From their ranks have come those senior managers in the North’s power splitting executive who believe the world was somehow created 6000 odd years ago – long after the Giants Causeway was formed - and others who have track record of wanting parks and leisure centres closed on a Sunday in observance of some ancient guy they call The Lord.
So, when the North's health minister, Jim Wells, links gay households to child abuse, whatever cause it might give for alarm there are certainly no grounds for shock or surprise. It is not without precedent. Erstwhile DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots, another Young Earth Creationist, displayed his anathema towards both the gay community and those in dire need of blood when he prohibited gays from donating blood.
With thinking not cerebrally produced, Wells is unlikely to persuade those people who have thought seriously about what it actually means to be gay with his acerbic barbs that ‘you don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused and neglected.’
What a tosser. What an abuser of a child's right to a loving environment. What a shoddy incumbent of public office, even if the office is as inconsequential as one of the North’s micro ministries. Wells later apologised, although arguably more in keeping with protecting his political skin and less because he is contrite about his attitude towards gay people - something that did not go unnoticed by the BBC’s Gareth Gordon:
Mr Wells' apology might have cut more ice with the critics if it had not been preceded a few hours earlier with a non apology issued through the party press office at 11 minutes past midnight.
Although the First Minister and DUP leader, Peter Robinson, has stood by his man (for now) Wells has come in for much criticism as the effects of his jaundiced opinion ripple through to the most senior echelons of the British government, with Nick Clegg saying:
Those comments have lifted the lid on some really unpleasant views. The mask has slipped. I’ve been warning for weeks that while, of course, we should be alarmed about the prospects of Ed Miliband dancing to the tune of Alex Salmond, we should be equally alarmed at the prospect of a hapless David Cameron, minority Conservative administration, dancing to the tune of Nigel Farage, the right wing of his own party and some of these truly, truly, backward looking views from the DUP.
Tensions have also emerged within the executive with Robinson's 2IC, Martin McGuinness arguing that the Wells incumbency in the health portfolio is “no longer tenable". And that while he had apologised:
those words will ring hollow when judged against the DUP's opposition to marriage equality, its support for a ban on blood donations from gay men and opposition to adoption by gay couples.
Even if there are many who think McGuinness himself rings hollow in many of his public pronouncements his suggestion that Wells should stand down is much better than some other approaches being adopted.
Of much more alarm that anything Wells might said is the fact that Thought Police Service of Northern Ireland are now investigating the thoughts of Jim Wells after some censorious member of the public, who obviously thinks it is good that the police monitor, police and suppress opinion, reported Wells.
Obnoxious and as offensive as his views are they are they should not be censored. Wells should not be investigated by the police nor should he be prosecuted. The intellectual health of society is threatened much less by the buffoon of a health minister, than it is by the police having the power to control what is thought and said.
The Northern public knows the antidote to the Jim Wells toxicity. The backlash from the audience Wells was speaking to at the time of his slur was described by the editor of the Down Recorder, Paul Symington, who chaired the event on the night.
You can tell by the recording that the vast majority of the audience members were outraged ... The debate was reasonably good tempered up until that point, but once he made those remarks there was a pretty big backlash.
The backlash against the Thought Police Service of Northern Ireland should be just as vociferous.