Don’t Blame the Orangemen for bigotry

Posted By: March 29, 2013

By Fr. Sean McManus, President of the Irish National Caucus

May 2008

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 offensive.
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 work’.
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 Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
Capitol Hill
PO BOX 15128
Washington, DC. 20003-0849