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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion

Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter explores the controversial route DUP boss Ian Paisley must now follow to bring his party into a power-sharing Executive at Stormont with republicans

Dr John Coulter • 9 May 2006

Rev Ian Paisley, the Grand old Duke of Unionism, can lead his DUP into a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein before the 24 November deadline.

This is provided he can convince his volatile religious fundamentalist wing the North South bodies are politically more evil than the Biblical Anti-Christ and Whore of Babylon combined.

This might seem a hypocritical observation given the DUP's presentation by a top level delegation of its Westminster MPs to the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body (BIIB) on 24 April – ironically, the exact date of the 90th anniversary of the start of the Dublin Rising.

In making a presentation to the BIIB, the DUP has gone much further than its rival moderate Ulster Unionist Party, which has boycotted the Body since its inception in 1990. The DUP has denied addressing the BIIB meant the end of the Paisleyites' 16-year boycott. Indeed, the DUP addressing the BIIB is the most significant move in the party's history since it was launched in 1971.

As to the actual message of the DUP presentation, this is more about testing opinion within its own ranks than moving the peace process forward.

The last thing the Paisleyites want is an electorally fatal, public civil war which befell David Trimble and the UUP. Until 24 April, DUP strategy was party unity before political progress.

The Paisley camp also recognises the Unionist electorate is becoming frustrated with the DUP's inaction since it became the top cat in unionism in the November 2003 Assembly election. 2006 will be make or break for the DUP.

Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair are pondering the imponderable – how the blazes do you get Ian 'Dr No' Paisley to do a deal with Shinners without the north Antrim Bible thumpers calling down Sodom-style fire and brimstone on their political messiah?

The London jungle drums seem to be hammering out an unusual rhythm that Blair is riding two DUP horses at once in the hope one of them will deliver the goods.

Plan A is that deputy DUP supremo Peter Robinson will have the guts to seize control of a sizeable section of his party and form an United Unionist Coalition at Stormont with Ulster Unionist boss Reg Empey.

This would leave Paisley's Bible bashing clique isolated, resulting in Free Presbyterian prayer meetings the length of the North appealing for divine approval for a 'Robinson Must Go' campaign.

Plan B is to lure the Big Man himself into the Executive. There's no doubting he would make an excellent First Minister. But how do you keep fundamentalists from wrecking everything they touch when they just get a faint whiff of power-sharing with republicans or nationalists?

Its simple. This battle will be won in the fundamentalist church halls, mission halls and mid-week prayer and Bible studies across the North over the coming months.

The Paisleyite spin doctors must sell a power-sharing Executive with the Shinners as the only way to 'Save God-fearing Ulster' from the pagan evils of the North South bodies.

Taking Executive seats, therefore, would be an integral part of a Christian jihad – or holy war – against a united Ireland.

In the coming weeks, Paisley's loyal band of Bible bashers must be converted to the notion the North South bodies were conceived by satan himself and moulded in the pit of hell.

There are enough verses from the New Testament book of Revelation to convince any Doubting Thomas that the North South bodies represent a bigger demon than the hated Anti-Christ.

More importantly, the Bible brigade themselves must see the political light that the only way to exorcise the North of this cross border demon is to form the Executive before 24 November. It must be sold to fundamentalists using the Bible.

If the DUP's substantial 'born again' faction passionately believe it is God's Will for its earthly messiah (Ian senior) to form the Executive to combat Lucifer's cross border arrangements, then the deal will certainly be done.

On paper, it all looks simple. If London and Dublin plump for Plan A, Robinson will be First Minister; go for Plan B, and its Big Ian in the top seat. Either way, Bertie and Tony will have a DUP/SF Government at Stormont.

Paisleyite fundamentalists may need to have a political Road to Damascus conversion like the Biblical hero St Paul if the Executive is to become a reality.

It has to be sold to them like the Old Testament manna from heaven which saved the Israelites in the wilderness – not the evil apple which the devil tempted Eve to gobble in the Garden of Eden.

Seasoned political pundits may want to puke at the thought of using the Bible as the lever to bring the Paisley camp on board after almost four years of stalemate since the October '02 suspension.

But it must not be portrayed as a case of the religious Paisleyites supping soup with the devil. As far as fundamentalists are concerned, they must not backslide from the Biblical standpoint that entering an Executive is really spitting soup in satan's face.

London and Dublin will not get their answers from political press conferences. They must study carefully the religious utterances of Paisley at 'Free P' functions, and especially the sermons of the Orange and Black clerics during the Marching Season – particularly on the Twelfth and Black Saturday.

Fundamentalists feed on Biblical verses. So Tony and Bertie, give them plenty of texts and they will troop into the Promised Land – but just make sure you quote from the Authorised King James Version. Many fundamentalists loathe the modern translations – so sell them some of that Auld Tyme Gospel religion.










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Index: Current Articles

11 May 2006

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Can of Worms
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The Wrong Man
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Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
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Forum Magazine Editorial

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Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
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Meal Ticket
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Examples of Dialogue
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Grave Secrets
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Spoiled Rotten
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Let Bygones be Bygones
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Urgent Memo — Judas Was One of the Bad Guys!
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Freedom of Speech index



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