“Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.,” Psalm 119:98-102.
“Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Psalm 119:105.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” Psalm 119:130.
AFTER BROADCASTER STEPHEN NOLAN DISCUSSED THE ISSUE ON AIR.
The article is there to be read by anyone interested but one contribution came closest to the real reason for the malaise!
“William’, a rural unionist in his early twenties, thought Stephen Nolan was “absolutely bang on” about the lack of training for young unionists.
“Some people say there are young articulate unionists but that they are scared to put their head above the parapets, but there has been a generational problem where we haven’t trained young unionists to think in a political way the way the other side have. I think that is a real problem,” he said.
“I think they are afraid but I also think they are ill equipped. I think there is a culture of shame. Our society by and large has made unionists – particularly young unionists – feel that being a unionist is something to be embarrassed about.
“In the way the media speaks about unionists, for example, somebody like myself who is anti-Belfast Agreement, will be labeled an extremist. It kind of makes it taboo.
“There is a problem with unionists being ill equipped – there is no doubt in my mind.”
The advantage with nationalists, he feels, may not so much be formal training as culture.
“Nationalists have a realisation from a young age that they need to articulate their aspirations in a way that we don’t. Unionism hasn’t adjusted to a modern Northern Ireland where we have to make our case. Young unionists are only given tickbox opportunities where nationalists get genuine opportunities.”
He argues that the age profile of nationalist MLAs is increasingly much younger than unionists MLAs, for example.
Asked what part of his culture he is made to feel ashamed of, he replies: “All of it. In terms of legacy, in culture. A shame has permeated our society around the unionist narrative of the past, particularly around the security forces.”
He believes society has “smeared” the reputations of the RUC and UDR unfairly and young unionists feel they can’t be associated with them.
“Culturally, particularly the Orange tradition has been constantly maligned in our society where it is now seen as taboo to associate with it. There are ‘useful unionists’, but to be one you have to be socially progressive – pro gay marriage and abortion – and you have to be pro Belfast Agreement to be seen as legitimate. Otherwise you are a non-entity.”
He believes that the Belfast Agreement has been responsible for “the legitimisation process of those who engaged in terrorism and bloodshed and the demonisation of those who tried to protect our society”.
But he is clear on the way forward: “The responsibility lies with our political parties and the loyal orders. There is no form or means for a young unionist to learn the political trade”. (Underlining mine)
Personally, I was encouraged to read words by this young man which are such an astute evaluation of a situation deliberately buried in sham mumbo-jumbo that pours forth from the ‘Solomons’ ever given ‘air time’ to tell us who and what we are and ought to be!
However, there is an essential element in the process by which a generation of Protestants are where they are which has been overlooked.
That element is the ‘PULPIT’!
For nigh on 70 years, those denominations which once qualified to be called Protestant, have turned their backs upon their Protestant and Reformation heritage. In 1948 the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland became foundation members of an ‘ecclesiastical United Nations’ called the “World Council of Churches.”
From its very first session, the objective of that organisation was plainly stated: it was “To reverse the work of the Protestant Reformation”! The evidence of the zeal put into such a campaign was very soon evident and today those three denominations are closely allied to the Roman Catholic Church and have ceased to contend against or challenge the teachings of that body and label them as did the Reformers.
The basic and central teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are, as the creeds of the three Protestant denominations mentioned, stated to one degree or another, utterly ANTICHRISTIAN!
A perusal of the original ‘Thirty-Nine Articles’, the Westminster Confession of Faith and John Wesley’s comments on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 will clearly indicate this.
For the last 70 years the light of Gospel truth, THE FOUNTAIN-HEAD OF PROTESTANTISM has been dwindling ever more rapidly until Protestantism is seen as is stated by the young unionist quoted above, “socially progressive – pro gay marriage and abortion – and you have to be pro Belfast Agreement”.
These perverted views have replaced the truth of God in the pulpits of most, if not all, mainline churches!
Our Protestant forbears, the grandfathers and grandmothers of those whose views are reported in the article, knew what they were and were not afraid to put their heads above the parapet, indeed storm over the parapet if necessary. They chose the slogan ‘For God and Ulster’. They knew that central to the threat of Irish Republicanism was the denial of civil and religious liberty for them. This they learned from the Bible, from history and from the restrictions that lay upon their fellow Protestants south of the border, in Spain and in many lands in South America.
They were not going to allow such to happen to them.
For our forefathers, the gospel was worth standing up for and bearing reproach for. Ecumenism has made Protestantism an ‘archaic, obsolescent, obsolete’ religious creed for which none but fools and fanatics will show any regard!
The Roman Catholic youth, on the other hand has been taught that his religion is the ‘one and only true religion’ and all that has come of it, owned by it or sanctioned by it, is honourable and wholesome and worthy of the most fervent support. Hence the endorsement by Roman Catholics generally of Sinn Fein and all it has done and the evil it has been involved in!
Every day we see that support growing. Even today, the perceived ‘moderate’ Roman Catholic political group, the Social and Democratic Party, is rated at the bottom of the political heap by a poll of popular support!
Free Presbyterianism has been linked to a form of Unionism that was akin to that of our forefathers. Sadly, that organisation which stood for that political format, the DUP, has succumbed to the deceits of Ecumenism as it has recruited more and more from ecumenical denominations and imbibed their perversions!
However, in earlier days, Free Presbyterians, because they shared the same spiritual outlook as our forefathers, shared also their fears and hopes. Now of course, the views of our forebears are deemed by ‘ecumenical philosophers’ as extreme and fanatical as are any today who dared to state that they share their ancestors’ views.
Thus when they express their views they are met by a torrent of abuse from every so-called ‘enlightened’ source.
The news media are riddled with such hatred and even where some sympathy is shown, it is, at best, ill-informed and only partially convinced of the ‘rightness’ of the views and actions of our Protestant forefathers.
That is the real cause of the quandary about which the ‘Belfast Newsletter’ is making an attempt to address.
We are grateful for their effort but say plainly that it falls far short of unveiling the full truth.
Rev Ivan Foster. (Rtd)
22nd January 2022.