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Is the British government about to be held hostage by head-banging biblical fundamentalists?

19 June 2017

1:31 PM

19 June 2017

1:31 PM

Forgive the inflammatory headline, but that’s the conclusion that millions of Britons have drawn from media descriptions of the DUP.

Mainland commentators seem unable to make any distinction between the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by the late Ian Paisley, and his small Free Presbyterian sect, which is indeed influenced by American fundamentalism.

We know the DUP is against abortion and gay marriage. But are its members also creationists who think the world was created 6,000 years ago?

In this week’s Holy Smoke podcast, Cristina Odone and I talk to Jon Anderson, a Northern Irish writer specialising in religious and political sectarianism. He lays some myths to rest. For example, the DUP is not the main party of the Orange Order. And its current leader, like the British PM, is an Anglican.

You may not like the DUP – but that isn’t an excuse to caricature its members as savagely as the English press once mocked Irish Catholics. You can hear our fascinating discussion here:

And if you enjoyed that conversation, do subscribe on iTunes for a new episode every other Monday.

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