Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"They breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin." Ian Paisley on Catholics in 1969

Reverend Ian Paisley in 1969

Yikes! Yesterday was July 12, a day in which some British Loyalists in Northern Ireland celebrate William of Orange's victory over Catholic King James II at the "Battle of the Boyne" in 1690. William, King James' nephew and son-in-law was a Protestant and his victory ensured his place as King William III of England, Scotland and Ireland and restored Protestantism to the throne. His wife Mary, was Catholic King James' daughter (of College of William and Mary fame).

Today, the Orange Order commemorates this day every year with parades and celebrations around Northern Ireland and Scotland. Named for William of Orange and founded in 1795, it seems that this organization and its lodges of members was created in order to protect protestants. Incidentally, the Irish flag is Green, representing the 26 counties, Orange, representing the 6 Northern counties with white in the middle representing peace. It is based on the French flag- early revolutionaries such as Theobald Wolfe Tone (a protestant) and Robert Emmet visited France to learn about how they planned their revolution.

July 12th Parade Banner

The Grand Orange Lodge says:

"In 1795, following the culmination of attacks on Protestants in County Armagh at the Battle of the Diamond, in which Protestants routed those who had attacked them and attempted to burn properties, it was decided to form an organisation which would protect Protestants."

The ILOI says:

"An Orange Association was formed in England in 1688 to assist the Prince of Orange in defence of the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England. The Orange Order, as we know it, was formed by the victorious Protestants after the Battle of the Diamond in 1795.

Its aims were to defend Protestantism, Protestant property and the Constitution."

Earlier this year, Tom and I watched a documentary on BBC about the Orangewomen, the Women of the Orange order. They have their own meetings, hierarchy and lodges- and are able to march in the parades only if invited by the men.

I found a posting on from someone who also saw the same documentary:

"I watched the excellent documentary on BBC NI on Monday evening about the Women's Orange Order in the north.
Still alive and thriving today, their rule book forbids mixed marriages.
Most of the members were 50+, with one exception. A pretty lady whose parents are members of their respective Lodges and so too is she.
I thought I was watching a documentary about the FreeMasons in Dublin with all the pomp and ceremony performed at one stage!!
But I came away thinking how sad that these people oppose Catholics marrying Protestants, given they admitted to mixing well with their neighbours.
I thought we had moved on since the Good Friday Agreement but clearly not when it comes to this bigoted view across the north.
When asked if they would support a rule change relating to mixed marriages, those interviewed gave a definitive 'no'.
Obviously, they are still living back in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
Times have moved on.
The young lady interviewed joked that if she ever decided to marry a Catholic she would have to change her partner's religious beliefs and he would agree to bring up their children as Protestants.
Very sad. Because she could just meet a Catholic she is compatible with and likes. And she wouldn't be allowed marry him because of some silly, historically, bigoted rule."

Mural in Belfast

This year, chaos ensued once again as some republicans rioted and threw petrol bombs injuring police. Although it has been 13 years since the Good Friday Agreement, there are still some people who are very angry that Ireland is divided. Fewer still are so angry that they think that violence is way to go. But I am fascinated by those who celebrate on July 12th. It seems so archaic and irrelevant. It appears that people get caught up in the hierarchy and surround themselves with similar small minded people. Let's face it, there is more than one way to express anger.

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