First Minister to step down as head of church

Despite predictions that he would be re-elected unopposed and the quotes from “well-placed” sources in this report – “We are not expecting anything untoward”, the outcome of last night’s five hour meeting of church elders and ministers of the Free Presbyterian Church was an unexpected statement

“It was agreed by an overwhelming majority of members that all presbytery offices remain as at present for the remainder of this calendar year. In January all offices will be vacated. Dr Paisley has indicated that he will not be standing for the office of moderator of presbytery.”

Officially it’s about not splitting the church.. But we already know what the First Minister thinks about those sceptics.. and what the Deputy First Minister thinks about them too.. Adds From the Irish Times report

One insider said: “It became very obvious that if he did stand he would lose and in those circumstances he pleaded with them not to humiliate him and just let it run to the end of the year and just walk away.”

, ,

  • DC

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Gotcha!

    Where’s your Christian leader going now DUPES? I imagine to sit around the table with SF to deliver equality for all – gays, republicans, maybe even gay republicans.

    Power over principle. The big man is a conman up there sitting beside a gunman.

    I said before, those who bought into the DUP’s moralism have been slapped in the face by the biggest political trickster going.

    Paisley 1 Principle 0

    It seems unionists can be so easily misled that at the next election they will probably even supplement the DUP vote further. And that’s just brilliantly ridiculous.

  • Wow ! This smacks of Paisley jumping before he was pushed. Clearly he didnt want the public embarrassment of being defeated in an election…

  • Dawkins

    Jings knows I’ve no love of Paisley but he’s rocking and rolling now as far as I’m concerned.

    He took not gave what belongs to Caesar. And why not, when he sees his own end nearing? I suspect he finally realized that the only way he could bow out of life and into the history books was to head up an NI Assembly.

    He had to leave the FPC behind of course. Naturally this must have cost the old rabble-rouser many dark nights of the soul, but his loss — and the FPC’s loss — is the gain of the rest of us: peace and stability.

  • wild turikey

    ‘Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.’

    Thomas Jefferson 1802

    Current Match. The score?

    Principle 1

    FPC 0

  • Paisley has just suffered a predictable defeat as some of us of forecast. The FPC has rightly allowed him to bail out, but in truth he should be thrown out. Of course there are others who also need booted out but I am encouraged that this was one vote that couldn’t be fiddled.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Well done to Paisley for ditching the FPC dinosaurs in favour of a stable Union.
    What odds for our Gerry being given a similar ultimatum in the next 12 months?

  • “What odds for our Gerry being given a similar ultimatum in the next 12 months”

    Erm, “Gerry” aint the head of any church as far as I know…

    Also his party acheived over 26% of the vote in this years Assembley Elections. The biggest vote for Sinn Fein since the partition of Ireland in 1921.

    Cause for dismissal…? Probably not…

  • Ultonian

    I think the bible puts it something like this, where your treasure is that’s whee your heart will be also.

    Clearly Ian Paisley has finally admitted, being First Minister of Northern Ireland even with Martin McGuiness is more important than all his years as the Free Presbyterian Moderator. He has finally surcumbed to the temptation – all this I will give to you if you bow down and worship me!

    In one way I feel very sad because evethough I detest his politics, think his church is very narrowminded I always believed he was sincere. Now I realise that his church like his politics was a means to an end – Ian Paisley First Minister of Northern Ireland at any cost.

    It’s really quite disgusting

  • Typhoo

    Paisley’s soul has a price. His fundamental belief was the money in his pocket. But this will come right for the FPC. It was a monumental struggle for any dissenters within any church to rise up in the name of right and do what they did. More power to their elbow in finishing the job.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Paisley has just suffered a predictable defeat as some of us of forecast. The FPC has rightly allowed him to bail out, but in truth he should be thrown out. Of course there are others who also need booted out but I am encouraged that this was one vote that couldn’t be fiddled.

    David, weren’t you thrown out yourself a while back, by the electorate ?

    Ultonian:

    In one way I feel very sad because evethough I detest his politics, think his church is very narrowminded I always believed he was sincere. Now I realise that his church like his politics was a means to an end – Ian Paisley First Minister of Northern Ireland at any cost.

    What, you’re only figuring this out now ? It’s been obvious since the late 1950s that Paisley is a powergrabber; he has used his influence continuously since that time for no other purpose.

    The FPC is a pathetic cult already dying on it’s feet. Removing Paisley could be the death knell.

  • Dawkins

    Ultonian,

    Perhaps we should be a little more charitable. Paisley wouldn’t be the first to see the light and the error of his ways — Jeeze, I’m sounding like Free Pressie — in his declining years. He’s an intelligent chap; he must surely see how well the Assembly is working, largely thanks to his changing his mind.

    So why shouldn’t he be happy? He has the power and he’s brought the peace. That’s a pretty good showing in my book.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The following statement was published on the Burning Bush website in the last hour:

    Press statement from the Presbytery of Ulster

    At the Annual General Meeting of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster on 7 September 2007 it was agreed by an overwhelming majority of members that all Presbytery offices should remain as at present for the remainder of this calendar year.

    In January 2008 all offices will be vacated. Dr Paisley has indicated that he will not be standing for the office of Moderator of Presbytery.

    Ministers and elders left the meeting united, determined to go forward to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and continue to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

    Rev. Ron Johnstone (Deputy Moderator).

  • Turgon

    I am unsure exactly what is happening here. Clearly there are members of the FPC who are unahppy with the current political dispensation.

    I think, though, it is not necessarily fair to regard the FPC and the DUP as one and the same. The DUP has gained a number of defectors from the UUP over the past decade or so very few of whom will have been Free Presbyterians.

    Also those Free Presbyterians I know and am related to are not that interested in politics. They are interested in a traditional fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. They do vote DUP but they seem to see a distinction between party and church. When I have attended FPC meetings there has never been any politics mentioned. Maybe I have not seen a fair representation.

    It is possible that people do genuninely feel there needs to be a separation between the roles of leader of the church and First Minister to protect both the First minister and the FPC from conflicts of interest.

    I do know that Ivan Foster has been complaining about liberalising tendancies in the FPC and Paisley himself for some time.

    To think the FPC is a cult that will disintegrate may be premature. I have little doubt without Paisley the FPC will not have anything like as high a profile but I do think there will continue to be support for their religious position for the forseeable future. Remember there are other churches which left the mainstream Protestant churches in the 1950s and 1960s which continue to exist.

  • Typhoo

    You missed this Gonzo, from the Concerned FP’s website.

    In light of the unanimity of Presbytery and in the interests of promoting the healing of sores opened over the past number of months all references to the issues involved have been removed from this site, and over the next few days we will be considering retiring completely.

    Thank you to ALL who visited and contacted us, and thank you especially to the “Stormont Commission” – Ministers and Elders who gave up so much of their time over the past number of months to help bring about a resolution to the most immediate difficulties our church faced.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I do know that Ivan Foster has been complaining about liberalising tendancies in the FPC and Paisley himself for some time.

    Ivan Foster is doing what Paisley did 40 years ago.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Also his party acheived over 26% of the vote in this years Assembley Elections. The biggest vote for Sinn Fein since the partition of Ireland in 1921.’

    Lest we forget MacSwiney, Gerry presided over the 6.8% debacle in the recent Republic elections, not exactly enhanced by his inept public debating and controversial candidate choices. He’s been all but invisible since the assembly got up and running and the position of Big Ian’s sidekick has been stolen by Martin. The future for SF looks decidedly dead-endish. Would a quiet retirement in his luxurious second home not be a splendid idea?

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,

    I have no doubt there are similarities between what Ivan Foster is doing and what Paisley did. There are, however, very big differences between any percieved liberalising in the FPC and the state of the Presbyterian church (and Methodist church and CoI) 40 years ago.

    I do, however, suggest that announcing the imminent death of the FPC may be a little premature. As I said there are other churches which split from the mainstream at about the same time and continue to exist. I have no doubt that Paisley leaving will diminish the profile of the FPC in non fundamentalist circles but that does not mean they will vanish and it is a position I suspect some in the FPC would welcome.

  • ultonian

    Dawkins

    I would like to agree with you except for one single fact – paisley and his followers made the lives of the People of Northern Ireland a misery while they pontificated their own narrow minded beliefs. A mix of spiritual superiority with political dogma damned thi splace to the wilderness of the troubles. some may go as far as saying the deaths of thousand were the reuslt of such dogmas. While the rest of us worked it oput years ago Paisley didn’t and i believe he conversion has more to do with him being First Minister than any real change in attitude or principle.

  • 6countyprod

    Congratulations to Dr. Paisley, the FP presbytery and those FP’s in the forefront of opposition to recent political developments for finding a very suitable way to bring an equitable conclusion to the current impasse.

    Reading between the lines of Slugger posts it sounds like the enemies of the FP church and the DUP have been severely disappointed by the magnanimity within FP/DUP circles!

  • martyr

    The spin coming out of the FPC is hilarious.

    The truth is that none of the 200+ FP ministers at the meeting last night had the balls to table a motion to oust Paisley, but only a tiny handful had the balls to stand up and give him their support.

    So the weasel outcome was to take no decision, and for him to stand aside gracefully at the end of the year.

    It waits to be seen what the FP congregations will do when they discover that over 95% of their ministers orchestrated a “Night of the Long Knives”.

    Paisley has more dignity than the rest of the FPC combined.

  • Sam Hanna

    FPC congregations are even more angry with Ian Paisley than their ministers – expect them to fully endorse the decision to get rid off him.

    The spin by Paisley on this is a joke – he claims he is stepping aside to prevent a split – why did he not do this in the first place instead of forcing the issue last night?

    This is a big humiliation for Big Ian and his ego – no doubt his money-grabbing family are comforting him and telling him he is a hero in Cyprus Avenue.

    The reality is Paisley is now finished in the FPC – noone is afraid of him any more and he is a lame duck figure of authority until January. Thos eministers who vocally backed him lie Cairns, Douglas, Cooke, Beggs etc are also finished now within the FPC.

    The younger ministers will now step forward and take the Church into the 21st Century on their historic standards.

    On thing the press missed, among many others, is that Paisley’s church is one of the smallest now in the FPC and contains a few old dears and senile halfwits who are bused in to fill a few corners in the empty sanctuary each Sunday. He is a failed preacher and church leader!

  • Turgon

    Sam Hanna,

    I am not a Free Presbyterian (not yet anyway, we keep considering joining but not actually doing it).

    I do not know about the internal politics. I can agree that these events may well be humilitating for Paisley. I agree that Paisley has sold out politically and behaved hipocritically and dishonestly.

    I think it is only fair, however, to say that he has been a good preacher of the gospel and some of his contributions on theology are not bad (I am told the commentary on Corinthians is very good though I have not read it).

    Whilst it is fine to denounce his political sell out Paisley has preached the gospel pretty consistently. In terms of his church being small, well maybe there are issues about him being to busy etc. but we should not regard the sucess of a minister in the size of his congregation. I attended a church for 2 years which usually had only about a dozen to twenty people every Sunday morning but the minister was excellent.

    As to the church moving forwards I hope they do indeed exactly as you suggest.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Won’t the younger ministers have to drag the Free Ps through the 19th and 20th centuries first before they hit the 21st?

  • Gonzo,

    No, and in case to you missed the memo, the Biblical truths that are taught in the FPX go back further than the 19th century.

    Comrade Stalin.

    No, I wasn’t! I was never in. Try and stay with the debate if you can. Paisley is a busted flush and despite the pathetic spin coming from his handmaidens, the FPC did what was right in removing the most senior figure in their Church. It’s excellent news. Now, all that we need is Poots booted out, McCrea shown the door, and who knows, a corner may be turned.

    Sam Hanna – well said.

  • Fred

    Turgon “sold out politically,behaved hypocritically and dishonestly” then you say his theological works are good.

    Have you ever seen a true man of God with the above traits?

    Your description of Paisley though is quite accurate.

  • Dawkins

    Ultonian,

    As far as I’m concerned, Prof Paisley is preaching to the converted. Jeeze, I’m sounding like a Free Pressie again; must cut down on the KoolAid.

    I’ve a little theory that seems to fit at times. I think Paisley changed his mind a long time ago, realized he was a v. bad influence on this place, repented — but didn’t tell anybody. He figured he could keep his “Church” on board until after the St Andrew’s Agreement and he was on an unstoppable course for the top slot.

    In other words he fooled everyone except his God, whoever she may be.

  • Turgon

    Fred,

    Yes actually after I posted it I thought there was a certain severe logical disconnect in my reasoning.

    In terms of the political deal I regard it as a sell out and him as a hipocrite and yes indeed those are not terribly good christian virtues but I am always very concious of judging others in a religious sense.

    In terms of his strictly religious position rather than politics I do not think he has sold out and I have sympathy for many (though not all) of his views. The problem of course as you identify is trying to split the religious and political position.

    I do not want to be glib or in any way blasphmous but with his previous apparent poor health and now recovery along with his political change Paisley reminds me of Hezekiah who was ill, prayed to get better and after recovering showed round the envoys from Babylon and seems to have been condemned for it.

    I sometimes think if Paisley had been ill a few years ago and retired he would have avoided all the condemnation from those who once held him in such high regard.

    Personally I have only met him in passing at family funerals. Elenwe (the wife) maintains that friends of hers who have known him for many years say he was and is a great preacher and pretty good theologian but was always a bit fond of power.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    OK, David, but don’t forget that the Free Ps would have a field day condemning your music collection!

  • Hey Gonzo,

    They need to get into the groove!

  • cynic

    “”What odds for our Gerry being given a similar ultimatum in the next 12 months”

    Erm, “Gerry” aint the head of any church as far as I know… ”

    Naw, Gerry’s just the head of an organisation that spent years deluding thousands of followers and now has to face up to the fact that its ‘truths’ are threadbare making it more and more clear that it’s philosophically bankrupt.

    So no parallel there then!

  • Dawkins

    Cynic,

    Sinn Féin is “philosophically bankrupt”? LOL.

    When was it philosophically solvent? It’s a political party for chrissake.

  • I wonder…

    I think that the total membrship of the FPC is 12,000.

    The NI electorate comprises hundreds of thousands of Protestants (mostly Presbyterians)AND Catholics. Could it be that because certain commentators do not regard the latter as being “fit for government” that we should be concerned at all about division within an electorally insignificant grouping (I’m not even sure that the 12,000 does not include children under 18.)

  • Turgon

    I wonder
    “hundreds of thousands of Protestants (mostly Presbyterians)”
    Actually the membership of the Presbyterian church is about 300,000 so most Protestants are no longer Presbyterians in the sense of the main Presbyterian church. I do not know how many would be added by Reformed, Non subscribing and Evangelical Presbyterian churches, probably less than 50,000 maybe less than 20,000.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On thing the press missed, among many others, is that Paisley’s church is one of the smallest now in the FPC and contains a few old dears and senile halfwits who are bused in to fill a few corners in the empty sanctuary each Sunday. He is a failed preacher and church leader!

    I seem to remember Christianity being about kindness, charity, and loving your fellow man. None of that is present in the above paragraph. Your true colours are showing through, Sam, and it isn’t pretty.

    David Vance:

    No, I wasn’t! I was never in.

    Indeed. Seems you didn’t get the message, though.

    Paisley is a busted flush

    Despite the recent record election victories for the DUP ?

  • Seems like you didn’t get the message of the Presbytery vote, Comrade Stalin. Paisley has made his choice and now the consequences begin and even the peace processors can’t cloak it!

    And btw, yes I did get the message – but my principles aren’t for sale in return for the prospect of power. Let’s see how well the DUP vote holds up next time round.

  • IQHQ

    [i]”I seem to remember Christianity being about kindness, charity, and loving your fellow man”[/i]

    lol… a common misunderstanding… the striving towards these aforementioned virtues, whilst admiribale, is common to almost all morally-conscious human beings living on this planet. It is a common fallacy to to credit Christianity for “giving birth” to these virtues…. common, but inexcusable nevertheless.

    Whilst Jesus’ life provides a wonderful example of virtue in practice, it is to be lamented that dogmatic superstition and theological “speculation” (for that is all that it is) have stifled the simple message of that 1st Century prophet.

    Crucified for love… willing to sacrifice His life before compromising on his simple love-inspired message, and all the time showing no hatred of those who “know not what they do”. Think of how quick we “lesser mortals” are in compromising our ideals… it need not be our life that is threatened… even the chance of a loss of populartity in the playground or workplace is usually enough to prompt us into pulling out the “mask”… yet he was different, and from Him we could learn a lot.

    Yet, think about this… if these simple virtues really did define the most important aspects of Christendom, then there would be no division between the Churches at all today… Catholics and Protestants alike hold these values dear in their hearts (if not perhaps always in their lives)… yet instead we would rather draw the dividing line between those who [i]KNOW[/i] four thousand angels can fit onto the top of a pin and those who [i]KNOW[/i] that the number is only three thousand… absolutely ridiculous..

    The time has come for Christians (like everyone else) to admit their complete ignorance of metaphysical issues. Quantum theory may have yielded some profound insights into the nature of reality, yet a full understanding is either still a LONG way off or (probably more likely) forever beyond our grasp. Admitting as much (in each of our lives) is called having a concern for truth. And isn’t this yet another thing that Christians lay claim to, despite it being a defining characteristic of all consciously curious human psyches? Come on… wake up!

    . . . which brings me to the topic of this particular “thread” . . . It reminds me of a fantastic song by Richard and Linda Thompson back in the 80s… “Did [she] jump or was [she] pushed?”… but, in this context, does it really matter in the end whether he jumped or whether he was pushed? So long as church and state are COMPLETELY SEPARATE (i.e. so long as Paisley resigns or is thrown out) what does it matter how this is achieved? We need urgently to have that public debate (in this new and forward-looking statelet) which took place in France and America several centuries ago… we;ve got a lot of catching up to do… let’s get started!

  • Splurge

    News reports keep referring to fact he was reelected moderator every year since the 1950s except once – anyone know what the once was about?

  • I Wonder

    Here are the “principles”:

    “…nationalists are de facto, if not de jure, unfit for ANY form of Government. Why? Because they seek to destroy the State, ergo they cannot be trusted to do anything in Government.

    Fifth, the institutions will NOT be up and running, count on it.

    Sixth, that’s it!!!

    Posted by: David Vance | February 14, 2006 at 09:24 AM”

  • Dawkins

    I Wonder,

    That’s a little schadenfreudig of you :0)

  • There’s at least some reality in what Sam Hanna says about the Martyrs Memorial. I haven’t been there in a decade but on my visits in the 1990s it all felt a bit limp with the Big Man going through the motions in front of a predominantly ageing congregation. It did not strike me as very dynamic. All the lost sinners must be at Whitewell on a Sunday night.

    So that’s one body that has forced out Papa Doc. Now where’s the next one.

  • fair_deal

    “News reports keep referring to fact he was reelected moderator every year since the 1950s except once – anyone know what the once was about? ”

    AFAIK He was the second moderator of the FPC. He was first elected to the position in the second year of the church’s existence. I don’t know who the first one was.

  • the rev.

    The first was an english man called sydney lince, paisley wasn’t THE founder, he was one of them.

  • Pounder

    I don’t understand FP’s at all. I’m an athiest and quote happy with that, but I am friends with quite a few christians. To me FP’s are everything a christian isn’t. They wallow in hate and biggotry and woe to you if you ever make any slight against them as you end up marked for life as a pariah, or Lundy to use Paisley’s often used put insult. Paisley is now getting a taste of his own medicine and I hope he finds it as bitter as those he had on the recieving end for years.

  • Dawkins

    Pounder,

    “I’m an athiest…”

    Oh yeah? I’ve a dyslectic Protestant friend who calls himself a Christina. :0)

  • I Wonder

    Dawkins:

    :0)

  • Turgon

    Ponder,
    You would not expect me to agree with you so of course I will not. I am not a FP but I have sympathy with many though not all their views. I also am not a DUP supporter (as you probably know I am a member of the Prodiban).

    The problem I think is at least in part that the image seen on the media is fairly atypical of what most FPs get up to (at least my family and friends). A telling remark in, I think, the Belfast telegraph’s coverage (I have no idea how to do links) is that many in the FPC are fundemanentalists with little or no interest in politics. At least some of the opposition to Paisley as a government minister is because he should not be dividing himself up as he inevitably has to. I can remember a FP friend at QUB more than 15 years ago complaining that Paisley should stick to preaching the gospel and not be involved in politics. Yes of course there are more blatantly political issues eg the quotes about murderers in government etc.

    You only really see the FPC when protesting against stuff. All the quiet stuff never gets media attention. As a further example the Brethern and Independent and Free Methodist churches have similar positions (except for methodists not being calvanists but that is a topic for another day) and yet you may well have hardly have heard of them.

    Certainly I have know Rev. David McIlveen and a more charming kind and godly man I have not met. Yes I know he takes part in protests against things he sees as unbiblical which of course you see. His extremely kind and helpful actions to members of our family obviously you will not have seen. Paisley has also himself preached at the funerals of family members who for health reasons have not darkened the door of any (let alone his) FP church in 10 years or more. Again in person he was charming and pleasant and his sermon was a text book sermon at a funeral.

    Actually I think a more overt split between the church which has many DUP members and the DUP which has quite a few FP members is welcome.

  • Dawkins

    Turgon,

    Thoughtful post.

    You can link to a page simply by copy/pasting the address of the page. Slugger does the rest.

  • Darrell monteith

    I have not visited this site for a long time and frankly reading through the claptrap that so many contibutors write I am not likely to read it again for some time.

    Dr Paisley has started led and built up the Free Presbyterian church in the face of fierce opposition from ecumenical clergy, unionist governments and Rome inspired hatemongers throughout the world. The truth is that there is a strong evangelical protestant witness in Northern Ireland today which has spread across five continents and inspired true Christians throughout the world to stand for the true Biblical faith.

    Dr Paisley’s influence and inspiration is not limited to the FPC denomination alone and he is welcome to preach in many evangelical protestant churchs throughout the UK and across the world.

    I believe his work as moderator is complete and he will continue as he does now to command the total respect and loyalty of of virtually all Free Presbyterians.

    Dr Paisley is as always a man motivated by principle and if he has agreed to retire next year from his current role then he is doing that in a gracious and Godly spirit of one who wishes to retain the true Christian unity within the church. I like many protestants am greatly indebted to Dr Paisley for the years in which he has stood resolute against republican, popish and ecumenical thuggery in Northern Ireland.

    The IRA are clearly now defeated and they have had to surrender their weapons to an appointee of the British government of Northern Ireland. Adams, McGuinness et al. are now effectly supporting a british police force and being part of the government of British Northern Ireland which is subject to the democratic control of the people of Northern Ireland and that is an achievement of which Dr Paisley is justly proud and he is to be congratulated and thanked for that.

  • I wonder…

    “I have not visited this site for a long time and frankly reading through the claptrap that so many contibutors write I am not likely to read it again for some time.”

    ooo…hark at her! ;o)

  • So Ian Paisley is to be removed as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (not to be confused with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland)? The split in the DUP is obviously on its way.

    But then, well might not only as good as every Protestant in Northern Ireland, but also up to every second (and certainly every third) Catholic there, be incandescent at the loosening of the Union that they rightly identify as their country.

    And well might everyone, both throughout the United Kingdom and throughout Ireland, be incandescent at the welcoming into the government of Northern Ireland of those, rightly regarded as pariahs in the Republic, who believe that sovereignty throughout Ireland resides in the Provisional Army Council, of which several of them are members, and which would be disbanded if any such claim were no longer being made.

  • oldruss

    Perhaps the words of General Douglas MacArthur in his farewell address, well fit Rev. Ian Paisley’s farewell to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster:

    “I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams.

    “The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

    “And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-by.”

    Gen. Douglas MacArthur, April 19, 1951, Joint Session of the Congress of the United States of America.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes but MacArthur was an old fart and almost got us into WW3.
    Oh and btw, MacArthur ran away too.

  • dub

    it is truly stomach churning to read the lilting and gentle prose of someone like Turgon and realise that his views if they were to gain any currency would plunge the north of ireland into another 30 years of sectarian blood letting… a real christian would not hide hateful views behind such an endearing but deceitful mask…hypocrite (note the spelling) indeed!