That this Assembly endorses the principle of the extension to Northern Ireland of a number of provisions within the Policing and Crime Bill, by amendment at Lords Committee and Lords Report stage, in so far as they related to UK maritime enforcement powers; UK cross-jurisdictional arrest powers; anonymity for victims of forced marriage and pardons for convictions of certain abolished offences.
The final part of this motion included “pardons for convictions of certain abolished offences” and was an amendment that had been introduced to the Policing and Crime Bill at the committee stage in the House of Lords by Lord Sharkey of the Liberal Democrats. This amendment appears to have been fast-tracked through the Justice Committee to be presented before the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In light of this plan to posthumously pardon those convicted of homosexual offences the following statement was issued-
On Monday, the issue of pardons for those convicted of homosexual offences was brought before the Northern Ireland Assembly. While the Justice Minister Claire Sugden may view this as “an opportunity for the criminal justice system to try and right the wrongs of the past”, the Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality and all sexual relationships outside the pattern of Biblical marriage of one man and one woman are forbidden by the Law of God.
This policy has been introduced to appease the LGBT community, but we fear they will never be satisfied until they have everything their own way.
The truth is that while some may be happy with a pardon from a government, the question of eternal forgiveness and pardon still needs to be dealt with. This is something no government can offer no matter how powerful they deem themselves to be. Our sin is an offence before God and as such can only be pardoned by Him.
We are told in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The motion on the day was opposed only by Mr Allister of the TUV while sadly many others remained silent.
Five attempts have been made in Northern Ireland to redefine marriage and make it that which is repugnant to a Holy God. We thank and commend all who have been instrumental in defeating these plans and acknowledge the bad press they receive for doing so.
Given the track record on this issue we have to wonder at the silence of the 28th of November and state –
The Government and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster is deeply grieved and bitterly disappointed by the failure of MLAs at Stormont to oppose the passing of the motion granting a posthumous pardon for those convicted of historical homosexual offences.
This has saddened and grieved many Christians, but most of all grieved the God of heaven in whose eyes this is still a heinous sin.
Proverbs 14:34: Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.