The Orange Order
RWB Christopher Harris
Sons of Ulster Loyal Orange Lodge #899
Assistant Grand Chaplain — Grand Orange Lodge of Missouri
Loyal Orange Institution of the United States of America
What is the Orange Institution?
It is both a religious and a patriotic association; religious in having its roots firmly grounded in our country's reformed Heritage, and patriotic in reflecting an unswerving allegiance to our nation.
Why does it bear the title "Orange"?
In memory of William, Prince of Orange, who finally secured the religious freedom for all and encouraged democratic forms of government after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The Revolution brought to an end three years of tyranny in Britain and Europe. From it flowed religious toleration, freedom of speech and the press, liberty of the subject, independence of judges to interpret the law, and the development, both at home and overseas, of parliamentary democracy, and constitutional monarchy. Sounds much like the American Revolution of 1776, doesn't it?
But surely all that is past history?
Yes, of course it is history. But if we consider that there is little liberty in many countries today, and that even our own freedoms must be preserved, then we should be all the more thankful for those stirring events of 1688 — and all the more determined to maintain our liberties! We need to remember Winston Churchill's famous quote "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it!"
When was the Orange Institution founded?
Orange 'Lodges' as we know them today did not come into being until 1795, when a small group of men gathered in the village of Loughgall and resolved "that at all times they would stand together, fight for the faith of the Reformed Church, and by all lawful means support, maintain and defend the Soverign and Protestant Succession to the Throne, and to the utmost of their power keep the peace and the public safety". The Orange Institution, formed in 1795, was very much born out of dire necessity, during one of the worst times of religious bitterness and resentment in Ireland. It's not surprising that those who first assembled in Loughgall adopted the name of "Orange" — the name identified, more than any other, with the concept of civil and religious liberty.
Is the Orange Institution a secret society?
An organisation that annually puts thousands of its members colourfully and noisily onto the public streets could scarcely be called a "secret" society! Orangemen make no secret of their membership, and the Principles and Precepts of Orangeism are an open boast. Yet the Orange Institution is organised into "Lodges", and Lodge meetings are not open to non-members.
What is an Orangeman?
An orangeman is a member of the Orange institution and conforms to the Qualifications of an Orangeman.
An orangeman is :
A Professing Christian — He follows the Golden Rule in all his personal and business affairs.
A Protestant — He upholds the great Protestant principle of freedom of consience for all people. A Loyal Subject of his country of residence — His allegiance is unswerving and unlimited. He regards the President (for those of us here in the United States) as the leader of our nation and abides by the decisions of the lawmakers of our country.
A Good Citizen — He is law-abiding. He respects and observes all laws.
A Good Neighbour — He is concerned with the welfare of man.
Generous and Charitable — He is generous not only with his worldly goods, but also with his time, his thoughts, and his deeds.
A Leader — He prepares himself for the responsibilites of leadership.
Informed and Vigilant — He is aware and respective to events and issues around him.
A Loving and Responsible Parent — He accepts total responsibility for the support, health, and education of his children.
Honors and Glories in his Heritage — He accepts his origins as part of himself, and he sees himself as an extension of his forefathers.
A Gentleman — He respects the sanctity of women and defends their rights.
A Brother — He practices the highest level of fraternalism in the tradition of his lodge.
What about your annual parades?
Parades are typically not held in the U.S. so this is a non-issue for us. However, people the world over love to celebrate! Our parades in other countries are nothing more than celebrations. July is the great Orange festive month and Orange parades are held throughout the world to celebrate the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which won an open Bible for all, freedom of speech and liberty of worship.
So Orangeism is NOT anti-Roman Catholic or any other religion? Orangeism is NOT anti-anything. Racisim and bigotry would not be a Christ-like characteristic. We encourage tolerance and good will toward members of different beliefs. It would be more positive to emphasise what the Orange Institution is FOR rather that what it might be against. Orangeism means Loyalty! Loyalty to the reformed religion, loyalty to the country in which you live, loyalty to the President and government, and loyalty to each other.
Naturally, there is a reverse side to every coin.
Because Orangemen love their country, and are zealously concerned to promote its best interests, then they will resist destructive political elements, such as Communist, anarchist and fascist groups, from gaining undue influence over the life of the nation.
Similarly, because the Orange Institution is built, like the Reformed Church, on the Infallible Word of God — the Bible — Orangemen will unreservedly condemn not only the unscriptural doctrines of the Church of Rome, Mormonism, and Jehovah's Witnesses, but also the dangerous errors of the modern heresies, and also the godlessness of the humanists and atheists.
But it should be understood that Orangeism does not foster resentment or intolerence. Orange condemnation of any particular political or religious ideology is directed against the party machine or the church doctrine, and NOT against individual adherents or members. The only way to win the lost back to The Kingdom is through open dialog and communication.
Do Orangemen attend churches?
The Orange Institution does encourage all members to share in the public worship of God. If the person professes to be an Orangeman and truly believes in the Orange ideology, they will attend church. Otherwise, they are like any other person who professes to go church and doesn't, and therefore, they are not a good witness or example of their faith. Of course, Orangeism has its fair share of black sheep and backsliders, but the organization as a whole (like any other) should not be judged by a very small percentage of people.
Prayers and Scripture readings are an integral part of every Lodge meeting and many Orangemen and Orangewomen are to be found serving their local congregations and communities.
The Orange Institution is growing!
A new liveliness and sense of purpose has revitalised the association which is as relevant today as it was centuries ago. New lodges are forming across America with renewed vitality as the next generation of members is moving in to carry on the tradition and responsibility of maintaining and defending our faith.