Bigoted Brethren

Some elements of unionism seem not to have even the limited brains Dawson Bailey was born with. Had grey matter been present even in small quantities post-Holy Cross, the debacle of seriously silly own goals might have taken a backseat. It was not to be. If there is any group more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory it is the Orange Order.

Attending a funeral would appear to be a civilised course of action. Not long back Martin McGuinness turned up for the funeral of Iris Robinson’s father and was made welcome by Free Presbyterian officials on the day. Doubtless, in some church hall in the bowels of Sandy Row, a few enraged bigots cursed the event and shook their fists at their devil hijacked television screens amidst undertakings that they would gouge their own eyes out if they took another peek at proceedings.

Decency it seems, like Maryfield and much else that has happened since 1985 is a satanic design purpose built to encroach on the lives of good law-abiding, god-fearing, devil-hating Protestants who daily go about the work of the lord, hating with a perfect hate. Now as always within the Orange Order there lurks a strain of hatred and irrationality immune to everything society has learned since the Enlightenment. For all the brightness that the colour orange conjures up there is never much light emitting from the Orange Order which continues to be home to some of the more overt strains of backwardness and bigotry.

Tom Elliot and Danny Kennedy, leader and deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party respectively are, in what Trevor Ringland rightly calls a PR disaster’, to be disciplined for attending the funeral of the young British police officer Ronan Kerr who was unpardonably cut apart by armed republicans on an Omagh street earlier in the year. That Elliot through his own ‘scum’ accusing political discourse, may have sharpened the teeth of the orange mouth that is coming back to bite him is a discussion for another day.  His current view that ‘I do not believe it was any sin or crime to go to the funeral of a murdered police officer’ is not one shared in the holy dens of Sandy Row Orangeism.

Bigotry runs so deep that the Sandy Row Lodge responsible for initiating the complaint against both unionist politicians - on the grounds that they ‘sold their principles for political expediency’ - took no consideration of the fact that Ronan Kerr died in the full service of the British state. He was a British police officer in a British police force defending the constitutional status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. This was insufficient in the eyes of the loyal Sandy Row brethren. To them he was a Catholic, a mere second class citizen whose funeral should have been shunned. This was a virulent strain identified by Kate Carroll whose PSNI husband was shot dead in Lurgan 2 years ago: ‘I'm saddened to see that people still have this mentality whereby Catholics seem to be the second-class citizens.’

If the Orange Order was to punish people for attending a Jewish funeral it would be hit with every charge in the anti-Semitic handbook. Yet here there are some still prepared to make excuses for it, explain its actions as those of fools playing silly buggers, or that it has ‘nothing to do with bigotry, all to do with reformed theology.’

Brian Kennaway, once a senior figure in the Order, was having little truck with such perspectives, referring to the disciplinary action as ‘an embarrassment.’

Multitudes of Orangemen through Ireland either attend marriage ceremonies or funerals. They see it as paying their respects and as their duty. The vast majority of people, including the leadership, are embarrassed by this.

But the vast majority of people including Orange leaders are not members of Sandy Row’s St Simon's Church Total Abstinence LOL 821. And as Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly implies the leadership cannot evade responsibility. He points out that the real issue is the rulebook governing behaviour of the Orange Order. ‘By having these anti-Catholic rules, the Orange Order is showing that it is clearly a sectarian organisation.’ Such sentiment cannot be dismissed as a cheap shot from the usual suspects. Tom Elliot baldly states ‘attempts by the Orange Order to rebrand itself as a cultural organisation are completely discredited while they retain sectarian rules.’

In the debate about the past there is always the question of how far we want to go back. In this case, the 17th century.


  1. The qualifications of an orangeman barr attendance at any non reformed christian worship, orthodox, hindu, muslim, roman catholic angst is actually no different to what it's taught in the free p, baptist or other evangelical church. Indeed the Evangelical Protestant Society has afb article outlining why Peter Robinson should not have attended worship where the mass is given. It's a sensitive issue especially at a funeral but the issue is about endorsing worship which your own faith deems to be leading others away from salvation. The evangelical denominations will make anyone welcome as the gospel us for everyone but they won't attend worship where the need to get saved isn't preached, they would go to the wake instead to pay their respects

  2. Sorry for the typos - predictive text on the phone. The Evangelical Protestant Society article on this issue can be found here (scroll down a little) :

    The issue isn`t bigotry but theology - many government ministers in the republic attended wakes or funerals but stayed outside Church of Ireland churches during the actual service for similar theological reasons.

  3. this is the actual crux of where the Sandy row lodge is coming from `he should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome and other Non-Reformed faiths, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Roman Catholic or other non-Reformed Worship;` - the fatal errors part being the important part.

  4. Isn't this the same 'Total Abstinence' lodge that has a bar in its Orange hall?

  5. Hardly just Sandy Row. Don't forget the farmer(almost certainly a Unionist) telling Rihanna to cover up and find her greater god. Not being from Ireland,I have never met anyone from a Unionist/Loyalist background, but I wonder if I am missing much. They all seem frighteningly conservative right wing and humorless.

  6. Kilsally,

    religion itself is the fatal error. I don't believe any amount of giving bigots cover detracts from what they do.

    Belfast Gonzo,

    you have it all wrong. they only abstain from liking Catholics, not boozing.

  7. Kilsally
    Are you really implying that your average Orangeman is so weak of spirit and self control that an hour spent at a Catholic Requiem Mass will turn him to Catholicism.A Catholic wedding will be enough to damn his soul for eternity.Just be honest , they are bigots through and through and no amount of theological claptrap will excuse their behaviour whether it involves non attendance at Catholic Services or their continued insistence to hold their triumphalistic marches through areas they are clearly not welcome in because of their sectarian beliefs and views.

  8. section 408 - that is the traditional teaching of the Protestant denominations - the Orange Order per se does not have any teachings. If you look around the internet you will find many evangelical denominations around the world preaching the same thing ( try . But you have picked it up wrong - it is not the Orangeman`s salvation that is behind the rule(and many Orangemen are not saved and don`t go to church..but thats another matter)- it is about endorsing the other persons `fatal errors` - the point of staying away from other forms of worship - RC, Muslim, Hindu is out of love for the other people as the Christian should also be preaching the need to get saved to those other people - it is out of concern for the other peoples salvation. By attendance the thinking is that you lead other astray by endorsing the likes of purgatory, baptismal regeneration, transubstantiation and other `fatal errors` (in the case of Roman Catholicism)

  9. Kilsally
    Thats even more nonsense.Its Christian Fundamentalist claptrap.Bigots are bigots.Do you honestly think that your common or garden Orangeman would stay away from any other religious ceremony because he is wishing to save the celebrants from themselves.Have you actually ever met an Orangeman ? Please don't reply because if I have to read anymore from you that will be part of my life wasted which I will never get back.May your God go with you as Dave Allen used to say but please don't go praying for my soul.I'll take my chances that there is no God or Gods.

  10. Section 408,

    'Its Christian Fundamentalist claptrap.'

    That is how it read to me

  11. section 408 - I am an Orangeman (and to be honest you would be lucky to get me in an Anglican service these days let alone a Muslim or Hindu service on the same basis) and no it is not Christian fundamentalism - it is derived from basic Reformed Theology as found in the Anglican 39 articles, Presbyterian / Baptist Westminster confessions and as taught by John Calvin, John Knox and other reformers.

  12. Mackers,
    it is religious fundamentalist claptrap don't know about the Christian part of it though.
    Definitely would not fancy straying across any of them tanked up with theology and booze, doubt if any unfortunates ever survived that one.

  13. Nuala,

    once religion enters the fray I either switch off or take a swing at it.

  14. Kilsally,

    Thanks for reminding me why I don't believe in any religion. Thank God I'm an atheist!!!

  15. Thing is with these Orange eejets, when they'd be expected to sit at peace, respectively like somebody normal in a Catholic church, and even pretend to listen like the Catholics there, shock horror!!! They want nothing to do with the lot of us.

    But when they can have a good aul march and blatttter big aul drums, they can't get enough of us, can't leave us alone. Up then down your street, in the front door and up the stairs and around your bathroom if they could get away with it, with you there on your bog, caught on lovely with your rosery beeds out. Fuckin Head Cases!!!

  16. and yeah, when they're not referring to people as Taigs, why do they always insist on ROMAN Catholic, is there another type of unclean that I'm not aware of. Bloody Orangeies!!!

  17. Ruairi Joseph,

    what makes this so funny is that it is so true

  18. Ruairi calling people `taig` is not compatible with the qualifications of an Orangeman and despite what Nuala infers I do not drink alcohol at all. and as to `Roman Catholic`. hThe Anglican church and others also refer to themselves as being Catholic so there is more than one type hence `roman`.

  19. The point is the Orange Order is not even remotely unique in this regards. Indeed at my great aunts funeral to the Presbyterian church a hindu couple and some Roman Catholics (some went in, others did not) followed the cortege but stayed outside the church whilst the service was on.

  20. kilsally

    Dude maybe its just what you need, a good aul piss up, take a wee break from all that order. God will forgive you, infact he'll probably not even notice. Must be the best thing about not being a Catholic, you can always count on us to take the bad look off you, when you get upstairs.

    And thanks for clearing up the Roman thing, because Ardoyne and Ballymurphy are full of Anglicans.

  21. Kilsally

    Roman = Foreign, that's the only reason it's used.