More news from the Bible Belt…

IN Ballymena a group of young Presbyterians has carried out a “random act of kindness” and scrubbed unionist graffiti from two Catholic churches in the demographically-shifting town. The spate of recent unionist attacks on Catholic churches and property – and the threat of a resumed Harryville picket of the Church of Our Lady – was ostensibly in response to a proposal for the first ever republican parade in Ballymena – which the Parades Commission placed severe restrictions on yesterday.

  • nmc

    I for one, as a lapsed catholic – therefore a heathen to all of you claiming to be christian – would like to express thanks for the gesture. Amazing to think that this kind gesture will have set certain republican elements in the town back a considerable distance. People don’t want murder started with nice people who give you flowers. Don’t get me wrong though – I think Ballymena’s ripe for a revolution, and I for one would love to see it.

  • C. William Barnes

    SOS … thanks for the post and your deliberate act of kindness carried out on slugger. I feel vindicated.
    Levee’s F**k Sectarianism slogan is ok, but too harsh for kids. I was thinking that “stop all sectarianism” wristbands might be good too…except that it doesn’t work out too well in short form…
    S.A.S. (lol) I know Mr MacTaig would be all over that one. It is draining being from NI.

  • Micky

    I think they should be S.O.S wristbands in honour of our very own poster on slugger, and to capture the actions of these decent young people

    SCRUB OUT SECTARIANISM…I’m off to the trademark office…

  • S.O.S.

    awwww Micky….talk amongst yourselves, I’m overcome! “Scrub Out Sectarianism” is a brilliant tribute to the graffiti removers in Ballymena and in cyberspace, but I worry S.O.S. wristbands might be confused with support for the Secretary of State, which, as we know, tends to ebb and flow just a wee bit….

    I’d been fiddling with “Sectarianism Bites.” Levee’s “F*** Sectarianism” is still undeniably catchy, particularly if we keep the asterisks to avoid launching a sea of “F*** Blue Language” tees and wristbands in counterprotest.

    We’re clearly on the one road here….let’s all keep thinking!

  • Mackers

    Micky…if you haven’t left yet, I’ve a better wristband…
    Sectarianism Sucks – Republicans and Unionists Concur
    Wait! SS RUC..oops thats not going to work either…damn!

  • Dougie

    These ideas are not bad, but everyone who has worked in marketing knows that sex sells. I suggest

    Sectarianism Hurts All Groups it Must End

    S.H.A.G. M.E. bands are sure to be the talk of Ulster. I ask you, is there a better way to bring the communities together? Can’t you see the public awareness posters…In a neutral chip shop Sadie and Paddy see each others bands, look into each others eyes…

  • Ringo

    Spartacus –

    sorry for the delay – bank holiday and all that…

    But Ringo, I’m curious: why is the threat to revive the Harryville picket only ‘stupid’. We hear this kind of weaselword response to sectarianism often from unionist politicans. To them such acts (Holy Cross comes to mind) are apparently ‘stupid’ only because they are bad pr for their noble cause. But aren’t they much worse than stupid?

    Harryville was grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre but unfortunately, precedented. As is so much of what passes for acceptable behaviour in the north. What I find particularly depressing is that for these sort of things to cease to exist, one of two things need to happen –
    1) for those who picketed Harryville or Holy Cross to realise that that is an unacceptable way to treat their neighbours, end of story.
    2) or realise that these protests do not aid themselves and their hoplessly narrow objectives in any way – PR included.

    I see little chance of 1 occuring – basically because I have no reason to think that they will go to their graves anything other than poisoned souls – so I resign myself to hoping that 2 will prevail – they’d have to be stupid not to.

    Aren’t they indicative of the level of sectarianism prevalent among a substantial section of the unionist community, to which such politicians almost always turn a blind eye?
    Yes. I wouldn’t be too smug about the other side either though.

    Aren’t they offensive to all of us who want to live in a non-sectarian society?

    Isn’t it understandable that nationalists, who have had to put up similar treatment since the founding of the NI state, and even earlier, would find them particularly offensive?

    Shouldn’t you speak more clearly about these things?

    Not sure why you think I should speak more clearly on the issue. Unionists aren’t really that taken with the views of Galwegians usually.
    Although I did read recently that Carson used to play a bit of hurling when he spent his summers near Athenry.

  • Crunchie

    You lot with the wristbands have got way too much free time on your hands…especially you Dougie.

  • S.O.S.

    Crunchie, you are toast.

    Dougie, from a woman’s perspective, (erm, mine) S.H.A.G.M.E. wristbands might be a tad too direct. If we restore the “I” and retain the full acronym for your slogan — S.H.A.G.I.M.E. — I believe “shag-i me” has a certain swarthy, shipwrecked, love-starved Mediteranean urgency that plain old “shag me” lacks. Still….

    The only anti-sectarian wristbands I could find on the net were in Scotland. The Scots had great success with green and blue “Say No to Sectarianism” wristbands. Yet, like C. Williams’ and Macker’s earlier suggestions, “Ulster Says No…to Sectarianism” might be weighed down by certain historical overtones.

    Perhaps “Ulster Says No Thank You”…..

  • C. William Barnes

    SOS – Now everything is clear to me. Your thoughtful and appropriate comments are like aromatherapy to the thread that turned malodourous. It is because you are bringing the woman’s perspective into this ocean of testosterone known as Slugger O’Toole.

    As a swarthy Belfast-man, I say great to have you on board sailor!

  • S.O.S.

    C. William, thank you. Swarthy is always appropriate. But we digress….

    In all earnestness, I’ve come round to thinking our Mackers was on to something with his “Scrub Out Sectarianism.” Leaving my slugger name and the Secretary of State well, well, out of it, it works because —

    1.) It pays tribute to the quite deliberate act of kindness of the youths from High Kirk who scrubbed the wall of their neighbors’ church. While hardly the first act of cross-community kindness, perhaps it comes at the right moment to inspire a wider — and more widely reported — movement within both communities to actively reject sectarianism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. Much as Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus once lit the torch of America’s Civil Rights Movement.

    2.) SOS — the international distress signal requesting emergency assistance — remembered by sailors as “Save Our Ship” or “Save Our Souls” — seems appropriate here, too — at least to me.

    Anyone else agree Mackers was on to something?

  • C. William Barnes

    I will commit to buying 10 SOS Scrub Out Sectarianism wristbands. Please avoid orange and green as the primary colour so as all can be happy to wear them.

  • Mackers

    Glad you like it SOS. Lets get Belfast City Hall to make up a few 1000 and see where it goes. In addition to the scrubbing out, we also need some volunteers to paint back in Derek Dougan’s face on the mural in East Belfast.

  • S.O.S.

    Pure genius on both counts, Mackers. And since the Doog is a well-known Protestant married to a devout Catholic (who was also, I believe, a devout Wolverhampton supporter) I suggest we send him the first wristband.

    C. William, we are on the same page. I’d mentally ruled out green and orange schemes, but I am stumped to the final colour choice.

    Mackers, what say you?

  • Mackers

    SOS – What happens when you combine orange and green on the colour wheel?
    Maybe a chocolate brown colour band would be good?

  • Alan McDonald

    Here’s one vote for white.

  • S.O.S.

    Mackers, I believe technically orange combined with green leaves you holding some sort of yellow, which can make the typical Northern complexion appear sallow — the gallant, swarthy C. William excepted, of course.

    I may be squeamish, but chocolate is also the colour of mud, and there’s been enough mud slung already.

    What do you think about white, with red letters? The red message would really “pop” against a white background, and would work with your SOS/emergency theme.

  • C. William Barnes

    In keeping with the ocean/sea theme, I say white with red letters is great…just like the classic floatation devices. As long as we can keep them clean. Maybe an eggshell or ecru?? lol

  • S.O.S.

    g’wan, g’wan with that talk of eggshell and ecru, C. William! Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can tell one shade from the other.

    If we do go with white, we’ll have to get red lettering, or our bands will look just like the white bands for Bono’s ONE campaign. It’s getting late, but tomorrow I’ll see how much it adds to costs to have contrasting colours.

  • Loafer

    Ricardo and Beano – will you wear an S O S wristband to Windsor park, or anywherew else to show that you stand for scrubbing out sectarianism?
    I will, and I feel confident that you will too. It will go well with the We Exist bands :))

    Great idea SOS, please give us an update when you get them ready. I love this kind of grass roots effort. Maybe something good will come out of Slugger other than a bunch of lads slagging each other. I’m sure the IFA would be happy to promote them and even give them out at the upcoming world cup matches at Windsor park. Even though 70% of the fans at the 2nd match will be from England, it would be worthwhile.

  • S.O.S.

    Loafer, the idea belongs to Mackers, Levee, and C. Williams, I just think it might be an idea whose time has come.

    I have an SOS of my own out to a friend who knows how to pull strings, or maybe someone will surface with an “in” somewhere.

    I have a style question for anyone out there in sluggerland still reading this thread. Sponsor or no, distributor or no, it all comes down to if people will wear the wristbands. Most wristbands are either custom molded silicone or printed on rubber bands. My instinct is that no one over the age of 5 would wear a printed rubber band? I’ve discovered there are firms that will print on silicone — essential if we are going with a red on white colour scheme.

    Would you wear a wristband? Custom molded silicone? Printed silicone? What colour? I need to know if this could really work, or if a few of us are just having a midsummer’s collective breakdown here. Many thanks!

  • S.O.S.

    Calm yourselves. There’s no need to start a stampede.

  • PSR

    Great idea.
    Send a few over to the two main football clubs in Glasgow as well.
    Colour wise I’d prefer a subtle Roman Ochre to match my Belfast suntan!

  • S.O.S.

    I’m on it, PSR. And remember…We Are Wan.

  • Alan McDonald


    Alan from America here. I will proudly wear a wristband (preferably the red on white); and I promise that, should I ever make the trip to Belfast, I’ll scrub walls with C. William Barnes!

  • maca

    How about white on blue? Might be nicer. Count me in for a few anyway.

  • Ricardo


    The IFA already produce their own ‘Football For All’ wristbands, you can read about them here.

    But I think the SOS one is a good idea, I think the Old Firm in scotland have a similar one already.

  • S.O.S.

    Now we’re gaining altitude. I’m interpreting this scientific survey as a global upsurge of support for “SOS/Scrub Out Sectarianism” wristbands. Thanks, all! Hopefully I’ll be able to get a lead on sponsorship and/or distribution.

  • jude

    “The IFA already produce their own ‘Football For All’ wristbands, you can read about them here.”


    Do you take it off before singing rule britannia

  • Ricardo


  • victor

    Perhaps the northern ireland football wristband could have an electronic device fitted to it which sent an electric shock into the arm everytime the supporters started singing sectarian songs.

    It might have a bit more success.

  • Mucker

    I am all for the bands. Sign me up for a couple.

    Silicon embedded into the band is the way to go.

    I’ll wear it to Windsor so if you are looking for me Och Aye, you know who I am. I love the idea, its not about NI football, ROI or any team…the message transcends all of that. That is why this band is even more important to wear to Windsor. Its not a NI football band, but a band that all should wear in our daily lives – at least those who despise sectarianism of all sorts.

    SOS – as any veteran of slugger might predict, there are going to be wise Alec’s, smartarses etc. don’t sway in your conviction to pursue this … its a great step. Even if only a few of us wear them, its our version of scrubbing walls for all to see.

  • Ruffian

    I’m in for a band. No cheap print on letters please. High quality is the only way to fly.

    Good on ye S O S


    I think it’s a load of self righteous, self serving ,self congratulatory old bollox.

    Feel free to include me in with the smartarses.

  • john boy


    Here ! Here !

    Well said.

    It’s like a conversation on big brother.


    I forgot to add.

    Bah, humbug!

  • Farley

    TAFKABO, or should I say John Boy, you disgust me. The woman (SOS) is trying to effect change, albeit in a small way. Nothing self-righteous about it. What is your suggestion? Everyone bitches about sectarianism, its not a bad idea to publicly show how you feel about it.

    I’m getting an SOS wristband,
    and an F TaFkAbO one too…

    Nothing gets better by being left alone.

  • john boy


    you must have failed today’s task in the big brother house.

  • maca

    “Here ! Here !”

    Where ? Where ? 😉

  • S.O.S.

    I vote we keep Farley on the island.

    Don’t begrudge TAFKABO his wee opinions. Controversy is good for thread counts. One thing does puzzle me.


    The Artist Formerly Known As Billy Ocean?… Bap O’Dea?… Blue Order?

  • Alan McDonald

    The following was borrowed from Straight Dope:

    Dear Straight Dope:

    When you agree with someone, do you say “Here Here!” or “Hear Hear” ? And what does it mean? What is the origin of “Here Here” or “Hear Hear”? –Tymoma195

    SDSTAFF Veg replies:

    The correct term is, “hear, hear!” It is an abbreviation for “hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!”

    Of course, if the speaker is actually asking a question, such as “and just where do you think we should open the new strip club?” it’s not hard to imagine that at least one yahoo in attendance might yell, “here, here!” But this would be the exception that proves the rule.

  • maca

    Alan, also it’s recorded in British parliment as early as the 17th C as “hear him, hear him”

  • john boy

    Hear ! Here !

    I was just agreeing.

    I’m away to the diary room to have a cry, you’se are so bitchy !

  • Alan McDonald


    Thanks for the info. I was pretty sure it was not “Here, Here!”

    BTW, are you signing up for a wristband? Lance Armstrong has made them “cool” here in the States, even for grown men.

  • Alan McDonald

    OK, now I’m really lost. What’s a Diary Room?

  • maca

    Well if Lance has one I gotta get one! 🙂

  • john boy

    ‘drugs don’t work’ Lance


    “Don’t begrudge TAFKABO his wee opinions.”

    But you do begrduge me my opinions.
    One only needs to read the thread in its entirety to see that.

    Not that it’s going to stop me expressing them.

    But anyway.

    When it comes to futile gestures in the name of peace, been there, done that.
    I’ve stood in the pissing rain outside Belfast city hall, along with thousands of others in protest at sectarian murders and racist attacks.

    I doubt it stopped a single one, but at least for a brief moment ther was a sense of solidarity.


    There comes a point where it crosses the line and just becomes embarrasing.
    for example, does anyone remember the sight of the well heeled ladies of a certain age, massed outside the Waterfront hall singing peace songs?

    Sometimes somebody comes up with ths great idea for peace and I just think ‘Christ, maybe the conflict wasn’t so bad after all’

    People don’t hate hippies for nothing, you know.

  • Alan McDonald


    People don’t hate hippies for nothing, you know.

    Do people get paid for it then?


    If only…..

  • C. William Barnes

    Tafkabo – It appears you feel jaded about your experience in the pissing rain. I, for one, appreciate your efforts, even though it may not have stopped anything at all. Maybe these bands won’t make a difference, but maybe they will. The point is that without such demonstrations, there is a preception that NI is nothing more than a cauldron of hate and sectarianism… and that everyone is either in on it, or afraid to say anything about it.
    Wearing a band on your wrist in downtown Belfast, or wherever, is similar to your demonstration in that it sends a message, but its not just for a few hours at one event. And, if it rains, you can duck into Boots or Tesco to keep dry, and still show that you are intolerant to sectarianism.

    As Dougie said earlier
    “S.H.A.G. M.E. bands are sure to be the talk of Ulster. I ask you, is there a better way to bring the communities together? Can’t you see the public awareness posters…In a neutral chip shop Sadie and Paddy see each others bands, look into each others eyes…”
    This latter part is far fetched of course, but if the bands led to even one protestant becoming friends with a catholic, buddist, jew etc. then they are a success. Many posters on this thread talk of X-community, and how is it that we are promoting it then? SOS is doing her part to promote cross-community, who knows what will happen. It is alot of pressure for her, if she doesn’t get the colour scheme and soft luxurious feel right, the whole thing will be a waste.

    Tafkabo, while I don’t agree with your take on the SOS bands, I appreciate your saying how you feel and expressing your opinions. JB who posted below you contributes nothing to this thread, and probably not to society at all. His knowledge of and obsession with Big Brother indicates a closet addict? Sad case indeed. Diary room??

  • Baxter

    I’ll wear the band, in fact, order me up two and I’ll wear one for big brother fan club president john boy.

  • S.O.S.

    Thanks to all of you for the feedback, and I do mean all. A few children wearing the anti-bullying wristbands have become targets of bullies, and my one, up to now unspoken fear while is the unthinkable prospect of a child becoming a target of sectarianism, because he or she is wearing an anti-sectarianism band. Could it happen, if a child were to wear the band on the wrong steet, after the wrong match? I don’t know. I don’t know.

    The eloquence and encouragement of many of you makes me want to think the bands could be worthwhile. One thing I do know, if this project IS worth pursuing, the wristbands must be free, or I’ll be called far worse names than “self-righteous.” Best keep on it, but I’ll keep checking this thread for feedback.

  • Farley

    Och Aye from the “We Exist” thread has said that punishment beatings are in order for anyone wearing the sos band.

  • S.O.S.

    Thanks, Farley.

    for my next trick, I’m designing cerulean silicone wristbands bearing the message “SELF INVOLVED.” All profits donated directly to slugger, but I get the first one.

    maybe we need to go back to Dougie’s adults only “sex sells” mantra. The cast of “Big Brother” could pose wearing sos wristbands and only sos wristbands, under the headline “Wear your S.O.S. wristband….or wear nothing at all.”

    Thanks again to everyone contributed their thoughts. It is too early to tell if anything will — or even should — come of it, but it is an interesting process.

  • C. William Barnes

    Can’t sleep…must post on slugger…

    SOS you appear to have lost your drive, your motivation…

  • Alan McDonald

    C. Will,

    Have you tried some warm milk? BTW, it’s only 9:30 here in the Eastern USA.


    Can’t sleep…..must read posts on slugger…….

  • Alan McDonald

    Can sleep, but won’t … must go watch TV with wife…….

  • S.O.S.

    C. William, I’m still pursuing this. THe keenest collectors and wearers of wristbands seem to be born between approximately 1993 and 2001, so it is VERY important to me to consider all sides.

    The blue and green “Say No to Sectarianism” bands Old Firm did were an enormous success….I am assuming the blue was for Scotland and green for Ireland, they look great…..

    There was also a Welsh teacher that designed beaded bracelets with all the colours of the rainbow and a white bead in the center, as a symbol against sectarianism when there was a backlash against a couple of her Muslim students after 9/11….I respect that message so much.

    So far the only consensus is on the importance custom molded silicone. Mackers “Scrub Out Sectarianism” message also a hit….

    Good to know someone else is losing sleep over this, C. Will. THanks for the support, I needed it.

  • C. William Barnes

    SOS – thanks for all your hard work, it appears that you are doing this the right way…even checking the demographics!! Great!

    I really think that even our old mate TAFKABO is going to come around, I see him softening up already. Underneath his scrooge-like exterior, is a soft-hearted individual who will wear the band. Check me off for one band in TAFies name.

    They could be sold for money if the proceeds went to a chartitable group. One idea might be therapy for JB’s addiction and to coax him out of the diary room.

    SOS, you are great. I smell a nobel prize in the air…

  • S.O.S.

    whisht, C. William…we are one step ahead of the backlash, at best…


    “I really think that even our old mate TAFKABO is going to come around, I see him softening up already. Underneath his scrooge-like exterior, is a soft-hearted individual who will wear the band. Check me off for one band in TAFies name.”

    Tell you what.

    Instead of wristbands, why not introduce tight fitting rubber neckbands.
    Any colour you like, any slogan you want.
    I’d gladly pay for yours.

  • C. William Barnes

    Glad you are still trolling TAFy…a bit viscous but actually gave me a good laugh. Good one.

    Although in this case it should be some kind of silicon band to restrict the appendages from typing the keypad.



    ahferfuxsake, that’s a bit harsh.
    I just playing devils advocate, sure wouldn’t it be boring as an episode of ‘Give my head peace’ if we all sat around agreeing with each other and talking about fluffy kittens.

    “Although in this case it should be some kind of silicon band to restrict the appendages from typing the keypad.”

    Well, intitally I had thought that a rubber band around the neck would restrict the oxygen supply to the brain, closing down that particular organ and making it difficult to post.
    Unfortunately, a quick look over the threads has revealed that numerous regulars seem to have mastered the art of posting with minimal brain activity.

  • Hallion 24-7

    T-Kabo you are watching too many bondage DVDs with rubber neck bands and all sorts. There are other threads you can visit for that type of activity

  • john boy

    hallion 24-7

    You seem to very up to date on the whole bondage scene ????



    The internet is a big place and as an adult, I’m fully aware of the depth and breadth of specialised entertainment sites available.

    But, I’ve yet to see a site that provides the sort of masochistic pleasure one gets from Slugger, on a non paying basis.

  • bertie

    I know it’s my penance.

  • C. William Barnes

    As much as I loath your opinions, I love your answers. I imagine you have a career as a writer. I hate myself for loving slugger…

  • C. William Barnes

    That comment was for you TAFy

  • bertie

    William – once you get to know me I’m sure you’ll loathe my opinions too ;o)

  • C. William Barnes

    You are a good man bertie, will you be wearing the sos band?

  • bertie


    You may come to consider this a hasty assessment but thanks all the same.

    I don’t know what I feel about the SOS wristband idea. I’m not really into wristbands. I find myself able to identify with both your enthusiasm and TAFKABO’s cynicism. There are so many things I would like to make a stand on and yet I am always suspicious of gestures. I don’t know that sectarianism, as corrosive as it is, is the key issue. I want to stamp out terrorism, appeasement, cruelty, dangerous lack of awareness on the part of the medical profession of trauma and of neurological conditions, mediocrity in education and in the management and provision of public services, young women being so insecure and so desperate to register their existence on the planet, that they present a grotesquely over-sexualised version of themselves on reality TV, the suicide epidemic ………

    And then there is the state of my hedge and the fact that I keep forgetting to pay my mastercard bill…..

    Where do I start?

    I would be weighed down if I was to wear a wristband for all I wanted to sign up to.

    Having said all that, the one place I would be interested in wearing one would be at a football match supporting the NI team.

    It’s been a trying week :o(

  • C. William Barnes

    Hi Bertie – I’m with you on all of the above. The medical system is way behind when dealing with conditions of the brain…the symptoms of which are often dismissed as psychological in nature. the old pull yourself up by the bootsrtaps type thing. Although there has been great research developments in brain related conditions, it has not translated into clinical differences.
    Hope you have a better week coming up. Only a couple of more weeks to go before we get 2 chances to see if NI can score a goal :))
    In the meantime, there are some good laughs here on slugger. Did you catch the remarks on the old provo check points by Dougie on the Loyalist Rioting thread? Good crack.
    Anyway, take care this week. SOS band or no, its still good to have you on the thread.

  • rasta

    so much brown nosing

  • C. William Barnes

    Slugger is no fun when people are civil to each other , eh Rasta?

  • bertie

    Cheers William,

    I have cheered up considerably after finding the following gem

    It’s way off topic but if you are interested in neurological conditions,this should raise a smile.

    There has been a lot of debate about whether one of the characters on Big Brother has Aspergers Syndrome, which is a neuro-divergent condition, along with dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADD etc. Not having any of these conditions makes you neuro-typical (NT). Someone has started a thread specultating about whether another of the BB housemates had NT. The funniest thing is those poster who haven’t quite clicked and are even defending him against the notion that he has NT.

  • Alan McDonald

    Just a quick update. Those crazy kids are at it again!

    Check out Help from across the divide aids church clean-up in today’s Irish Independent.