Lo disappointed by Nesbitt comments on parades
Alliance MLA Anna Lo has expressed her disappointment in the comments by the UUP leader Mike Nesbitt who claimed the Parades Commission was eroding Protestant and Unionist culture. Anna stated that this showed just how much Nesbitt truly believed in a shared future.
I imagine that the Alliance Party are merely politicking, but this statement in my view is quite offensive in itself. Do they mean that being a member of the Orange Order (of which I am proud to be one) is not compatible with a ‘Shared Future’?
I am lost for an answer and people can make up their own minds, but whether you are an Orange man, woman or supporter you have a stake in society and you therefore have a say in the future of Ulster. After all the Orange Order has been existence for much longer than Alliance or any other Ulster party.
Does this mean that those throwing stones, verbal abuse or firing guns at Orangemen, bandsmen and/or Policemen and women are signed up to a ‘Shared Future’ and Orangemen are not? Does this mean that Alliance think that Orangemen are to be banned from walking to and from Church services throughout the year or on the Twelfth Day itself?
The statement adds:
“In a Shared Future, one side’s culture does not have to be diminished for the benefit of another group. I want to work for a society where we can respect everybody’s culture and history.
“I think Nesbitt does not fully understand what a shared future is or what it would mean for Northern Ireland. When he became leader he tried to claim that he would be everything to everybody, but this press release shows that when push comes to shove, Mike Nesbitt and the UUP have not changed from being a party that would like to hark back to the time before power sharing.
“I think that after this, Nesbitt can no longer be viewed as being a firm supporter shared future.”
I am in agreement with the words: “In a Shared Future, one side’s culture does not have to be diminished for the benefit of another group.” Yes, in a ‘Shared Future’, in theory, one side’s culture does not have to be diminished for the benefit of another group; however we saw the Parades Commission deny an organisation, with a major stake in our society, a fundamental right, the right to walk a public road free from sectarian harassment in recognition of the rights of freedom, passage and faith secured at by King William at the Boyne in 1690.
Those fundamental rights King William secured at the Battle of the Boyne (yes some years ago) are enjoyed by those protesting at such parades. Intolerance and failure to sign up to a shared society is therefore not reflected by the Orangemen and bandsmen walking back to Ligoniel Orange Hall, or indeed walking any road in the United Kingdom, but by those protesting violently and improperly. Yet, the point Mike Nesbitt makes, and which has been made by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, Nigel Dodds MP, Nelson McCausland MLA and others is that: why is it that determinations come down on the side of those who have created violence in the past or threaten the most violence?
But then again, applying the logic behind this statement anyone who supports the Twelfth of July is just being divisive and sectarian. Now that isn’t a divisive statement in itself, is it?
I shall leave readers with the Qualifications of an Orangeman:
The Master and Members of every Lodge into which a Candidate is proposed to be elected must satisfy themselves with all due solemnity previous to this admission that he possesses the following qualification. It is to these criteria that every Orangemen should dedicate himself.An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father, a humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, believing in Him as the only Mediator between God and man. He should cultivate truth and justice, brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous; he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of the evil; he should honour and diligently study the Holy Scriptures, and make them the rule of his faith and practice; he should love, uphold, and defend the Protestant religion, and sincerely desire and endeavour to propagate its doctrines and precepts; 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; he should, by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy, encroachments, and the extension of their power, ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments towards all those who do not practice the Reformed and Christian Faith; he should remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day, and attend the public worship of God, and diligently train up his offspring, and all under his control, in the fear of God, and in the Protestant faith; he should never take the name of God in vain, but abstain from all cursing and profane language, and use every opportunity of discouraging those, and all other sinful practices, in others; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and marked by honesty, temperance, and sobriety, the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country, should be the motives of his actions.