The Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Lodge, Bro. Alan McLean, has said that the Protestant faith is under attack as never before.
Addressing brethren in Portrush on the Twelfth, Br. McLean said it seemed to him that Christian beliefs and values in general were now fair game for ridicule and attack.
“The equality and human rights agendas – which are so loved by the likes of Sinn Fein, SDLP and a host of others who regard themselves as liberal and enlightened – seem to be based on the assumption that some people are more equal than others,” he said.
Bro. McLean went on: “Christians, we are told, have rights, but only if those rights do not impact on the ‘rights’ of others. It’s OK for us to hold to our Biblical views, but we really ought to keep them to ourselves and not share them with others.”
Bro McLean made reference to Asher’s bakery in Newtownabbey who could be facing legal action because the owners would not bake a cake with the words “Support gay marriage” written on it.
“As far as I am aware, Asher’s have never refused to serve anyone. But they have the right to refuse to carry out certain work if it conflicts with their genuine and sincerely held beliefs. If we lose that right of conscience, we are on a very slippery slope.
“There is a key issue of principle at stake here - and I feel that the time has come for a change to the law to ensure that legal protection is given to people on grounds of conscience.”
Bro McLean also included in his platform speech a swipe at the media particularly the BBC as well as praising the growing co-operation between the Independents and the other Loyal Orders.
Supporters of the demonstration enjoyed the seaside atmosphere as well as parade of bands and brethren.