now I know you are not in favour of legalised abortion on demand and I wonder if you are ascribing a soul to the foetus?
    Do you agree that this is another example of superstitious people trying to impose their beliefs on society?
    By the way is that ’12 years without a shave’ worth going to see? I’m very busy.

    • Jude Collins January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      No, Gio, I’m against killing human beings, as I think I mentioned before. And it was ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ I said I was going to see, not the ungrammatical ’12 (sic) Years A Slave’. Or twelve without a shave either. You witty devil.

      • giordanobruno January 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

        Fair enough. I’m not trying to get into the issue of abortion per se. It’s just I had the impression your religious belief informed your opinion on how a human being is defined.
        It does seem to be another area where religious groups are trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of society.
        I’m sorry I got the movie wrong. Hope you enjoyed it anyway.

  8. Navanman January 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    To add to this dangerous element of their religious beliefs is the link between religion and national identity/politics ie Protestantism=British which is good. Catholics=Irish which is bad. As the changing demographics start to speed up change these fundamentalists are going to struggle. A good example of this is with Ian Paisley in 2007. He did not prepare his people for what he was about to do so when the deal happened they were unable to adjust and understand what he was doing. Good communication with these people is imperative (they wont agree with the changes) but it still needs to be done to try and reduce the shock to their system when say north Belfast goes green or M McGuinness becomes FM.

  9. Stranger Still January 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I hope that Wallace fellow didn’t hurt your feelings too badly, Jude.
    Here in Canada, the Evangelicals are pretty harmless, being few in number. I sat on a train once next to an evangelical. He told all about his spiritual journey, and how at certain points he thought he was a Christian, only to later realize he really was not a Christian at all. I asked this fella on the train if he, in fact, figured that most people who considered themselves Christians were not really Christians. He mumbled something affirmative, although he suspected I was trying to box him in or something.
    I told him that I also felt that only a small percentage of those who strive to be Christians are anything of the sort. I even quoted Nietzche’s line about there only ever having been one true Christian. He found that interesting.
    Christian/ notta Christian? Who is to say?
    Holy Catholic Church/ Mystery Shop? Who’s to say?
    I certainly hope you don’t burn in Hell, Jude. Try not to worry too much about it.

  10. ANOTHER JUDE January 27, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    The elephant in the room is the blatantly sectarian anti Catholic laws which govern Britain. They are hardly ever mentioned, last time they were wee Donaldson/O`Donnell was practically telling the crown they could not do anything about them. I am a Republican but unlike some I refuse to be a self loathing Catholic. I am happy to be one and the DUP and co. should just accept that. Some of the people who call into Radio Six County Statelet regularly insult the Church and her members, talking about massacres carried out in the Seventeenth Century and they are NOT talking about Cromwell, aka Paisley`s hero.

  11. neill January 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Jude Hell would spit you out for being to difficult!

  12. neill January 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Hell wouldnt be able to contain you Jude!

  13. NorthMunsterman January 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Thanks for that Jude – one of the things that people in this part of the country fail to realize is what Northern Nationalists have to listen to and live with on a daily basis…..simply beyond belief.

    The good news is that the people you met no longer can dictate terms to Nationalists in the north-east of the country. By 2020, Nationalists will be the majority and by 2030, the unionist community could well dip below the 40% mark, so the game is pretty much up, even at this stage.

    Not very nice to be telling people they are damned just because they hold different views to you – and not very clever if the people you claim are damned, just happen to be the majority.

    Time for these people to wise up.

  14. chris flynn January 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    Someone should remind these people that pretending to know the mind of god is a very serious sin…..When dealing with people that are living in a time warp,sexualy ,polictialy and solicaly one should not engage in their madness but express pity for them living a totally repressed lifestyle.I would love to know what a pycoligist would make off them….

  15. Ryan January 28, 2014 at 12:09 am #


    I had the misfortune to catch quite a bit of that show while driving. I am deeply saddened that a man such as Wallace has been given airtime.

    I thought you came across quite well, its a terrible thing when i find myself agreeing with you so often! 🙂 You did seem a bit peeved at Rev Carrol who was blatantly suggesting you read between the lines of what she was saying to suggest that she thinks the WCF is a crock of shit… Presbyterians have long had distaste for that document.

    While Wallace wouldnt be tied down to any specifics (conveniently) I thought it was rather hypocritical that he thought it okay to be on a radio show broadcast on a Sunday.

    Thankfully, he and his ilk will die out before too long, the last thing this country needs is someone trying to tell us what to do because of his imaginary friend.

  16. Den Duffin January 28, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    No TV on a sunday, well at least we will be spared songs of praise.

  17. paddykool January 28, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Obviously there is no evidence required for a faith in a supreme being, yet civilizations build laws and structures around the fear of cosmic reprisal, or otherwise, at life’s end. ”Faith” being an insurance policy that is never cashed in. It is the perfect use of fear. Humans are compliant in it. Some people need their gods whether they exist or not. The problem is that all of our world troubles have their core in these fantasies .None more so than in Ireland.

    My feeling is that all the religions and gods are products of our inventive human imaginations..None of them actually pass much scrutiny. We end up in a scenario of life -after -death, souls, heavens, hells, and sometimes purgatory and limbo…all based on the arrogance as top predator that we are somehow better than the mere animals that simply die and turn to dust in the end…[or maybe heaven is full of all those turkeys we ate!] We are all products of parental or societal indoctrination from birth.. I could go on but I figured this out for myself when I was about fifteen and have seen no evidence in this past forty five years or more to change my mind in any way . stuff like this latest gaffe in Newtownabbey or the virgin chasing bombers of 9/11 and the Twin Towers only confirm this view.

  18. steve February 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    What a backwards man Wallace Thompson is. Chilled me to the bone to hear his maniacal views. Lesley was a lot more balanced.

  19. Robert February 26, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Why is the pope called the anti-Christ?
    According to the Bible in 1 John 2: 22;
    ‘Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ’.
    Which popes deny that Jesus is the Christ? They are supposed to subscribe to the Nicene Creed, in which it is clear that Jesus is the Christ.
    Does the Westminster Confession contradict the Bible?