Presbyterians invite Ruane to speak to General Assembly…

Off topic for the day that’s in it, but William Crawley notes that Catriona Ruane has been invited to speak to the Presbyterian Assembly in June… We understand that they’ve not had a reply as yet…

  • This is A Good Thing. Prods are going to have to work out a modus vivendi with Sinn Féin ministers.

  • SuperSoupy

    Do you not find it a bit bizarre that while announcing the invite someone makes an issue that it hasn’t been accepted as yet.

    Running interference?

  • Mick Fealty

    I asked a question, and got an answer… end of…

  • SuperSoupy

    You asked? FGS. Like she’d say no. Talk about assuming an issue where none will exist.

    Get with the programme Mick, this isn’t the 80s.

  • Angelus

    Thanks for this Mick. I see the Presbys haven’t made a public announcement about this invitation. They keen to keep it quiet?

    Given such a bad day for SF in the south, it’s more on topic than you might think!

  • Crazed Protestant

    Check your link there, Mick. It says the SF minister has been invited to ATTEND, not to SPEAK. Big difference.

  • Rooanne

    Its a pity she’s not allowed to speak. She could explain to the assembly why they should stop defending educational segregation of children – that’s what grammar schools do.

  • Reader

    Rooanne: She could explain to the assembly why they should stop defending educational segregation of children – that’s what grammar schools do.
    That’s also what setting, streaming, exams and universities do.

  • darth rumsfeld

    This is a Bad Thing.

    The leadership of the church is still trying to suck up to the establishment, regardless of whatever that establishment is. We don’t need to confer respectability on these people.Unless of course we can make her stand on the sinner’s stool and confess her errors, as used to happen in the 18th century.

    What we need is not a modus vivendi, but a modus disposandi, and in the (hopefully brief) interim a modus ignorandi

    And of course the leadership of the church won’t invite the first Minister because they’d choke at sticking the Moderator of the Free Ps to sit in an honoured place in Church House after all those pickets outside

  • David D


    I disagree. PCI wouldn’t have a problem inviting Paisley. Paisley would have a problem with PCI. It’s ironic isnt it that presbyterians have more chance of getting a SF minister to an event than the Free P First Minister.

  • Let’s Spell

    How come people are unable to spell Ms Ruane’s name correctly? Check the link.

  • Ginfizz

    David D

    Obviously a representative of the liberal wing of the church. As someone firmly on the conservative wing of PCI, let me assure you that I have no doubt whatsoever that the Ken Newell’s, Godfrey Brown’s and John Dunlop’s (all of whom I know personally) would have a Provo at the opening night of the GA long before they’d have Paisley anywhere near it.

    Why invite an SF Minister? What about Margaret Ritchie or Michael McGimpsey or Peter Robinson of Nigel Dodds – they have never picketed the GA. No, I’m afraid this is yet another puerile effort by the “Government and Morals” committee i.e. the liberals fav committee at head-line grabbing.

  • kensei

    “Why invite an SF Minister? ”

    Because the topic is education and they hold the education ministry. Please try to keep up.

  • darth rumsfeld

    …except, kensei, as a delegate to the Assembly with the agenda in front of me I see numerous debates to which the great brains of our executive could be invited.
    And of course when the Assembly is in the RoI the president gets a courtesy invite to the opening night.
    Yet-apparently- no gold embossed card to Papa Doc, who has done what the Newell-Brown axis has hectored us to do for years.

    Suggest an invite to the Russian minister of justice under Putin, or Mugabe’s ambassador to Britain, and there’d be a chorus of bleating about human rights abusers. Even suggest inviting the US consul and some liberal will be up bleating about Iraq. But this representative of human rights abusers and criminals will be feted, grovelled to, and given a specially large sticky bun with her tea by the Moderator.

    Stick to what you know. Ginfizz and I both know the petty snobbery and contempt that the Presbyterian establishment in church house committees has towards Paisley ( which is certainly partially meritted) and also motivates their attitude to politics.They’re just the same with the Orange Order, Freemasons, non FairTrade banana salesmen.

    They forget our history. We’re not the establishment- we’re the radical outsiders. The only way some of these guys would ever be blackmouths is if they spilled some caviar out of their cakeholes at yet another Hillsborough Castle Dinner.

  • Ginfizz


    It never ceases to amaze me just how intolerant our supposedly tolerant liberal members are. They’ll forgive (or should I say “understand”) you for being a murderer/drug dealer/extortion rackateer. But dare to be a radical evangelical or hold a remotely conservative political viewpoint and they treat you like dirt. They are truly Lenin’s “useful idiots”/

  • jaffa

    “They forget our history. We’re not the establishment- we’re the radical outsiders.”

    Er…you’re the ones that subscribe to the orthodoxy of the Westminster Confession; a profoundly anti-protestant thing to do.

    The radical outsiders (not many I’ll grant) are down at Rosemary Street or at all-Souls, and with regard to radical politics, your lot hung their predecessors in 1798.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Er…you’re the ones that subscribe to the orthodoxy of the Westminster Confession; a profoundly anti-protestant thing to do.”

    If only. They don’t even teach Calvinism at Union Theological College now. Many Ministers, and more church members, have never heard of the Westminster Confession.
    And it’s not profoundly anti-Protestant to insist on orthodoxy- even if Protestant is a catch-all including Presbyterians.Yes, protestantism allows direct access to the scriptures, and interpreting them personally, but only within logical limits. Thus we could not claim Jesus was a woman or a mousemat. All Protestant churches have dogma.

    “The radical outsiders (not many I’ll grant) are down at Rosemary Street or at all-Souls, and with regard to radical politics, your lot hung their predecessors in 1798.”

    An understandable fallacy, but a fallacy nonetheless. Yes, many leaders of the Turnout were “New licht”, or like Henry Joy McCracken not particularly religious at all, but not all were. And very many of the ordinary rebels were rock-solid traditional Presbyterians, often influenced by millinerianism that was rife at the time, or by economic hardship/military oppression.

    And we didn’t hang anyone- that was the authorities, who were primarily episcopalian,and the military,including fencibles some of whom were Roman Catholic.

  • jaffa

    “They don’t even teach Calvinism at Union Theological College now”

    Well they bloody well ought to. How else are we liberals supposed to indulge our self-satisfied enlightenment if the fundamentalists won’t even stick to their guns.

    Keep holding the fort Darth.

  • John East Belfast


    I have seen you defend Calivinism on here before and it surprises me that you wish to support such an “unprotestant” doctrine.

    Indeed I see Calvinism as akin to many of the problems Protestants have with Roman Catholicism – namely the hierarchy takes little snippets of scripture and builds a whole doctrine around it and miss the big picture – transubstantiation, Maryology, purgatory, confession of sins to a Priest all come to mind.

    Meanhwile Canlivinism takes a similar approach to Pre – destination.
    However it totally ignores all the other doctrine that supports that each man has free will and is answerable himself onto God for his own actions which he has taken following his deliberate choices.

    Such beliefs are the mainstay of Protestant free thinking.

    Pre -destination is an enslaving and unChristian version of theology and the PCI is much the better for it if it is no longer being taught – good riddance to it.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Calvinism of course was the faith of William of Orange, John, who rendered the state some service, as even you might agree.As for it being “un-Protestant”, I’m amazed at your comment. All the main Protestant churches in the British isles, and the majority in the world, are steeped in Calvinism-yes , even the Church of England’s 39 articles.It’s hardly Calvin’s fault if those who find his teaching uncomfortable have distorted it without even reading it, because deep down they’re ashamed of the hard message of Christianity.

    Protestant free-thinking,apparently your preference, is also that fertile seedbed for such as the Episcopal church of the USA, the Jehovah’s witnesses, and a thousand whippy dippy sects- all of whom find their truths from superficial distortions of scraps of scripture.

    Free will is not contrary to Calvinism. You have the free will to sin, in the same way as your dog has the free will to eat or not eat the sausages you leave him alone in the kitchen with. Before you go out to answer the phone you know exactly what he’s going to do.

    When you exercise your free will to be saved, God knew what you were going to do, and when. Or are you really saying God needs your weak mortal help to achieve His plan for you?

    “They don’t even teach Calvinism at Union Theological College now”
    Well they bloody well ought to.”
    ..not least because every Minister subscribing to church doctrine ought to know and understand what type of church he is joining and serving. That way he’ll be better able to correct the liberal mush that some of his congregation might think passes for Christianity.

  • jaffa

    Keep up the good work Darth!

    A few words from a lady with an Ulster connection.

    A Word to the Elect (by Anne Bronte)

    YOU may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
    You may be grateful for the gift divine–
    That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
    And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.

    But, is it sweet to look around, and view
    Thousands excluded from that happiness
    Which they deserved, at least, as much as you,–
    Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?
    And, wherefore should you love your God the more,
    Because to you alone his smiles are given;
    Because he chose to pass the many o’er,
    And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?

    And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
    Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
    Is yours the God of justice and of love?
    And are your bosoms warm with charity?

    Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
    And, would you ever to your neighbor do–
    The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind–
    As you would have your neighbor do to you?

    And, when you, looking on your fellow-men,
    Behold them doomed to endless misery,
    How can you talk of joy and rapture then?–
    May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

    That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
    Unmerited the grace in mercy given:

    But, none shall sink to everlasting woe,
    That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.
    And, oh! there lives within my heart
    A hope, long nursed by me;
    (And, should its cheering ray depart,
    How dark my soul would be!)

    That as in Adam all have died,
    In Christ shall all men live;
    And ever round his throne abide,
    Eternal praise to give.

    That even the wicked shall at last
    Be fitted for the skies;
    And, when their dreadful doom is past,
    To life and light arise.

    I ask not, how remote the day,
    Nor what the sinners’ woe,
    Before their dross is purged away;
    Enough for me, to know

    That when the cup of wrath is drained,
    The metal purified,
    They’ll cling to what they once disdained,
    And live by Him that died.

    Go on, have faith. You know you want to!

  • Ginfizz

    I’m with Darth on this one. It is a great shame that many Presbyterian ministers deliberatly and wantonly ignore the bits of their church’s teaching that doesn’t suit them personally. Each one of them affirms their belief in the Westminster Confession when they are licnesed. This is a promise made before Almighty God – how many of them are lying when they do so?

  • jaffa

    Conservatism for its own sake Ginfizz. Let’s not chip away at the plaster lest the whole crumbling edifice fall apart.

    Dodgy damp proof course Ginfizz. Revisit your foundations!

  • John East Belfast


    “Calvinism of course was the faith of William of Orange..”

    I assume you mean Christianity was the faith – reformed under Protestantism which itself was a movement to get back to its New Testament foundations without all the add ons in the previous 1500 years which had corrupted Roman Catholicism.

    The Pre – destination bit of Calvinism was another such add on – IMHO.

    For what our weak minds can fathom of the mysteries of the universe I think the Alpha & Omega concept is being confused by believing God knowing what is going to happen with God causing it to happen.

    I believe Pre Destination is the desire to ‘understand’ God within the confinds of our intellect and hence futile.

    Hence a corruption like all other human concepts.

  • Ginfizz


    That doesn’t really address the issue I have raised. If you are not happy with the Westminster Confession, why take an obligation in front of God and a congregation of people that you affirm your belief in it? What does that say about the integrety of those who do such?

  • Ginfizz

    “Hence a corruption like all other human concepts.”

    Presumably the whole concept of organised religion also would fall under this category?

  • jaffa


    You’re right that people can’t base a career of testimony on a lie but at the same time our churches have to be more than some kind of cookie cutter McBible franchise with every sermon quality controlled by reference to the Westminster Confession.

    Here’s Paul writing to Timothy,

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus our hope; to Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I exhorted you to stay at Ephesus when I was going into Macedonia, that you might charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God’s stewardship, which is in faith — but the end of the charge is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and unfeigned faith; from which things some, having missed the mark, have turned aside to vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor about what they strongly affirm.

    You don’t need me to tell you about Paul’s journey from ecclesiastical purist to hippy dropout (and the pain of his conversion) but his message is consistent – love, simplicity and (I think) universality. I think he’s saying keep your heart open, your mind quiet, avoid elaborate theorising and let the Holy Spirit do the thinking for you. Standardised doctrines are useful if they serve to keep faith simple and to avoid idolatry. If circumstances changes and they make it too floral – if they become idols themselves – they’re counter-productive.

  • james orr

    Darth: “…the leadership of the church won’t invite the first Minister because they’d choke at sticking the Moderator of the Free Ps to sit in an honoured place in Church House after all those pickets outside…”

    I’m told that there’s a full page pic of the First Minister in the new edition of “ReachOut”, the magazine of the PCI’s Board of Mission in Ireland.

  • páid

    You die.

    You go down in a hole.

    That’s it.

  • Jim Kemmy

    Ruane is Humbert’s droppings. Maybe the Proesbyterians want to send missionaries to Farc.

  • Cahal

    Why does unionism attract so many religious funda-Mentalists?

    Any of you lads been down in corn market with your amplifiers lately?

  • Ginfizz


    This is one of the reasons I was dubious about discussing this issue on here – being accused of being a fundy. I wouldn’t class myself at all as a fundamentalist, certainly not in the mould of the Free Presbyterians, but I do believe in the orthodoxy of Presbyterian teaching and I believe that it is worth fighting for (metaphorically speaking, of course).

  • jaffa


    Why does unionism attract so many religious funda-Mentalists?

    Have you read the Hibernian?


    Who says faith’s only about the afterlife? Maybe it’s about not walking around dead while you’re here.


    If you can’t talk about this stuff here where can you. A Unitarian invented this internet contraption by the way. Clearly inspired to open up seditious heresy in a safe environment.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    ‘….If you are not happy with the Westminster Confession, why take an obligation in front of God and a congregation of people that you affirm your belief in it? What does that say about the integrety of those who do such?…’

    I suspect maybe much of it is down to the fact that people change as they grow older, ginfizz, they may believe things in their 20s which don’t make sense later on. A religious minister of whatever denomination may have to compromise himself/herself in that they have to keep schtum about certain tenets of their faith they no longer believe in simply because they are maybe in their mid 40s and have no other qualification in life apart from religion (and they may feel they’re doing a good job otherwise). We all make compromises somewhere at some time.

  • Numbers

    It saddens me that a church who once upheld the true doctrines of scripture now asks a whore of Babylon like Miss Rooney to speak before its Assembly.

    The issues of Sunday observance, the battle against homosexuality and the struggle against licentiousness of all types seem to me more crucial issues for these men who have become enablers of sin.

  • Ginfizz

    Numbers has got to be a wind-up merchant. Ignore him.

  • Numbers

    Away from me Beelzebub. Christ will ne’er be silenced by The Beast. Take thine scarlet cloak hence.

  • overhere

    numbers, that’s no way to talk about little red riding hood!!

  • Pounder

    Wasn’t this tosser posting as Levictus in another thread? What a wonderful advert for protestant christianity all that tollerance and love is overwhelming. In fact I’ve decided to repent from my evil athiest ways, praise jeebus!

  • Numbers

    Pounder, your mockery of the Lord will catch up with you eventually.

    I know the sinful practice to which your moniker refers. Repent my friend. Jesus can save you from onanism.

  • Pounder

    Jesus loves you dude,

    everyone else thinks you’re a dick.

  • Numbers

    Obsessed with the organ of his own depravity. You would have thought that the thing which hurtles this individual towards hellfire would cause him nothing but disgust. But no, the font of male procreation, which he misuses so fervently, is evoked once again in his vile and sinful speech.

  • Pounder

    How little you know me. You made gorss assumptions about my name and now about my last comment. I’m not gay, though many of my friends are. I’m quite comfortable with what I am and don’t feel the need to massivly overcompensate, unlike others. Remember Jesus was a single guy who hung arround with 12 other single dudes in the wilderness.

  • nmc

    Numbers, one question. Are you for real or wha?

  • Pounder

    scarily enough I think he is. Luckily enough in this country we laugh at people like this. In America they get elected to office.

  • Numbers

    Pounder, I object to you referring to my saviour as a “dude”, carrying as it does connotations of depravity and non-procreative sex. My saviour is no “dude”. Jesus was a leader of men, untroubled by the carnal lusts of the flesh. He provided his followers only manly and natural compensations.

    Whether you are gay are not is irrelevant. You encourage the engorged member in its foul quest for penetration. You are as depraved and fallen as a member of the Ulster Unionist Party.

    Pounder. You seem to wish to talk about homosexuality inordinately. This is not the only sin. It is sinful to fill the vagina of an unmarried lady with the engorged member also.

  • Pounder

    Yeah he’s your savious, so please keep him to yourself, if i wanted saving I’d ask. I don’t so I didn’t.

    Where ever did you get the idea I was a member of the UUP? I’m on record here as saying I’m actually an Alliance supporter.

    You obviously have major hangups with the act of sex, did your mother refuse to breast feed you or something?

    If you’re so religious, why do you post your email address as Are you not setting yourself up as a false idol?

    Thats it I’m done feeding the troll.

  • Ginfizz


    He’s a wind up merchant. No-one could possibly hold views like that, or at least express them in such terms.

  • Pounder

    Yeah I started to get that. Unfortunately people like him do really exist. Our beloved First Minister seems to be one of them. And America is rife with fundy morons.

  • darth rumsfeld

    just to round up the thread, thanks to jaffa for the Bronte poem. We should of course remember that the Brontes/Pruntys were Anglican.

    Yes of course I shouldn’t have misused the word “faith” for Calvinism. Yes too, Calvinism is a human construct but openly points out the inability to comprehend all of God’s plans. It is not afraid to flag up these problems, and that’s why Calvinism can’t really be written off as fundamentalism- I’m with ginfizz on that one.

    Calvinism is actually quite capable of being regarded as a key phase in the development of nearly all modern Protestant doctrines- including many that would have appalled the man himself. His way of studying scripture was -literally-revolutionary.

    Equally the Free Ps, though presbyterian in structure, are not entirely Presbyterian in theology. Much of their teaching is more akin to Baptists who aren’t in general fans of limited atonement or total depravity. The Rev Robert Coulter UUP MLA, once wrote a very insightful attack on the Free P theology- I wonder if it’s still in print?