Presbyterian Church and homophobia


Sir, – I refer to the Rite and Reason column and the ongoing and ever-divisive subject of being male and gay within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Steven Smyrl, “Presbyterian Church trying to retrospectively justify homophobia”, Opinion & Analysis, February 23rd).

There are two ways to tackle ever-changing social norms within a secular society. One is to reject it outright, dredge the moat, make it deeper, and heighten the walls to try and make them unassailable.

What, of course, you are doing is isolating yourself until you are eventually ignored as the oddities you will have become.

The second is, as the Church of Scotland has done, is to open its arms to all comers, lower the walls and fill in the moat.

It has done this without ignoring scripture but rather reinterpreting it for the age we live in.

This keeps the Church of Jesus Christ relevant to its people, its believers and its communities.

Somewhere over the past decade the ardent right-wing literalists have taken over the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. This may well go down well in some of the pulpits in the North but it is an anathema to the thinking believers who live openly and honestly in a secular society.

The greatest danger now is an irreparable rift and division, which no one wants.

Pull back from your stridency and see the damage you are doing, or are your walls so high that you cannot see? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Steven Smyrl’s article regarding the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s attitude to same-sex relationships reinforces my feeling that any organisation that tries to limit Jesus’s request that we “love one another” cannot truly be called Christian. – Yours, etc,




Co Tipperary.