Don’t Blame Orangemen For Bigotry

Posted By: May 15, 2008

Don’t Blame The Orangemen For Bigotry

Irish News. May 15, 2008

Fr Sean McManus, President,
Irish National Caucus,
Capitol Hill, Washington DC

OBSERVER, Newcastle (May 13) identifies the source of anti-
Catholic bigotry as the Orange Order.

But one has to go deeper than that.

The Orange Order merely reflects the anti-Catholicism that is
enshrined, justified and practiced in the British constitution
through the Act of Settlement 1701. Provisions in that act –
still in force today – bar a Catholic from succeeding to the
British throne and decree that if the monarch becomes a Catholic,
or marries a Catholic, he/she forfeits the throne and “the
people are absolved from their allegiance”.

Imagine if there were provisions in the United States
constitution barring a black person from being president – or
decreeing that the president could not marry a black person.

Imagine how that would have justified and inflamed white
supremacy and racism. And there would be no point in condemning
the yahoos of the Ku Klux Klan while ignoring the pernicious
provisions in the constitution.

So far the only thing the British government has done is to say
that changing the anti-Catholic law would be complicated, time-
consuming, involve a lot of paperwork, etc.

Such specious excuses only confound the problem and are deeply

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
were ‘time- consuming’ but had to be done if America was to hold
its head up in the world.

Ending segregation in the US – and ‘Jim Crowe’ laws in the
American south – was ‘complicated and involved a lot of paper

But justice and human decency demanded it – and it was done.

The British government’s pledges on equality hold no credibility
as long as its (unwritten and uncodified) constitution is
formally and de jure anti-Catholic.

How can the Orange Order be blamed as it is only being faithful
to the British constitution?

Always go to the source, Observer.

Fr Sean McManus
President, Irish National Caucus
Capitol Hill, Washington DC