Time for Orange to change tune

Dr John Coulter with his July 1st, 2013 copy from the Irish Daily Star.

The Orange Order must celebrate its so-called Christian roots by  marking today's Mini Twelfth by playing only Gospel hymns at contentious flashpoints.

July 1 commemorates the anniversary of the opening day of the bloody Battle of the Somme during World War One when the British suffered more than 50,000 men killed, wounded or missing.

While the Orange Order has hijacked many Somme memorial events, Catholics and Protestants were slaughtered side by side by German machine-gunners.

This is probably because 1 July was the original date of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 under the old Roman calendar. It changed to the Gregorian calendar of 12 July in 1752.

But what the Orange really needs to return to is the roots of The Qualifications – the oath which a man swears upon joining the Order.

This oath states members of the exclusively Protestant order "should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome".

They swear this during an initiation ceremony known as 'Riding The Goat', a ritual which makes the Order opposed by even hardline Protestant fundamentalists.

Also in the oath, an Orangeman must swear to be "ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic brethren".

The problem for the Orange lodges is not the behaviour of its members on the march, but in many cases, the music being played by bands accompanying the Order.

The Order simply telling bands to play Gospel hymn tunes when passing Catholic chapels or nationalist flashpoints is not the solution.

Many sectarian lyrics have been written to the music of Christianhymns and choruses. What may seem to nationalists a Gospel tune as a blood and thunder loyalist flute band passes by is actually a sectarian song.

One of the greatest Christian hymns is 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus'. But its tune is also that of the sectarian chant, Holy Mary – 'Holy Mary I am dying, just a word before I go; set the Pope upon a table and ram a poker up his hole.'

The overwhelming majority of Protestant Sunday School children will learn the Gospel chorus, 'Jesus Loves Me, This I Know'.

But its loyalist lyrics are: "Jesus loves me this I know, 'cause I come from Sandy Row, walkin' up and down the Falls, kickin Fenians in the balls."

Another popular children's Christian chorus is 'Give Me Joy In My Heart, Keep Me Praising.'
But to the loyalist tune the words are: "Give me bullets for my gun keep me shooting, keep me shooting all the Taigs in the IRA."

To avoid this situation, the Orange Order must draw up a list of approved Gospel hymns which have not been hijacked by extreme loyalist lyric writers.

For example, the rapidly growing cross-community Pentecostal movement is virtually the only Christian faith increasing in Ireland while other denominations are losing vast numbers from their pews.

The Pentecostalists – also known as the Elim – have introduced a whole series of new Gospel praise songs called Hill Songs, which originated in Australia. Music and praise are at the heart of these Hill Songs and the lyrics are overtly Christian.

By all means hammer out the Sash and Derry's Walls in loyalist  areas, but if the Order is to be seen as truly Christian, its' bands should only play Hill Songs – especially outside chapels and Catholic districts.

Better still, the Orange should follow the model of success of the famous Donegal Dander to Rossnowlagh beach on the Saturday before each 12 July.

Hymn tunes are the order of the day as Orangeism portrays itself as Christian family organisation; no political speeches, just enjoyment and a Gospel service.

If the Order does not revamp its music, its image will revert to its roots in the violent Peep O'Day militia which openly attacked Catholics.


  1. John,

    I recall some of these tunes from my day as a teenage Glentoran supporter. Both Glens and Blues supporters would sing them at the games particularly Holy Mary which had a very peculiar lilt to it that was quite catchy.

    On the goat riding people might be a tad reluctant to sing that and upset the religious types. Theo Van Gogh used to slag off the fundamentalist Mus men that they were goatfuckers and he ended up decapitated, or almost, on the streets of Amsterdam. At a post death celebration of his life he had ordered two stuffed goats put on stage just in case anyone 'felt the urge.'

  2. John I think they should stop pretending they are something they are most certainly not,their are neither christian in their respect of their neighbours ,as for abstaining from drugs and alcohol yeah right those pictures from Woodvale and the mountain of empty beer cans collected after the" twalth every year "dispel that myth,they are hypocrites and bigots with a spoilt brat attitude,Merv Gibson and the other mouthpieces should have been scooped for incitement,which we all know wont happen.until the governments stop facilitating this farce year on year and pull the plug on this needless drain on the meagre finances on the public purse then we are doomed to revisit this circus without sand for many years to come.their tunes are as ridiculous as their so called leadership.Anyway to the tune of the sash.."On the green grassy slopes of Ardoyne,,where the IRA we did join.....

  3. Anyway John I,d rather ride a goat than some of those hags wrapped up in butchers aprons...

  4. As you say, Dr Coulter, It doesn't matter what tune they play, There is always alternative bigot words belted out by fueld (Drunk) Orange men and women.

    They have never changed and never will. Don't they get the message? , There not wanted in National Areas Swearing and dancing to Very Crude and bigoted words , yet supposedly playing christian hymns, the leaders of the orange order know and condone all of it, It just shows how Bigoted the Orange ladership is. They can shout and roar all they want in there own areas, because there is nothing Christian about the Orange Order.

  5. Itsjustmacker,

    I think there is everything Christian about the Orange Order. Because this is what much of Chritianity spends its time doing. A lot of it is a theology of domination laced with intolerance. When I hear of a Christian I instinctively think 'threat to somebody's rights'. The term merely sets in motion a whole chain of negative connotations for me.

  6. From Mary Marshall:

    John Coulter you r a porch mason Go figure

    If it is not the witch it is the bitch Religious Ireland looks like this

    Two heads of the same beast: Scientific racism and institutionalised religion.

  7. Anthony a cara in hindsight I should have said that there is everything christian about the orange order,shafting their neighbours ,lying,adoration of a strange wee man,the sword and the bible hand in hand ,yes a cara as you pointed out truly all very very christian,which makes me glad I for one am not.

  8. "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
    Mahatma Gandhi
    The above quote says it all John.

  9. I look forward to the day when SF get the border poll and the Loyalists with Brit backing shaft democracy again and repartition into a wee Orange Gaza strip type area on the north east coast with Belfast as their Jerusalem. At least that will remove their pathetic parades from the rest of the country. Bring it on.

  10. Larry,

    think you are right on this. Repartition is an option they will certainly go for. Nationalists could go for it in advance and make the things administratively diabolical

  11. Mackers

    In their entire history here since plantation, unlike the Anglo-Norman Irish, the planters have had no interest in being Irish or integrating for the greater good. Their political DNA is an ugly entity.

    Republicanism by its nature was a sop to them. That political vehicle is antiquated and only goes to destination failure. Why bother trying to jump-start it?

    I would suggest if SF think they are heading for a soft-landing into a united Ireland with a border poll they are even bigger fools than the Brits are currently taking them for. Prod RUC and prod control still rules the wee north. SF will walk the nationalists into another Goulding and Johnston type balls-up.