Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Annual Unpleasantness of July 12: The Orange Order Now and Then

The Orange Order gets back in the news every year around July 12th. Most recently it is because a major figure in the Orange Order has been charged with attempted vehicular homicide. A teenager, Phoebe Clawson was trapped under a vehicle after an incident in Ardoyne, Belfast.
In what can only be viewed as equivalent to policemen keeping their jobs after murdering innocent, unarmed victims, a prominent Orangeman has been granted bail after appearing in court accused of attempting to murder two people knocked down by a car during a riot in Belfast.

John Aughey (61), was released on the condition he adhered to strict bail restrictions. Phoebe Clawson (16) was trapped under the vehicle after the incident at the Ardoyne in north Belfast on Monday night. Police and nationalist residents moved swiftly to lift it off her. She is in a stable condition in hospital having suffered multiple broken bones.

Mr Aughey, from Brae Hill in north Belfast, is charged with her attempted murder and faces the same count in relation to another pedestrian allegedly struck by his vehicle. The incident unfolded during a loyalist riot at a sectarian interface between the nationalist Ardoyne area and the unionist Woodvale area. The lawyer questioned the appropriateness of the charges, claiming the alleged offenses were of a dangerous driving nature, not attempted murder.
Aughey, dressed in a black and white polo shirt, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges during the low key hearing.

About the Orange Order:

The Loyal Orange Institution, more commonly known as the Orange Order, is a Protestant fraternal organization based primarily in Northern Ireland. It also has a significant presence in the Scottish Lowlands and lodges throughout the Commonwealth and United States. It was founded in County Armagh in 1795 – during a period of Protestant-Catholic sectarian conflict– as a Masonic-style brotherhood sworn to maintain Protestant dominance. Its name recalls the Dutch Protestant king William of Orange, who defeated the army of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Its members wear Orange sashes and are referred to as Orangemen. The Order is best known for its yearly marches, the biggest of which are held on 12 July which have long instigated violence.

It's foundation should be contextualized by the understanding that during the period in which it was created, in 1791 the United Irishmen were founded. The United Irishmen was a self-consciously non-sectarian organization, which included both Protestant and Catholic Irish intent upon gaining independence for the nation. It's founder, Theobald Wolf Tone was a Belfast Protestant. The United Irishmen had many ties at the time to Freemasonry, and it was only after the brutal suppression following the failure of the uprising in 1798, that Freemasonry began to be considered an anti-Irish institution in Ireland, which led, not surprisingly to the revisionist claims in some circles that Freemasons who supported the Irish cause were somehow not legitimate masons.

Politically, the Orange Order is a ultra-conservative British unionist organization with links to right wing political movements, paramilitary organizations, and even Nazi inspired organizations and the Klan. It campaigned against Scottish independence in 2014. The Order sees itself as defending Protestant civil and religious liberties, whilst critics accuse the Order of being sectarian, triumphalist and supremacist. As a Protestant society, non-Protestants cannot become members unless they agree to adhere to the principles of Orangeism and convert, nor can Protestants married to Catholics.

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