In a recent interview with British daily The Guardian, renowned actor Jeremy Irons voiced his opposition to easy divorce and to abortion, which he said is a sin and “harms a woman.”
“Take abortion,” he told The Guardian's Catherine Shoard in an interview published March 24. “I believe women should be allowed to make the decision, but I also think the church is right to say it’s a sin. Because sin is actions that harm us. Lying harms us. Abortion harms a woman — it’s a tremendous mental attack, and physical, sometimes. But we seem to get that muddled. In a way, thank God the Catholic church does say we won’t allow it, because otherwise nobody’s saying that it’s a sin.”
Irons, 67, has been acting on the stage and in film and television since 1969. His breakout role was as Charles Ryder in the 1981 miniseries Brideshead Revisited, and he voiced Scar in The Lion King.
He has won an Academy Award, a Tony, and an Emmy. He is currently cast as the lead in Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night at the Bristol Old Vic.
“Our society is based on a Christian structure,” he told Shoard. “If you take those religious tenets away, then anything goes and it will become terrible — and you usually get into trouble.”
From there he spoke of adultery, saying that while it “might be very nice … finally it [expletive]s us up. And it [expletive]s up the structure of society.”
He affirmed the value of marriage, saying that “yes, you can be in love and raise a family wonderfully by not being married, but actually marriage does give us a strength, because it’s quite hard to get out of, and so it makes us fight more to keep it together. If divorce becomes dead easy — which it sort of has — then we don’t have that backup. Because, for everybody, relationships are hard.”
Irons has himself been married twice: He was briefly married to Julie Hallam in 1969, and has been married to Sinead Cusack since 1978. Cusack and their two sons are Catholic.
Irons' interview with Shoard also touched on his sense of spirituality, with Irons stating his belief that “inanimate objects have a spirit.”
He also discussed his position against Western interventionism, noting that while Assad's regime in Syria “deals with the opposition with great cruelty … there are cruel people, as one sees from Isis, and you’re not going to remove that part of nature from those fanatics at that stage of their civilising development.”
He also suggested that democracy and freedom may not have meaning in Syria: “Yet everybody — especially the Americans — seems to think the only way of life is theirs.”
Irons went on to reflect on democracy in the U.S. itself, saying the current election cycle may signal democracy's end: “If democracy has become a gameshow where you vote for the one who makes you laugh most, or whatever, then we’re not worthy to have the vote,” he said.
On previous occasions, Irons has also spoke out against both gay marriage and the death penalty.