The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland have issued a vote of no confidence in the Church of Scotland as they publish their annual resolutions that will be read out after the religious service that follows the Twelfth parades.
It is a sad reflection that, in today’s society, many Protestants now consider that the Orange Order is more in harmony with their values and aspirations than the Kirk. We as an institution never envisaged nor aspired to be in such a position, and it is an appalling indication of how far the Kirk deteriorated. Sadly, it appears that we are in a situation where the Kirk can no longer command high public regard and influence.
The Times reported this morning:
Warning that Scotland was “a nation in turmoil”, the order spoke out against the “separatist campaign” in favour of independence and claimed that many Presbyterians believed that the order was “more in harmony with their values and inspirations” than the Church.
This attack on the Kirk’s neutral approach to the independence referendum was rammed home by Henry Dunbar, grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, who laid out its position for its estimated 50,000 members. “The Orange Order supports the Union, and the Union will remain stronger united, and my organisation will be campaigning hard to ensure that Scotland continues to flourish within the UK,” he said.
STV carries a response from Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council:
The Orange Order has shown itself again and again to be out of date and out of time. The Church of Scotland is proud of what our faith has given and continues to give our nation. 21st Century Scotland is a multi-cultural nation where faith, faithfulness and belief takes many forms. By celebrating difference we show confidence in who we are. It is those who demand that their voice be heard above others who have lost the moral high ground.
Our concern in the referendum debate is to argue, whatever the outcome, for fairness in our economic system, support for the silenced and the dispossessed, care for creation, rehabilitation in our justice system and other core values of our faith. Our role in the referendum debate will be active and will be clear. We shall provide spaces where people of differing views can listen to each other in respect and in dignity. We shall support real dialogue between all the people who make up this nation as it is they, and not one institution or organisation, who shall determine our nation’s future.