The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Father Mc Manus on Ron Lauder, David Trimble, the Orange Order, and Catholic anti-Semitism

Father Sean Mc Manus • 7 October 2004

Regarding the controversy about Ron Lauder, of the Estee Lauder company, hosting a New York fund-raiser for David Trimble MP, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and leading member of the Orange Order. The Ulster Unionist Party can no more evade the issue of the Orange Order than Sinn Fein can evade the issue of de-commissioning. It is not going to go away, you know.

In fairness it must be said that Sinn Fein has gone to extraordinary lengths to resolve the de-commissioning issue, with the IRA having agreed to move appropriately in the context of an overall political agreement.

However, no such movement has been made by the UUP on the symbiotic union that exists between the Ulster Unionist Party and the sectarian, racist and viciously anti-Catholic Orange Order.

The Orange Order -- secret and oath-bound -- has historically always had the last word on who advances to leadership in the Ulster Unionist Party. It is universally accepted by informed people that David Trimble became leader of the UUP because of his hard-line and extreme support of the Orange Order's " Siege of Drumcree" -- similar to the way Governor George Wallace came to power in Alabama by exploiting White racism against Blacks.

Today, in the United States, no Member of Congress could get away with being a member of a secret oath-bound society that was anti-Black, anti-Jewish or anti-Catholic.

How, then, can David Trimble and so many other Unionist leaders get away with being members of the Orange Order? An Order that is avowedly anti-Catholic, anti-Good Friday Agreement and which has denounced British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for being married to a Catholic? (The rules of the Orange Order forbids members from becoming Catholics, marrying Catholics, or of attending Catholic Church services under the pain of being shunned and expelled).

The closest American parallel to the Orange Order is the White Citizens Council -- a racist, anti-Black organization. It is the "white-collar" version of the Klu Klux Klan, appealing the more "respectable" people.

Can anyone imagine Ron Lauder hosting a fund-raiser for a prominent member of the White Citizens Council? Yet he appears to feel it is okay to host a prominent member of the anti-Catholic Orange Order --- thus, in effect endorsing the pernicious anti-Catholic bigotry of the Orange Order.

I can only imagine that Ron Lauder did not fully understand what he was doing (but he himself must tell us that, as nobody else can). As a former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Mr. Lauder would obviously be very sensitive to issues of equality, justice and peace as Jewish-Americans have a splendid, unsurpassed record of opposing discrimination and injustice. For example, most of the money given to Martin Luther King's Civil rights Movement came from the Jewish-American community, to their everlasting credit. And, regarding the Irish issue, no Members of Congress have been better than Jewish-Americans: think of Ben Gilman, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, Gary Ackerman, Senators Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, etc.

When informed Irish Catholics speaks about Jewish-Americans, they must do so humbly aware of the sad role the Catholic Church has historically played in the spread of anti-Semitism (and for which Pope John Paul II has apologized).

As a Catholic priest, I am deeply ashamed of the Church's long history of anti-Semitism. And it has always amazed me that, since I came to America on October 2, 1972, no Jewish-American has ever held my Church's record of anti-Semitism against me. Instead, Jewish-Americans -- especially Members of Congress -- have always treated me with great respect and affection. And that has touched me to the core of my Irish Catholic soul.

That is why I cannot believe Ron Lauder fully knew what he was doing. But, as I said, only he can make that clear and I plead with him to do so. I also urge him to use his good office -- and his influence with Jewish-American organizations -- to persuade David Trimble and all Unionist leaders to reject and denounce the deadly bigotry of the Orange Order.

Irish-Americans must continue to reach out to the Protestants and Unionists of Northern Ireland in forgiveness and reconciliation. But we cannot remain silent about the pernicious bigotry of the Orange Order. This bigotry has always been one of the fundamental causes of violence in Northern Ireland.



Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

9 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Death of George Harrison
Ruairi O Bradaigh, National Irish Freedom Committee and Brian Mór

Can't Deal, Won't Deal
Anthony McIntyre

Update - Youth Suicide Prevention Project
J. Terry Ryan

Father Mc Manus on Ron Lauder, David Trimble, the Orange Order, and Catholic anti-Semitism
Father Sean Mc Manus

Say it in Breac'n English (Part Four)
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Some Inconvenient Facts
Patrick Hurley

Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Irish Question
Liam O Ruairc

The Gates of Hell
Elana Golden

After the Venezuela Referendum
Toni Solo

One for the Road
Brian Mór

5 October 2004

Marty O'Hagan Three Years On
Anthony McIntyre

Say it in Breac'n English (Part Three)
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Shankill Education
Mick Hall

Where Are We After Fours Years of Intifada?
Haithem El-Zabri

The Letters page has been updated.



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices