THE Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution, Alan McLean, has said that there are those in the Protestant community who sneer at the Twelfth, looking down upon it, and who boast that they would do anything and go anwyere to avoid it.
Speaking at the Twelfth demonstration in Rasharkin, Bro. McLean, made his remarks at the Twelfth demonstration of the Institution said he found it sad that this was the case and that some within the Protestant communnity were reluctant to take any interest in their past or to praise God for past deliverances.
He told the audience: “I heard recently about a group of Protestant children who were on a church outing to Londonderry and when they asked the leaders about the walls and so on, the leaders knew so little about the history of it all that they could not answer the children’s questions. Surely there is something wrong here.
“We have a Biblical mandate – and also a solemn responsibility - to remember our past and to give thanks to Almighty God for what He has done for us. And that is why we are here today.
“In 1688, our nation was threatened by sinister forces which would have reversed the Protestant Reformation and denied the people their hard-won civil and religious liberties. The clock would have been turned back and the light of the Bible would have been replaced by the darkness of Romanism.
“But God is sovereign and, in answer to the prayers of the people, He raised up a deliverer - William Prince of Orange - who came to our shores in November 1688 with his famous motto “The liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain.” And, over the next months, William secured our civil and religious liberties and established the Protestant monarchy we have today.
“We must make sure that we continue to “Remember 1690”. Indeed, we have more reason than ever to treasure and defend the constitutional arrangements established during the Glorious Revolution, for it would seem that they are under renewed threat.
“Last October, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he proposed to make some changes to the law of succession to the Throne. One of these is that the monarch should be allowed to marry a Roman Catholic.
“This raises at least one important question - the Roman Catholic Church requires that parents promise to bring their children up as Roman Catholics, so where would that leave the succession? I fear that if this change is made it is only a matter of time before our Protestant monarchy is in real danger.
“And let us be under no illusions. There are those in our nation who, for whatever reason, are very keen to destroy the Protestant basis of our Monarchy - and to sacrifice it on the altar of “equality” and political expediency.
“I have to make it very clear from this platform today that, as an Institution, our loyalty is to a Protestant Monarchy. That is reflected in our Resolutions every year. There must be no change to the Bill of Rights of 1688 and the Act of Settlement of 1701. Our Protestant Monarchy has worked well for 300 years. It has brought stability and civil and religious liberty to our nation – and we tamper with it at our peril.”
Bro McLean siad this year also marks another very important centenary – and this one is perhaps the most important of them all - the signing of Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant in September 1912.
He said: “One hundred years ago, Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom was under threat as never before, and the demands for Home Rule were getting louder and louder. The Protestant and Unionist people in Ulster feared for their future. It was without doubt a day of great crisis. Our fathers knew that Home Rule would be Rome Rule – and so, for their own sake and that of their children, they knew that they were duty-bound to resist it –to the death if necessary.
“Drawing from their rich Scottish Covenanting heritage, the people bound themselves together in a Solemn League and Covenant. On “Ulster Day” - 28 September 1912 - it was signed by nearly 240,000 men. And over 234,000 women signed the Declaration.
“The wording of the Covenant reminds us of the terrible dangers our fathers faced, but it also reminds us that they placed their trust, not in men, but in the Lord.
“On the Sunday before Ulster Day, a ‘Day of Prayer and Humiliation’ was called by the Protestant churches, and ‘Solemn Assemblies’ were held all over the country on the morning of Ulster Day itself.
“Their motto was “For God and Ulster” – and that must remain our motto today. They trusted in the Lord – and we must do the same today.
“We rejoice that, 100 years on from those dark days, we are still part of the United Kingdom. The efforts down the years by our enemies to cajole us, to bomb us, to force us into a united Ireland have come to nothing. The Union today is stronger than ever. And in 2021, we will celebrate the centenary of the state of Northern Ireland.