Orange Order Strives To Make Twelfth of July “Inclusive”

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image: Politics.ie

On the Twelfth of July, the pinnacle of the Orange Order’s marching season in Ulster, The Potato’s Northern Ireland correspondent, Christian Talbot looks at how the organisation is opening up, embracing all members of the community and including them in this year’s celebrations.

Christian spoke to Grand Master of the Orange Order, Steven Edwardson.

“Mr Edwardson thanks for speaking to us today on what must be one of the busiest times for you. The Orange Order has been quite vocal as to how it’s making itself and the 12th of July parades more accessible to those outside. Can you tell us what the Orange Order is doing to try and become a more inclusive organisation?”

“Well firstly Christian, thanks for talking to us. Is that a southern accent?”

“Yes it is. I’m originally from Dublin.”

“I thought I heard a twang there alright. Well we’ll try not to hold that against you!” *laughs*

“…Ok”

“To answer your question, we in the Orange Order are attempting to engage with as wide a range of people to promote Orangeism. We want to reach out to everyone to show that the July 12th can be celebrated by everyone. Where in Dublin are you from by the way?”

“I’m from Malahide.”

“Big Protestant population in Malahide isn’t there?”

“Relatively…So in what ways are you reaching out?”

“We’re trying to encourage as much diversity as possible in those that will attend and join in our celebrations.”

“Who in particular?”

“Church of Ireland, Church of Scotland, Church of England, Presbyterians, Free Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostalists…everyone really. So what church do you attend in Malahide?”

“I don’t attend church anymore. I’m an atheist. I can’t help but notice that the people you’re looking to include are all pretty much protestant? What if a Muslim wanted to take part?”

“Well they could watch. Can’t stop them doing that.”

“Buddhists?”

“Nope.”

“Sikhs?”

“Ehmmm…*thinks* No.”

“Jews?”

“Definitely not.”

“Scientologists?”

“Fuck right off.”

“So who would be allowed to take part?”

“Anyone from a Christian religion really.”

“Catholics?”

“Apart from Catholics. A lot of us seem to have a bee in our bonnet about them in particular.”

“Atheists?”

“Maybe. What sort of atheist?”

“A gay atheist?”

“Not a chance…so which church don’t you attend anymore?”

“It doesn’t really matter Mr Edwardson. I’m not religious in any way.”

“It was worth a punt.”

“Can we come in and see the inside of the Orange Lodge?”

“Sorry. Protestants only.”

Image: Politics.ie

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