“A strutting turkey cock on the animal farm of Irish politics” said a BBC documentary about a man labeled quasi-Fascist by Prime Minister Harold Wilson. To many of Northern Ireland’s Protestant majority, however, he is a hero. To himself, he is a man prepared to go to prison for his religion.
The Rev. Ian Paisley got his wish last month when a Belfast court found him and two colleagues guilty of unlawful assembly, imposed a fine of $84 on each, and gave them twenty-four hours in which to enter into a rule of bail to keep the peace and be of good behavior for two years.
The charge arose out of street incidents at the opening of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In court, Paisley had seventy witnesses ready to speak in his defense but at the last moment refused to call a single one. He had fourteen days in which to appeal against the verdict but did not do so. The fines were paid by others; but, declining to give the assurances stipulated, the three ministers opted for a three-month stay in Crumlin Road Jail.
Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, after studying at the Reformed Presbyterian College in Belfast, was ordained by his Baptist-minister father in 1946. He later ministered to a group that had broken from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Thus emerged a body known as the Free Presbyterian Church, with Paisley as moderator. Affiliated with Carl McIntire’s International Council of Christian Churches, it has a dozen congregations and fewer than 3,000 members.
In October, 1962, Paisley clashed with Rome police over distribution of Protestant literature, and authorities used that incident to bar him from Italy earlier this year when he flew in to protest the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to the Pope.
“It is easy to laugh at Paisley if you live in London or any place where the words ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ do not arouse instant fierce emotion,” said one commentator.
Paisley has found a wider congregation in the largely inarticulate Belfast districts for whom the focal point of history is King Billy’s victory over the Catholic James at the Boyne in 1690. The annual celebration of that event July 12 is the occasion for mass processions with flags flying, drums beating, and bands playing, when every true Ulsterman wears or sings about “the sash my father wore.”
Walk through the Protestant areas of Northern Ireland’s capital and the evidence is before you in painted slogans: “Kick the Pope,” “No Surrender,” “Up Paisley.” In artistry of no little merit are elaborate portrayals of King Billy on his white horse. As July 12 approaches, houses are spruced up and given “that Protestant look.”
Paisley knows the catchwords and the value of repetition, and has a good pair of lungs given to bellowing “We will open this meeting by singing Ulster’s battle hymn, ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’.”
He sees sinister plottings in meetings between Ulster’s prime minister and his counterpart in Catholic Ireland, which encompasses the bulk of the island. He considers them another step on the Romish road. Another foe is the ecumenical movement. In his arrest, conviction, and imprisonment, he sees both a governmental conspiracy and “an ecclesiastical plot stemming from the World Council of Churches.”
He alleges discrimination in Ulster against loyalist Protestants and in favor of the minority Roman Catholics. (Many observers see just the opposite.) “The day will come,” he warns, “when I will be in Stormont” (Northern Ireland’s parliament) and “root out the nest of traitors.”
He explained all this in the July 30 edition of his publication The Protestant Telegraph—an issue some distributors refused to handle upon legal advice. Paisley does not hesitate to name names and use adjectives.
An independent survey estimates 200,000 potential Paisleyites. Extensive security precautions are taken whenever he addresses meetings. Police have now restricted the processions that Paisley led through the Catholic district of Belfast, causing inevitable riots, largely by intervention of thugs claiming allegiance to one or the other party.
After two Catholics were murdered in Belfast in June, one of the accused was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph as having said, “I am sorry I ever heard tell of that man Paisley or decided to follow him.”
Although the center of violence, Paisley protests, “I have never threatened anyone in my life—not even the Pope.” Not even his critics would deny that Paisley is laying it straight on the line.
The Episcopal Church’s first Negro bishop, John Burgess of Massachusetts, is among those nominated to succeed resigning Bishop James A. Pike of California. Others seen in the running for the September 13 election are Dean John B. Coburn, of the Episcopal Theological School, and Suffragan Bishop G. Richard Millard, Pike’s right-hand man. A conservative dark horse is Stephen F. Bayne, Jr., past executive of worldwide Anglicanism and leader in the Consultation on Church Union.
Bishop Alphaeus H. Zulu is the first black African named to head an Anglican diocese in South Africa. The nation’s strict segregation laws will prohibit him from living in the episcopal residence in all-white Eshowe.
Mrs. Paul Carlson, widow of the Evangelical Covenant missionary slain by Congo rebels in 1964, returned there this month to seek projects for the new medical foundation named for her husband.
As expected, Robert G. Torbet, immediate past president of the American Baptist Convention, will be the first full-time director of the ABC’s Division of Cooperative Christianity. Torbet, who leaves as dean of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in January, is friendly toward the Consultation on Church Union, which he has observed for the ABC.
Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Bible-toting Miss America 1965, married C. Andrew Laird, a physician she met while attending UCLA.
Father John Kuzinskas, the priest who married Luci Baines Johnson and Patrick Nugent August 6 said on ABC-TV that the conversion of the President’s daughter to Roman Catholicism “had nothing whatsoever to do with her relationship with her husband-to-be.”
Many U. S. radio stations this month began banning Beatles records after member John Lennon said his rock ’n’ roll group was “more popular than Jesus” and “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink … Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary.”
Dr. Marcus Lawrence Loane, 55, a noted evangelical, became the first native Australian to be elected Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and is a likely candidate for Anglican primate of the nation. Also nominated were Canon Leon Morris, and Stuart Barton Babbage of Columbia Theological Seminary.
The Rev. John Neale has been appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to full-time work in clergy recruitment to stem the continuing decline in British ordination candidates.
Julius Pekala of Wroclaw was elected prime bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church, autonomous branch in Poland of the 300,000-member communion that split from Roman Catholicism in 1897.
Jesuit David J. Bowman is the first Roman Catholic priest appointed to the professional staff of the National Council of Churches. The Loyola University professor will become assistant director of the Department of Faith and Order.
John Jeter Hurt, Jr., 57, will be the first professional journalist and first layman to edit the Texas Baptist Standard, most influential of the Southern Baptist state papers. Hurt, who succeeds E. S. James, is a former Associated Press bureau chief who has edited Georgia’s Christian Index for nineteen years.
Two Americans have been appointed to posts with United Bible Societies: Laton E. Holmgren, executive committee chairman; and Charles W. Baas, treasurer.
Benjamin Elson was appointed the first executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Gary Anderson, student at San Francisco Theological Seminary now on active duty as a National Guard lieutenant, was crowned world rifle champion at the contest in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The Rev. W. A. Moore, a Christian Churches (Disciples) minister in Takoma, Washington, preached as usual July 24, even though it was his ninety-seventh birthday.
At age 73, John Sutherland Bonnell, former minister of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, has agreed to be president of New York Theological (formerly Biblical) Seminary. NYTS, which “reconstituted” its board in June, also announced new graduate programs in pastoral counseling and urban work designed chiefly as continuing education for clergymen.
The atheistic Soviet Union has a new law under which swearing and profanity are punishable by ten to fifteen days in jail or a fine up to 33 rubles ($15), Religious News Service reports.
Following the recent coup in Ghana, representatives of African Challenge are able to distribute the evangelical magazine in government schools for the first time since 1962.
Denmark’s Baptist Union (7,200 members) will run a nation-wide lottery to reduce a $20,000 deficit in foreign missions. A spokesman said Danes do not consider a lottery gambling.
The Peru Methodist Conference withdrew from the National Evangelical Council because membership tied the Methodists’ ecumenical hands.
The National Association of Church Business Administrators voted to establish a permanent headquarters in Minneapolis.
Denver’s Faith Temple, charging that a local TV station broke a contract for church telecasts, is suing for the $210,000 it expects to lose in revenue over the next thirty years.
The Philadelphia Inquirer found it “distasteful” that Milton J. Shapp, who won the Democratic nomination for governor of Pennsylvania, paid seven clergymen a total of $5,000 to solicit votes.
Nevada’s Supreme Court will rule on licensing of self-appointed ministers in the state’s multi-million-dollar marriage business. The case involves the Rev. Robert Truesdell, whose Chapel of the Bells offers weddings for $20 up, complete with flowers, photos, tape recording, and motel limousine.
ARTHUR B. LANGLIE, a Presbyterian who decided to run for mayor of Seattle at a businessmen’s prayer meeting and went on to be Washington’s only three-term governor; later president and board chairman of McCall Publishing; of heart disease, just before his 66th birthday.
J.B. MATTHEWS, 72, Methodist scholar forced to resign as an aide to Senator forced to resign as an aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953 after charging in the American Mercury that “the largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States is composed of Protestant clergy”; in New York, of Parkinson’s disease.
C. ERNEST DAVIS, 73, former college president and Christan education director in the Church of the Brethren; in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
ELAURA JAQUETTE, 20, attractive, active Campus Crusade member at the University of Colorado, Boulder, brutally beaten while practicing organ on campus July 9. A month later, police had made no arrests in the case.
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