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.
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.
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 -- 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
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.