Sunday Sequence and some tricky questions

If you were listening to Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster/Raidio Uladh this morning, you’ll have heard Róisín McAuley interviewing former Presbyterian Moderator Rev Norman Hamilton. It was a good interview that raised a number of worthwhile questions. The answers it produced were rather less shining.

Róisín asked Norman how he felt about the various bonfires that burned election posters of republicans and a mock-up coffin of Martin McGuinness, with accompanying abuse. Norman said he thought it was very bad and shouldn’t have happened. Then Róisín asked an awkward question: why hadn’t the former Moderator spoken out before the Eleventh Night, not after it? Norman fielded this one quite deftly: if she’d invited him onto the programme a week earlier and asked him the question, he’d have been glad to give the answer he now gave: it was appalling conduct (I’m paraphrasing here.)

Then Róisín lobbed an even tougher question: did Norman, a leading clergyman, need to wait to be asked before he spoke out and condemned such things? Norman accepted that this was a valid criticism, while drawing a distinction between Belfast bonfires and those in other places.

And that, essentially was that. Norman graciously acknowledged that he should have spoken out without being asked and the interview concluded.

How is that enough? Aren’t clergymen of all denominations, but especially those of the Protestant faith, supposed to give a moral lead? Every year it’s patently clear that the dreary procession of band after band, maybe some 3,000, act as an iron curtain of division in this society. It’s the Twelfth fortnight, Fenians keep out of the way. Let’s burn Irish flags, pictures of republican politicians, the occasional statue of Our Lady. And yet Protestant clergyman aren’t taking every opportunity to come out and say “This is bad. We’re supposed to be building a more cohesive society and THIS IS BAD!”

No wonder the British people are in shock when they finally have a look at the DUP.

 

29 Responses to Sunday Sequence and some tricky questions

  1. Stephen Kelly July 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    Then Róisín lobbed an even tougher question: did Norman, a leading clergyman, need to wait to be asked before he spoke out and condemned such things? Norman accepted that this was a valid criticism, while drawing a distinction between Belfast bonfires and those in other places.

    Good for Roisin that was THE right question. I mean what have they to lose their congregations are tiny but the ones that do go i would think not being snobby but might be a step up and be in a position to know people who might influence thinking in protestant OO circles. I must say i’m not happy with our PSNI i have heard a few personal things from people. One of my children was, I can understand very annoyed about a major holdup for an orange parade in Newry and to add insult to injury she said she had to watch our impartial PSNI members going over to marching members and hugging and pats on the back. Brings me back to the old days when the barstewarts would back the traffic nearly up to the border while the old RUC rolled up their shirt sleeves so that you could see all their loyalist tattoos while you sat and quietly seethed.

  2. giordanobruno July 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    When did the effigy of McGuinness appear?
    If it was there for a week before the 12th then yes it should have been condemned from all corners including the pulpit.
    If it only appeared on the 11th night then I think it a bit unreasonable to say he should have spoken out before that.

    • Bridget Cairns July 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

      Gio, fyi, his name was Martin or even Mr Mc Guinness, a little respect is in order, but I am not holding my breath on that one…………………

      • giordanobruno July 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

        Bridget
        Use of a surname is commonplace for goodness sake. Paisley Thatcher McGuinness Adams and so on.
        Let’s not be so quick to find offence where none is intended.

        • Ceannaire July 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

          Irrespective, he was asked about these things – plural, Gio. The Martin McGuinness thing was only one such affront.
          And these things go on year after year – the burning of flags, posters, effigies or an item of some sort. You may remember, for example, a memorial to a person who died by suicide being put on a bonfire. We know what is done each year, Gio. I suggest so too does Norman Hamilton.
          Ample opportunity.

          • giordanobruno July 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

            Ceannaire
            I broadly agree. The Martin McGuinness effigy was mentioned specifically in Jude’s piece so I wanted to clarify the situation regarding that issue.
            There should be no flags and no images of anyone burned on these things and unionist leaders should be making that clear in the run up to the 12th.
            I hope that clarifies my view.

  3. Eolach July 16, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    Gio, forget about the procrastination…. no ifs no buts , we’ve been here before….. there should be a universal blanket condemnation of all these ,base, satanic actions from all who claim leadership in this society… politicians, community workers, governments etc… but especially from Church Leaders who claim moral stewardship over the populace

    • giordanobruno July 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Eolach
      Yes I would like to see better leadership in relation to bonfires from all parts of unionism, though I don’t think @satanic’ is the right description for burning flags and pictures.
      But we can hardly ask someone why they did not condemn an act before it happened, or do you disagree?

      • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 8:22 am #

        Gio,
        satanic
        səˈtanɪk/ extremely evil or wicked.

        I am not a religious person , but in my world ,the burning of effigies is both evil and wicked. I often wonder how such acts rest within the mindset of the sanctimonious and moralizing religious zealots inside Unionism. These acts of depravity are an annual occurrence ,so unless Norman Hamilton inhabits a parallel universe he has had ample opportunity ,without waiting to be prompted, to condemn these happenings …..or perhaps he shares the same antipathy towards half the population here. Your own heal-hearted and unenthusiastic reproval of these events contrast vividly with you severe censure of the Republican movement at every opportunity and your pretense at being even-handed or fair minded has failed abysmally

        • giordanobruno July 17, 2017 at 8:43 am #

          Eolach
          If burning effigies is satanic what epithets do you reserve for the burning of actual people?
          As to my ‘unenthusiastic reproval’ it is true I don’t use terms like ‘satanic’ and ‘evil’ for anti social behaviour but that is just me.
          Do you think Norman Hamilton could have somehow condemned the effigy of McGuinness before it appeared?

          • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 11:12 am #

            So Gio these are acts of “anti social behaviour” as you so euphemistically label them….the same anti social behaviour that led to the “burning of actual people”…the Quinn children. Now you want to know what epithet I would use for that….how about the same one …Satanic….extremely evil and wicked..murder….Sin é agus sin sin.

          • giordanobruno July 17, 2017 at 11:53 am #

            Eolach
            You are overegging it.
            The specific event in question had nothing to do with the Quinn children.
            Nor as far as I am aware did bonfires at the time.
            So what you are doing is conflating all the issues around the 12th and calling them evil.
            Fair enough.
            But I am talking about specific points in relation to what is happening now, in 2017,which you seem unwilling to discuss.
            Do you accept that in regard to the Martin McGuinness effigy no-one could have condemned it before it actually appeared?
            That at least should be simple enough to agree on.
            If you just want to have a broad swipe at unionism that is up to you, they present an easy target a lot of the time.
            But it does not get us very far.

          • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

            Yes, Gio in the pre printing press days of Gutenberg, you could be forgiven for not knowing of certain happenings in your local area but today, with social media, news 24/7 etc, I doubt if the reverend was oblivious to that knowledge…. it was widely reported on Facebook and The Irish news two days beforehand . Whitewashing and misinformation just doesn’t cut it anymore, no more than indirect waffling around a hate fest

          • giordanobruno July 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

            Eolach
            That is something concrete at last. The earliest story I can see on it in the Irish News is on 11th July online. Have you a link to the report from the 10th, or before? I can’t see it.

          • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

            I know it’s hard to believe Gio, but newspapers publish during the night , assimilating and correlating the previous days news so the printed paper is the knowledge they acquired beforehand i.e. July 10th or 9th….. the information was freely and readily available from Monday 10th

          • giordanobruno July 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

            Eolach
            So not reported in the Irish News as you first stated.
            Where was it reported on the 10th?

          • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

            Your pedanticity is becoming boring and irksome….it immaterial when or where ….it was widely reported….maybe not in Unionist papers or the very British orientated tv ( which is solely interested in maintaining a false narrative about the violence and hatred surrounding the 12th ) but it was reported beforehand …..so your attempts at absolution of anyone for not having the courage to speak out is as deplorable as it is hopeless. Gerry Adams may have made a verbal faux pas when he used equality and bastards in the same sentence but the crux of the matter is….Unionists have an irrational fear of it ….they know that when everyone is seen to be equal then the last vestiges of their presumed superiority will have vanished forever.

          • giordanobruno July 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

            Eolach
            That is fine. If you say it was widely reported I’m sure you are right.
            I still can’t find any reference to it earlier than the 11th
            Sometimes these images only go up on the 11th which is why I asked the question.
            I am sure you are as keen on getting the facts as I am

      • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 8:25 am #

        satanic
        səˈtanɪk/….extremely evil or wicked.
        I am not a religious person but I find the very thought of effigy burning, evil and against the norms in any decent society.I often wonder how do these acts sit within the mindset of the bible thumping zealots in Unionism. These acts of depravity are carried out annually so unless Norman Hamilton inhabits a parallel universe, he has ample opportunity to voice his criticism if he so wished…..and not wait to be prompted….or perhaps he shares the same antipathy towards half the population here. I would also like to point out ,Gio that your half-hearted and unenthusiastic

        • Eolach July 17, 2017 at 8:29 am #

          The gremlins are in my pc …this piece was apparently “lost” when I went to answer the door but with the magic of technology has resurfaced.

  4. Sherdy July 16, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    What a pity we don’t have a police service in the north of Ireland!
    The burning of Irish flags, election posters, coffins bearing pictures of dead politicians/or live politicians, and even religious statues surely comes under the heading of hate crimes.
    Have you heard of the PSNI intervening in any of these crimes?
    Never! They are totally partial in their law enforcement, and as Sinn Fein have shut down Stormont as a matter of principle, they should also withdraw support/acceptance of the mainly loyalist PSNI until they begin to act as a police service should, by obstructing all business at policing board meetings!

  5. Stephen Kelly July 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Eolach

    LOL oh look there’s Gio. I know exactly you mean Eolach and i suspect so does gio

  6. Brian Patterson July 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    Something which needs to be.discussed here is the flying of the Union Flag by a latge number, if not the manority, of reformed churches here. Is British citizenship and loyalty to the British Crown a prerequisite to being a member of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church, o r the.Methodist Church? Is there a protocol which dictates that the Church of Ireland in Banbridge flies it while the two in Newry do not? What message does that send to 40 per cent of Banbridge’s population? Or the majority poulation in Poyntzpass? Is the decision to fly or not to fly made at local level? Does it have the approval of the “higher primates”, the Bishops Moderators etc.? Are these same.primates in favour of good community relations? If so do they believe that flying of the Union Flag promotes harmony, respect and good community relations? Or not? And if not what do these “leaders”propose to do about it?

  7. fiosrach July 17, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    The church in Milltown in Maghery has a four turreted tower with a BrItish flag on each corner. Could you ever see the catholic clergy get the nerve to do that?

  8. Jarliff July 18, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    Who cares what religious leaders think anyway.

  9. Violet Manson July 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm #

    The backward mentality of the Green and Orange Paddies amazes outsiders. They are continually Praising this assumed deity it the sky who if it actually exists must exhibit great glee watching its followers all claim that it is on their side and willing at any pretence to commit genocide,slaughter ,murder the other believer for just viewing this same God from a different angle

  10. Violet Manson July 18, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

    The backward mentality of the Green and Orange Paddies amazes outsiders. They are continually Praising this assumed deity it the sky who if in actually exists must exhibit great glee watching its followers all claim that it is on their side and willing at any pretense to commit genocide,slaughter ,murder the other believer for just viewing this same God from a different angle

  11. Brian Patterson July 21, 2017 at 8:38 am #

    Violet Manson, the term Paddy is an offensive racist term; your using it says more about you than it says about the Irish.

  12. Violet Manson July 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    Is not the murder and hatreds inbred between the Christian/religious god lovers not of more concern to you than being offended Paddy expression. Your reply says more about your concerns than of my post.

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