The Orange and anti-clericalism…

Newshound has the rest of that Rite and Reason piece from Brian Kennaway. The most striking part is what he describes as the anti-clericalism that’s been growing within the Orange for most of the duration of the troubles and stands in marked contrast with the organisation of the 1950s.

Over the 200 years of the institution’s existence many people have written from the position of ignorance and communicated to the wider world inaccuracies about the position of the order. This I have attempted to correct throughout this publication, from revealing that the original qualifications are strictly pro-Protestant and make no reference to Roman Catholics, to the fact that the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland did not oppose the Belfast Agreement.

In my experience of 42 years membership of the Orange institution, what I have witnessed is an increasing narrowness of vision within the membership. This narrowness, or “funnel vision”, is in turn reflected in the leadership. This is seen in a narrowness of religious perspective. In the 1950s the Grand Lodge and the institution in general was dominated by ministers from the main protestant denominations. This is not the case today, and the previous list of churches recognised for the purpose of chaplains has been rescinded.

The Rev Dr Warren Porter in his foreword states: “Anti-clericalism, and the ‘sect’ mentality, ie opposition to and criticism of, the mainline Protestant denominations, is also an unlovely feature of some modern-day Orange gatherings.” This growing sense of anti-clericalism was seen in an interview in the Belfast Telegraph on June 30th, 1999, when the Grand Master Robert Salters is quoted as feeling “betrayed” by the leaders of the main Protestant churches.