Ballymena DUP Councillor blames Covid-19 pandemic on same sex marriage and abortion

John Carson remains a member of the DUP

A Ballymena DUP Councillor has blamed the global coronavirus pandemic on same sex marriage and abortion, arguing that “you reap what you sow”.

Carson, who is an elected member of the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, made the comments to his personal Facebook page in response to the pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of over 800,000 people across the globe, and 30 lives here in Northern Ireland.

Alderman Carson, who served as Lord Mayor of Belfast City Council between 1985-86 described how, “[I said] when Abortion was legalised that our nation would be judged by GOD because of its departure from his word and the legalisation of the murder of the unborn child as well as same sex marriage”.

The Councillor is no stranger to controversy, following comments made during the 2019 local elections, where he said ‘not in my name’ in response to the DUP pitching it’s first ever openly Queer candidate, Alison Bennington.

The comments were made on Councillor Carson’s Facebook page

The outburst comes in response to abortions being legislated yesterday in Northern Ireland in response to a Private Members Bill by Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy last year, when the devolved institutions had broke down amidst a public spending scandal due to the controversial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal. Same-sex marriage was also legalised on 13th January following a similar motion brought to the House of Commons by Labour MP Conor McGinn.

Whilst Alderman Carson described abortion as being “available on demand [for] up to 24 weeks”, The Belfast Tab understands that the new framework grants abortion accessibility up until the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy.

Making a plea upon his constituents to, “repent and turn again to the GOD of our Fathers” this is an alternative commentary to the coronavirus outbreak from that of Dáil Éireann Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who previously stated that “coronavirus does not discriminate”.

Similar views to that of Taoiseach Varadkar were echoed by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP and Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, who both have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a tweet, BBC Broadcaster Stephen Nolan described how upon contacting John Carson, he called Nolan a “reprobate” and that he would not appear on the show to have the broadcaster allegedly, “make a fool of me”.

The comments have garnered both criticism and support of Carson’s views online, with a great deal of criticism coming from Twitter.

Responding to the comments, political commentator Brendan Harkin said that, “Using the suffering of many people at the grip of a global pandemic to further demonise those who have been denied marriage equality and reproductive rights is callous and dangerous’.

He added, “John Carson is entitled to practice his faith but using that faith to co-opt a disaster for humanity as a stick with which to beat others with bizarre conspiracy theories is plainly toxic behaviour”.

Building on this, Alliance Party Councillor for the Lagan River ward of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Eóin Tennyson said, “At a time when so many are putting differences aside, pulling together & showing off the best of humanity – this just beggars belief” and that “[the] DUP must take action. Bigotry & hate has no place in politics”.

The comments come with criticism following the DUP’s legacy of voting against same-sex marriage and other legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland as well as consistently denying Abortion as being a healthcare issue, in accordance with their ‘Christian’ ethos.

The DUP and Alderman John Carson were contacted to make a comment prior to this article being published.

Cover Image: Facebook/John Carson