Incoming Presbyterian moderator calls for end to political ‘brinkmanship’

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The incoming moderator of the Presbyterian Church has called for an end to the “brinkmanship” of politics in Northern Ireland.

Dr Charles McMullen from Bangor, Co Down, urged consensus and efforts to create a better future for young people.

Stormont has not sat for months and endless rounds of negotiations have failed to bring about a reconciliation between Sinn Fein  and the DUP.

Dr McMullen said: “Politics should not be played out on the level of brinkmanship, but of finding consensus on this small piece of land we have to share together.

“We need to imagine a better future for our children’s children, confronting our prejudices through tireless efforts of imagination.

“What if our politics were based, to paraphrase Wesley, on doing all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

He addressed the Presbyterian general assembly in Belfast.

Dr McMullen said it was “simply appalling” that attitudes have become so embittered and entrenched following the powersharing impasse.

He said it had an adverse effect on schools, hospitals, businesses, the economy and many victims and survivors.

Meanwhile, the clergyman said the Irish Government should keep its promise to make abortion rare.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said terminations will become “safe, legal and rare”, under draft legislation due to be enacted by around the turn of the year.

Ireland voted overwhelmingly, by a two to one majority, in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

Dr McMullen said: “We are a strongly pro-life Church and the result saddens me personally, having seen the type of legislation the Irish Government now intends to introduce.

“I want to pay tribute to the church leaders and those in our denomination who contributed to the debate with biblical authority, reasoned argument, scrupulous integrity and pastoral sensitivity.

“We can only pray that the Government, as they legislate, will keep the promises made to the electorate to make abortion rare in Ireland.”

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