Orange Order District Parade scheduled for 25th August in Glasgow
The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland is deeply disappointed at what can only be described as a significant and serious deterioration in multi-faith relationships in Glasgow, fostered by the City Council.
Different faiths will never come together unless we stand together. But today, in Glasgow, the first no-go zone was created. This is unacceptable.
We of course understand that the events in July outside of St Alphonsus Church need to be considered. At the time we immediately condemned the actions of those involved and we called for the full force of the law to intervene. Despite the finger of blame being pointed at us, it has now been proven by the Police that the person, or people, responsible were not members of the Orange Lodge or anyone taking part in the parade. It is also now accepted that members of the Orange Order went to the aid of those Roman Catholic parishioners who were receiving abuse.
Our response in the days that followed was to postpone other parades, and look to defuse tensions. In agreement with Glasgow City Council, we moved a future parade to a later date, but that parade has now in-effect been refused through an enforced re-direct by the City Council.
So it seems rather than us all coming together to condemn the actions of the bigoted thugs who caused the issue in Glasgow, we have in some ways given them a greater victory by allowing their actions to cause a breakdown and deterioration in relationships between different faiths, the council and the police.
In order to offer concessions, we proposed the alternative date for the parade, we identified the times of the service in the church and proposed times to avoid this. All of this was rejected. We were simply told that some streets are now no-go zones based simply and horrifically on religious beliefs.
This is religious intolerance, nothing less.
Here’s our alternative way to deal with this and send a message to would-be bigots out there, let’s allow the Orange parade to walk down the street passing the St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow. At the time of the parade, why don’t the parishioners come outside to share the street with us? Let’s wish each other well and carry on with our own lives. Let’s show everyone that we respect each other. Let’s show people that our only differences are religious beliefs. Let’s tell the City that different opinion doesn’t divide us as a community. Different isn’t wrong. Most importantly, let’s send a strong unified message to everyone that says we condemn bigotry, and those that try to hijack our name to promote it.
Let’s stand together.