A Response To Richard Reed by Jamie Bryson

A response to Richard Reed- The ideology of Loyalism

I wish to respond to an article submitted by Richard Reed to the Long Kesh site regarding my subject ‘Traditional Loyalism in Modern Society.’
Mr Reed’s article has been re-tweeted by those that would seem keen to endorse his view.
A point was made to me at the weekend during a good-natured debate around gay marriage which I indeed accept to be true, namely that no one policy defines a Party. By the same token no one viewpoint defines a person. Mr Reed seems to have missed this fundamental truth by directing his comments as a poor attempt to defame my character and undermine my argument.
Mr Reed spends a lot of literary effort attempting to separate traditional Protestant values from modern Loyalism, and to be frank, I believe he provides a poor theological basis for this.
His argument woven through the article is that he suggests Protestantism, which separated initially from Catholicism, (reformation period) should somehow move with the times and ‘evolve’ is a bizarre and illogical argument when presented on a Biblical basis.
The reformers ‘protested’ against the teachings and non-Biblical interpretations of the Catholic Church, and they indeed did give birth to what has become known as the Protestant Reformation which has evolved to this very day as the only sound biblical defender of the faith.
I understand Mr Reed’s point (although I fail to agree with him on it) that social identities must evolve, however to do this he contends that Loyalism must completely separate from Protestantism to survive and play a role in ‘modern’ society. Or this would seem to be the logical outcome of his argument.
It is my belief Protestantism can only evolve based upon sound Biblical principles, for indeed it’s foundation is grounded in the infallible, inerrant word of God and is unchanging for all eternity. To therefore ask Protestantism to liberalise or modernize is a nonsense because as stated, it is founded upon the unchanging the word of God.
Mr Reed asks the question, “What is God’s Word?
I believe the word of God is what is written in the Bible. As Jesus himself (Who is the Word of God incarnate) says ‘It is written’.
Mr Reed’s response at times shifts the initial debate into another sphere around the founding principles of Protestantism and on into a much deeper theological discussion. In essence I believe that Mr Reed’s commentary on this particular section is theologically incorrect and is a misinterpretation of the reformation and glorious Protestant revolution. The reformers based their social principles on Biblical principles. They did not break away from the word of God; they broke away from a Church that claimed divine right to interpret the word of God.
Their argument was on a human not a spiritual level. Their ‘uprising’ was not against God, but against the Catholic Church which had forsaken the word of God.
This brings us to the argument that clearly arises following my original piece and Mr Reed’s response, ‘Does Loyalism need to create an identity without the ‘shackles’ of the Biblical principles that comes with Protestantism?’
My original piece clearly contends that Loyalism is best served by maintaining Biblical principles.
Mr Reed’s argument suggests that Loyalism needs to embrace social change and liberalise views on social issues.
But the views and positions taken politically by many sections of Loyalism are based on a personal Protestant faith founded on the Word of God.
It is an indisputable fact that for a wide section of Loyalism, their personal Protestant faith serves as a root for their Loyalist identity.
It is now however an ideological argument developing within Loyalism around what the anchors of loyalist identity actually are. This is being played out in the political sphere.
In previous eras differences such as the (GFA) Yes/No campaign and the breakaway of Loyalist groups who were opposed to the embryonic Peace Process were based upon differences around engagement in the political process.
Today’s debates centre around what political and social positions should shape the Loyalist ideology in the context of participation in this political process.
The problem is there are so many different and complex social and political positions amongst Loyalism that it is difficult to present a political manifesto that will act as a core ideological position on Loyalism. This, I believe, is the root cause of Loyalism’s internal political disagreements.
Mr Reed dismisses out of hand the position taken up by those who share my viewpoint. In contrast to Mr Reed’s view, I recognise the position of various elements of Loyalism that base their idea of Loyalism around a different interpretation / ideology and who indeed interpret the Covenant of 1912 and our historical ‘cause’ in many different ways.
I have previously made my case around my beliefs, however I am conscious of the differences in viewpoint and am prepared to ask the difficult questions that need answered if intra loyalist unity is to be efficiently achieved in the context of building an effective political base.
In this context Mr Reed has initiated a debate around very difficult and emotive questions that admittedly will be difficult to answer and has created an environment for extremely complex debates.
Based on Mr Reeds response and the numerous contradictory elements within Loyalism today, is it wrong to ask is Loyalism an identity in itself or is it a ‘name tag’ created to describe a wide range of different identities?
If it is the former (an identity in itself) then a debate must take place around what is actually the natural ideological position of Loyalism. Is it rooted in Biblical Protestantism or not? If as I believe it fundamentally is, then Loyalism must stay true to the motto ‘For God and Ulster’ or ‘In God Our Trust’ and base political and social positions around this.
If it isn’t (founded in Protestantism), then Loyalism must separate and ‘un-shackle’ itself from a conscious reliance on Biblical principles.
If it is the latter (‘a name tag’ created to describe a wide range of different identities) then Loyalism must shape a common identity that will find common ideological ground between the often-contradictory sections of Loyalism.
In the context of this response to Mr Reed I have simply attempted to highlight the questions that need to be answered.
I have attempted to move the debate to a different level.
It is clear and evident that a wide section of Loyalism would agree with my initial piece and an equally wide section would subscribe to the viewpoint presented by Mr Reed.
This draws the ‘battle lines’ for the debate that Loyalism needs to have and as one person said to me recently, “Every battle ends around the table”.  The core aim must be getting the debate around the table before it becomes a publicly played out political war of words that will only serve to play into the hands of Republicanism and the clear systemic problems that emanate from our system of Government in Northern Ireland.
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14 Responses to A Response To Richard Reed by Jamie Bryson

  1. Jamie’s fears for the dilution of the basic, fundamental, Christian principles of our Forefathers of 1912 and the Ulster Volunteers of the seventies, became a shameful reality, at the PUP conference last Saturday.
    Delegates who only a week before had been prancing about in flat caps, with imitation rifles to imitate and commemorate the principles of and the sacrifice made by our Forefathers, in the name of God and Ulster, allowed themselves to be seduced by a young women, into passing a motion endorsing a form of human behaviour which our Forefathers and the Volunteers of the seventies, would have considered totally unacceptable.

  2. Gareth Mulvenna

    Can someone not be homosexual and British then, Charlie?

  3. Gareth Mulvenna

    Our forefathers, including my great grandfather who was a member of the West Belfast UVF, fought in WWI and other wars against fascism to ensure the well-being of Julie-Ann Corr and all other British citizens.

  4. Glad to see you have resurfaced Gareth, yes a homosexual can be British, so can a heterosexual who also practices anal sex, so can anyone else who participates in any other type of abnormal sexual, or criminal behaviour, but that does not mean that an organisation that proclaims the cause of God and Ulster has to abandon, betray, or sell out it’s basic fundamental Christian principals for the sake of a handful of votes.
    As for your Great Grandfather, please get a life of your own Gareth and stop trying to live off your Great Grandfathers back, I seriously doubt if any of the Ulster Volunteers who pledged allegiance to God and Ulster, back in 1912, would have condoned the endorsing of abnormal sexual behaviour and that includes your Great Grandfather.

  5. Charlie, time to get real, forefathers? 1970′s? This is 2013, not 1913, by your logic the vast majority of today’s volunteers wouldn’t be allowed near the UVF. As a realist and someone not opposed to change, I welcome the decision by the PUP to implement that motion, a precedent set? I’d suggest so, backing this motion shouldn’t interfere with your or my everyday life, who are we to judge others?

  6. robert allen

    I must agree with Jamie that his and Richard Reeds comments could and I hope do lead to a wider debate about Loyalism and Protestantism, leaving Unionism to the side for now.
    These debates raise the question for me, if you’re not a Protestant can you be a Loyalist?
    A good friend of mine does some training on Flags and Emblems/Culture etc. His definition of Protestantism linked to the Reformation and identifying a Protestant as a bible believing Christian ruled me out of the identity I’d grown up with as I am now neither bible believing (in the context of the infallible Word of God), or a Christian.
    Ulster is becoming more and more a pluralist society made up of many different and varying religious and cultural beliefs and differences.
    If it is to remain Loyalist, and not evolve to become part of the romanticised Irish Republic presented by Sinn Fein then surely Loyalism has to be wider than simply Protestantism.
    I know of Roman Catholics who identify as Loyalists. The Gay and Lesbian community is made up of a wide variety of cultures and beliefs. There are people from this community who identify as Loyalist.
    Consider if Loyalism was identified as a political and/or cultural belief system, confident in itself and open to new cultures and nationalities in Northern Ireland. Welcoming these new people to our country, not threatened by them but there for them to learn from Loyalists about Loyalism. Would it be a possibility that when it comes to voting these people, when eligible to vote, would vote for a Loyalist party, such as the PUP.
    I am not an academic. I haven’t been educated in any depth about Loyalism etc. However, I don’t see how what I have identified above should be a threat to what Loyalism is today.
    Us Loyalists are forever having to rebut that we are not racist, we are not sectarian bigots but I can also see that the actions of some so called Loyalists simply re-enforces these claims.
    I am of the school of thought that Loyalism should be separate from Protestantism. I don’t believe this makes me any less Loyalist. I’m confident in my Loyalism.
    I think if the fundamental religious beliefs inherent in Protestantism are the predominant force behind Loyalism then Loyalism will be the loser. The PUL community is made up of Protestantism, Unionism and Loyalism separate but all with similar aims? Three separate entities joined into one if you like.
    Thank you Jamie and Richard for starting an interesting and hopefully educational debate. I for one look forward to reading others thoughts on these issues.
    Robert Allen

  7. Mad Monk, your comments will only considered for creditability when you stop hiding behind the same cowardly skirts of anonymity, that are so often used by cowardly republicans.
    As for Robert, he is sailing under the same misconception as the mad monk, yes you can be a Loyalist and participate in abnormal sexual behaviour, yes you can be Unionist and participate in abnormal sexual behaviour, you can even be a non-practicing Protestant and participate in abnormal sexual behaviour.
    However due to our oath of allegiance to God and Ulster, sincere Ulster Volunteers have a duty to sincerely attempt to abstain, from drug taking and dealing, abnormal sexual activity, criminal activities and any other activity that may bring disrespect and a possible security risk, for fellow Ulster Volunteers, and our chosen sworn Christian Principles.
    The PUP, does not have the authority to condemn drug taking and dealing and criminality, while at the same time colluding in the promotion of abnormal sexual behaviour, WHILE IT CLAIMS TO BE THE POLITICAL VOICE OF THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE.
    I strongly suspect that the dissolving of this link, will be the first motion to be passed by the anything goes for a few extra votes brigade, at the next conference, then at least the PUP will have honestly placed their cards on the table for the electorate.

  8. Gareth Mulvenna

    Charlie, you tell me to get off my great grandfather’s back and get a life of my own – I am proud of my great grandfather and I know he brought his children up to be non-sectarian and understanding of those who are marginalised by society – that of course includes homosexuals.

    As for condoning ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’ – are you trying to tell me in all seriousness that you believe that none of the volunteers of 1912 or the recent conflict were or are homosexual? I think you are deluding yourself on that account Charlie.

    • Stop living in an airy fairy world of make believe Gareth, you have absolutely no right to misuse and belittle your Great Grandfathers name, by your completely ridiculous claim that, just because he brought up his Children to be non -sectarian and understanding of those marginalised by society, he was therefore in favour of abnormal sexual behaviour. There is world of difference between, being understanding of abnormal sexual behaviour and colluding in the progression and condoning of it. Which is exactly what the PUP decided to do last Saturday.
      As for the other Ulster Volunteers of 1912, who you also seek to besmirch with your imaginary accusations of abnormal sexual behaviour. As an ex-Royal Ulster Rifleman and ex-Royal Irish Ranger, I can assure you that, anyone in the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1912, who had sworn allegiance to God and Ulster and suffered from abnormal sexual desires, would have had the self discipline, self respect and respect for his sworn oath, to abstain from public displays of abnormal sexual behaviour.
      As the ex- Regimental Sergeant Major, of all the UVF/RHC, compounds in Long Kesh during the mid seventies, I can personally assure you that the same high standards of self discipline, self respect, and respect for the sworn oath to God and Ulster, was also observed in Long Kesh Prison, by all UVF/RHC, Volunteers. For as long as the PUP claim to be the political voice of the Ulster Volunteer Force, the PUP has a duty to observe the fundamental basic Christian Principles of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and abstain from colluding in the progression of abnormal sexual behaviour.

  9. Stop living in an airy fairy world of make believe Gareth,

    And you use the bible in your arguments charlie..kettle, pot & black spring to mind..

  10. Charlie,

    How straight was John Mckeague? Didn’t he take the same oath as yourself? Am I meant to believe the UVF today haven’t flooded east Belfast with Peruvian Flake, China White or any flavour of canabis you care to mention?

  11. Just another shovel full of cowardly anonymous hobby horse dung, scraped up from between the legs and from underneath the skirts of a sad, cowardly, anonymous, republican atheist.

  12. Charlie,

    Change the record. Again I am Irish. I have never said I was republican. As for religion and the bible..I have a copy beside Hans Crhristian Andersen books (on my fiction shelf).. As for the shit’ I mentioned..Again exactly how straight was John McK? Was his oath different because he was gay? Personally I’ve no problems with gays. You seem to have..

    This drug thingy..Even the dogs in the street know the UVF have flooded working class loyalist areas with drugs and are getting fat on the back of the most vunerable in your community..

    Take of the ‘rose tinted’ charlie, wake up and smell the coffee…

    As for this anonymous nonsense you spout. Everytime i post here, I have to use an email addy. Guess what Charlie it’s the same email addy I’ve been using for yrs and it includes my real name..The name Frankie however was a school yard nickname that kinda stuck..

    Paul Campbell is possibly a pseudonym. Recently people asked Why Did J.K. Rowling Use a Male Pen Name For Her Crime Novel?..

    The biggest threat charlie today for loyalism/orangeism is simply the PUL community. It is a total PR disaster. Dress it up anyway you want. Thats exactly what it is a PR disaster..Over the cousre of the weekend I’ll explain why..Now I need a caffine hit..

  13. Just another shovel full of cowardly republican atheist shit, appropriately shovelled up in support of buggery, from between the legs and from underneath the cowardly skirts of an anonymous, sad bitter twisted, republican atheist coward.