Someone, whom I should not call a muppet, posted the following on a mailing list I belong to:
“Yesterday was the annual feast of Drumcree and yet it passed of quietly and with dignity. Is it now possible that given this pattern of behaviour in the last few years that the time for allowing the marchers to return with dignity some quiet Sunday is upon us?
“What would Jesus do? How would members feel if the way home from the service in ****** was altered because it was a protestant act of worship in a predominantly non-protestant area.Should the C. of I. not try and work for equality of road use?”
Never mind the fact that Drumcree is a protestant church is irrelevant to the march home, here’s what I wrote…
“The marchers can return with dignity to Portadown any Sunday they wish – just not via the Garvaghy Road.
“If you consider that marching back into Portadown is part of the act of worship, which is not an unreasonable intention given that all of our lives are to be an act of worship to God, we must raise the issue of whether how it is perceived damages our witness as Christians, and if our neglect of this reduces its effectiveness as an act of worship to God. The scenes we endured up to ten years ago, together with the fact that the whole business of marching along the Garvaghy Road seems to be more about being able to use a road as an Orangeman than any other reason, suggests that its effectiveness as a (potential) act of worship is seriously impaired. It neither honours the residents nor the authorities (who gain their authority from God), and bluntly, I don’t believe it honours God.
“I personally think that there is an accommodation to be reached, not unlike the one imposed on the Whiterock parade the other week, where the local lodge and no others walk the traditional route without a band, essentially preserving the route, but you don’t get the whole lot invading an area where they are not welcomed. Neither side was happy with it, but it took on both sides of the argument… having been past the Workman Avenue gates last week, though, I cannot say I’d particularly want to walk through them.
“That said, Uncle Andy and Mervyn walking the Garvaghy Road in Give My Head Peace was a sight to behold!”
I just followed up with:
“The other thing I didn’t mention is that the nature of the church service at Drumcree Parish Church is utterly irrelevant. The diversion is in place not because of where they have been, nor because of the act of worship they have participated in, but because of the nature of the actual parade. Those who would argue that it is not triumphalistic are referred to the year they were allowed down, and Ian Paisley and David Trimble danced to celebrate.”