Parades violence does NOT display the CORE VALUES of the Orange or Black Institutions.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND
4th June 2014
Moderator, members of Assembly. I wish to speak in support of Resolution 22a.
I joined the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland in 1964. I did so after much prayer and reflection. I reflected on the core values of the Orange Order as revealed in their written documents, the Qualifications and the BASIS.
The core values which I deduced from those documents were:
1. BROTHERHOOD – By its nature the Institution is a ‘fraternity’
2. RELIGIOUS PIETY- The Qualifications of an Orangeman state:-
“An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father;”
3. CIVIC AWARENESS – The BASIS of the Institution makes that clear –
“The Institution is composed of Protestants, united and resolved to the utmost of their power to support and defend . . . the Laws of the Realm,”
4. CIVIL & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY – It promotes the ideals of Liberty and the values of the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
5. TOLERANCE – The BASIS of the Institution affirms:-
” and will not admit into its brotherhood persons whom an intolerant spirit leads to persecute, injure, or upbraid any man on account of his religious opinions.”
THESE ARE THE CORE VALUES OF ORANGEISM – gleaned from what the Institution says about itself. These are the values which I embraced in 1964 and still embrace today – as do multitudes of Orangemen who occupy our pews Sunday by Sunday and offer leadership to our Church through the Eldership. Some of whom are members of this house.
Moderator – as I have travelled throughout this island explaining the Orange Order I have also emphasised the CORE VALUES of the Institution. When I was invited to Republican West Belfast some years ago to address a representative assembly of Residents Groups, I did not hesitate.
I emphasised that the Orange Institution today expresses its Religious basis, on its Website, as being: “Christ-centred, Bible-based, Church-grounded. By it we are moulded in character and conduct.”
After answering questions at the conclusion of the presentation one Residents Group leader from Belfast made this telling remark:
‘Mr Kennaway, I am out opposing Orange Parades, but if I saw the Orange Order which you portray as expressed in its core values, I would support its right to parade as an institution that is truly Church-grounded, Christ-centred and Christian-based.’
While the vast majority public parades by both the Orange Institution and Royal Black Institution throughout our land create no difficulties whatsoever – there are some, particularly in Belfast, which have the capacity of turning our community into chaos.
Some of these parades do NOT display the CORE VALUES of the Orange or Black Institutions.
What kind of CIVIC AWARENESS is being displayed when an Orangeman takes a ceremonial sword to the head of a Policeman or when police officers are attacked and significant amounts of money are spent policing a demonstration/protest about a legally taken decision?
What kind of TOLERANCE is being displayed when, as the Belfast Black passed St Patrick’s on 31 August 2013, the Priest had to stop saying Mass because of the noise of a passing parade? No apology has been received.
What kind of Christian values are being expressed where the behaviour of those on parade is expressly intended to be insulting? It may be an expression of CULTURE but it is not Christian culture.
What kind of RELIGIOUS PIETY is being displayed by the nightly abuse of police officers at Twaddell Avenue?
What this resolution does is to repeat the sentiments of previous resolutions of the General Assembly – “urge[ing] those who parade and those who protest to abide by lawfully taken “determinations” of the Parades Commission”.
This resolution specifically calls upon all who claim membership of professedly Christian organisations to reflect such Christian values in their conduct.
In doing so we are reflecting the Gospel values in the words of Jesus: “You shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16)
Moderator, members of Assembly I urge you to support this resolution.
NOTES: FROM THE GRAND LODGE WEB SITE:
What does Orangeism stand for today? [http://www.grandorangelodge.co.uk/what-does-orangeism-stand-for-today]
The Orange Order is fundamentally a Christian organisation. The Institution stands in the Reformed tradition as the various statements contained in the “Qualifications” illustrate:-
LOVE OF GOD – “a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father. He should never take the name of God in vain”.
FAITH IN CHRIST – “steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind”.
AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE – “he should honour and diligently study the Holy Scriptures and make them the rule of his faith and practice”.
The Religious Basis Of The Order [http://www.grandorangelodge.co.uk/The-religious-basis-of-the-order]
“It is Christ-centred, Bible-based, Church-grounded. By it we are moulded in character and conduct.”