Former Blanket columnist, Dr John Coulter, describes himself as an unrepentant Radical Right-wing Unionist. In this article for TPQ, he expands on a recent column in the Irish Daily Star where he challenges 21st century republicans to either accept the Christian God of the original 1916 Proclamation, or write a new secular one for the centenary of the Rising in 2016.
Many republicans need to ‘wise up’ and actually read the 1916 Proclamation to restore the concept of religious faith into their beliefs.
It did take me a little by surprise the venom with which modern day republicans attacked the Christian faith during my research and writing of my e-book, An Saise Glas (The Green Sash); The Road to National Republicanism, which I published earlier this year to coincide with the annual Rising commemorations.
Is it a case that modern republicans have wandered away from the role of God in the original Proclamation, or they have associated the Christian faith with convicted pervert priests and convicted Protestant paedophiles such as the late William McGrath, the notorious Beast of Kincora?
An Saise Glas was written as an outsider looking in and emphasised the need for Irish republicanism as an ideology to get back to the Christian roots of the 1916 Proclamation.
The secular society has radically changed the true meaning of Christmas by editing Christ Himself out of the festival.
So too, are republicans guilty of editing God out of the historic Proclamation of Poblacht na H Eireann, which was issued by the Provisional Government during the failed Rising.
It’s a mirror image of those Unionists who ridicule the Irish language by conveniently forgetting its was faithful Presbyterians who kept the gaelic tongue alive and flourishing in past centuries – so stick that in your curry and yoghurt!
The Proclamation’s opening paragraph contains the words: “In the name of God …” How can modern republicans slabber about returning to the ideals of this Proclamation when many of them are diehard communists, Marxists, Leninists, Trots, other assorted extreme socialists and atheists and don’t even believe in God?
I can understand a fundamentalist Catholic such as PH Pearse signing the Proclamation, but why would a hardline Scottish communist like James Connolly – a founder of the vehemently anti-Christian Irish Socialist Republican Party in the 1890s (Not to be confused with the equally atheist Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA) - give his signature to such an overtly religious document?
Perhaps republicans are only paying lip-service to the Proclamation’s references to God given the host of clerical sexual abuse allegations which have engulfed the Irish Catholic Church over the decades since 1916.
The moral crisis facing Sinn Fein, other republican groups and individual nationalists is simple – either they fully embrace the words of the 1916 Proclamation and its clear references to God and the Christian faith, or the Shinners have the guts to write a new secular Proclamation in 2016 which does not contain any religious references whatsoever.
This is the challenge facing a new bunch of Rising commemoration outfits known as the 1916 Societies. Either you keep God, or you dump God. You can’t be an atheistic Marxist republican and still pledge allegiance to God!
And since the early 1970s, the Shinners, INLA and all the dissident republican terror factions have made a mockery out of a core passage in the Proclamation.
The 1916 version states: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts …”
So much for the Protestants slaughtered by the IRA at Tullyvallen and Kingsmills; so much for the Protestant worshippers butchered at Darkley Mission Hall by an INLA faction, and so much for all the women and children massacred by the Real IRA at Omagh.
And what about all the Catholics ‘disappeared’ by the IRA and INLA over the years? Guarantees of ‘religious and civil liberty’ are now nothing but empty rhetoric and modern republicans are only making tits of themselves by swearing allegiance to the 1916 Proclamation.
It gets worse for the 21st century mainstream and dissident republican movements. The Proclamation states in its concluding paragraph: “We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God …”
When was the last time these so-called republicans attended a religious service where they genuinely prayed to God for protection? Perhaps forgiveness for the movements for the pain and suffering they have inflicted on the Irish nation would be a better sentiment to pray for.
Embarrassment for republicans just gets deeper with the Proclamation wording: “ … we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity or rapine”.
Given the number of alleged sex abusers and alleged rapists the republican movement has hidden or moved over the generations, the time has come for republicans to face a bitter truth.
Modern republican morals bear no resemblance to the ideals of the original Proclamation. Either tear it up and start again in 2016, or get back to 1916 basics and return God to His proper place in republican thinking.