Thursday, 17 July 2008

Kane "the Twelfth could be and should be accessible to everyone who values liberty and individual rights"

I am a little out of touch with what’s been happening in Northern Ireland over the past fortnight. However my first stop to catch up with events over the twelfth was Redemption’s Son, where Ignited and others have continued to record the marching season through the prism of their participation. In describing the twelfth parade in Ballyclare, Ignited mentions comments by Orange Order chaplain Rev Stephen Dickinson who launched a broadside against the day developing toward ‘cultural tourism’. It is, he maintains, about Protestantism and about Britishness.

I commented on the blog itself that I saw no reason why the Order should not continue to demonstrate both its faith and its culture, whilst simultaneously welcoming those who share neither to its parades and fostering a fun atmosphere alongside the more serious religious aspects of the day. Alex Kane is more forthright in his News Letter column, reminding Dickinson that the Battle of the Boyne safeguarded the Act of Settlement which enshrined liberties and freedoms which underpin the United Kingdom’s constitution to this day. These liberties and freedoms are extended to all British people, irrespective of religion or culture. He believes that the celebration should be accessible to people of all faiths and cultures.

The Orange Order places the Protestant reading of Christianity at the centre of its purpose. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. Complaining that the Order does not admit those of other faiths is a bit like bemoaning that the Jesuits only admit Catholics. That does not preclude attempts to make the Twelfth more attractive and inclusive. To quote Kane “the Twelfth could be and should be accessible to everyone who values liberty and individual rights. Protestantism is certainly a part of it, but it mustn't be allowed to overshadow some equally relevant truths”.

3 comments:

Aidan said...

I think that its fair enough that the Orange Order is a Protestant organization, it is its raison d'être after all.
What is a problem though is the very monolithic Empire Britishness the organization displays. I agree with you that they should make their event a celebration that others can enjoy just like you might go to a Semana Santa festival in Spain even if you have no religious beliefs.
The other thing that I find a bit strange is the idea of monolithic 'Protestantism'. There are many Protestant religions and I don't think that they speak with one voice so why is there this continued focus on a Protestant and British identity when both labels mean quite different things to different people.

Kloot said...

I genuinely fail to understand the contention that "the Battle of the Boyne safeguarded the Act of Settlement which enshrined liberties and freedoms which underpin the United Kingdom’s constitution to this day."

The glorious revolution as it is called, merely secured for one religion (ie protestantism ) the liberties and freedoms that you talk about. James threatened to restore Catholicism as the religion of the state, and tried to enforce rules and regulations on how people should practice their faith. The revolution reversed this trend and gave protestants freedom of conscience in practising their faith. It did not however give similar rights to practising Catholics.

It too many many years more before Catholics could share similar liberties and freedoms, and even then they were begrudgingly allowed.

Chekov said...

Kloot. The Glorious Revolution established principles which developed into liberties and freedoms for all. No-one would claim that immediate equality was realised for Catholics, but that is to miss the point entirely. What the Glorious Revolution did establish was the idea of a limited constitutional monarchy, the idea of the constitution protecting individuals from tyrannical power, the idea that Parliament should be sovereign and the idea that individuals were in possession of certain rights. The Glorious Revolution was as pivotal in establishing rights and freedoms as was Magna Carta.