Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Not in my name

I remember clearly standing outside the small country church on a hill near my home one afternoon each summer for the "Orange service". The accordion band would play a hymn as it paraded beneath rustling trees on its way up to the church followed by twenty or so men (mostly farmers) wearing suits priced at the very limit of their means. The banner would be lowered, and we'd all walk into the church to sing snail's-pace hymns and hear a sermon on being faithful to Jesus and loving our neighbours. Up on our feet again for "O God our help in ages past" - even more slowly than last year - then we'd file outside to see the small group disappear down the hill again before meeting up for tea and buns in the musty old church hall. The most anyone had to fear was being force-fed too much sandwich cake by the Mothers' Union.

Around 6pm the farmers would go back home where their Catholic neighbours had milked their cows for them, a favour they would return on Hibernian parade days. And they'd share a Black Bush together too.

In many places east of the Bann, quiet solemnity has given way to triumphalism, modesty has yielded to brashness, shared hymns have been ditched for sectarian party songs, saved-for suits replaced by stolen-for football strips, unspoken neighbourly love replaced by screamed hatred.

Shame on you.


At 4:49 p.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:50 p.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

The way it should be John

At 5:02 p.m., Anonymous John said...

Glad to hear you say it, Chris.

At 11:50 p.m., Blogger The Phantom said...

It is most disheartening to see the developments of recent weeks. Yours is a voice worthy of respect.

Most of the people I know, from the north and nearby counties, would have an identical response. I've heard it many times, and long before the " peace process " too.

The bad guys, with their guns and their drugs and their masks do not speak for all, and hopefully they do not speak for most. The voices of civility and christianity ( small c ) must be heard.

At 10:46 p.m., Blogger David Gough said...

Dear God you make me cry. My ancestors farmed all along the Bann


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