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Orangeman's first duty is to God, not Ulster

AS A clergyman and former past master of my Orange Lodge, now living in Canada, I was saddened and disgusted at the behavior of some brethren after the parade in Belfast on July 12 (News, July 13).

I have been privileged to preach at Orange services here in Canada and this year was no exception. After commenting on the peaceful marches in Northern Ireland, I was embarrassed to read about and then to see how some people can bring disgrace to the Orange Order.

The Order has a religious service at the field between the parades. I cannot understand how people can worship one minute and then resort to violence the next. It doesn't say much for Orangeism, or for Christianity.

The police are trying to uphold the law. If we are not satisfied with the rules, we do not take it out on the police. There are other – more peaceful – methods which can be used.

I would suggest that the masters of the lodges set an example and suspend anyone who does not wish to abide by the rules.

There are too many yahoos not in the Order, but are hangers-on and who bring shame and disgrace to it. Please don't give them ammunition by your behaviour. Remember: the whole world is watching and, as one Ulsterman, I am not very proud at present.

Always remember that your first obligation as Orangemen is to God. Everything else you do should, therefore, be done in a godly manner.


Ontario, Canada

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