THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
(Saturday – Sunday November 6-7th 1999)
Orange Order ‘pagan’ rites under attack!
A born-again Christian Loyalist now poses a bigger threat to the
Protestant Orange Order than the fiercest nationalist residents' groups.
The crusade of Paul Malcomson, a former Orangeman, to convince thousands
of fundamentalist Christians to throw away their sashes and bowler hats is
gaining momentum and makes him a greater danger than the various leaders
of republican communities opposed to Orange marches.
Malcomson’s book, Behind Closed Doors, claims to
lift the lid on the "satanic and pagan rituals" in the largest
Ulster Loyalist cultural body. He plans to take the campaign to Scotland
where the Order claims to have 80,000 members. After that he wants to
reach Orangemen in North America, Australasia and Africa.
Malcomson hopes the book will have a similar effect on the reputation
of the Orange Order as The Brotherhood did on the Masons.
The 33-year-old author also launched a website – www.evangelicaltruth.com
to warn Christians about the dangers of Orangeism.
Speaking from his home in Banbridge, Co. Down - an area with a strong
Orange tradition - Malcomson explained why he had turned so vehemently
against the order.
"Eight years ago my father, who was an Elim Pentecostal minister,
died" he said. "After his death I decided to take stock of my
life, to look at the way I was living. At the time I was in the Orange
Order and a member of a local flute band. Simultaneously I became a
born-again Christian and started to question my views and in particular
why I was an Orangeman.
The more I read the more I became concerned at the rituals and practices
inside the order. The whole secrecy aspect of Orangeism started to worry
me deeply because Christ worked openly and preached an open Gospel. The
secret oaths of Orangeism, the exclusion of women from certain grades, the
exclusivity, made me think that they were violating the word of God.'
Malcomson’s main concern focused on the rituals of the Royal Arch
Purple, an elite branch of Orangeism of which he was once a member. He
noticed a similarity between the rites of the Royal Arch Purple and
Freemasonry, including several bizarre practices he later revealed in his
book. These included:
Blindfolding a new recruit and making him kneel on a mock coffin while
vowing to destroy his own life if he divulges the teachings of the
As in Freemasonry, has most of his clothes and one shoe taken from him and
has a purple ribbon fastened to his shirt;
Riding the goat - a ritual in which the blindfolded initiate is wrapped in
a canvas sheet and then kicked and tossed about by the assembled members
of the Order;
Harsh beatings – members beat the candidate across the legs with
brambles and, in some cases, holly to the accompaniment of laughter and
even goat-like bleatings. He believes these rituals, such as immitating
goats, find their roots in witchcraft rather than Protestantism.
'The Orange Order says it is the defender of the Protestant faith but
these secret oaths and strange rituals are more to do with paganism and
are ultimately satanic. I want to inform Evangelical Christians that their
faith is incompatible with membership of an order that tolerates
like the Arch Purple.'
Malcomson claims that hundreds of born-again Christians have left the
Order…He is unapologetic that his campaign may speed
the decline of the already embattled order, which is still reeling from
blows to its reputation arising from violence at Drumcree in recent years.
Cecil Kilpatrick, the author of a book about King William of Orange and a
member of the Royal Arch Purple, said that he provided research material
for Malcomson's book.
'If we were such a secretive organisation then why did we give him so many
documents so he could write his book? The trouble with Paul is that
instead of seeing reds under every bed, he sees devils everywhere.'
George Patton, the spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, said
Malcomson was reading too much into the symbolism associated with the
After his campaign in Scotland, Malcomson plans to write a book on the
Royal Black Preceptory, the most elite of all the Protestant marching