The Ulster Protestant and loyalist communities, rather than looking forward to a peaceful and stress-free Twelfth of July, are yet again being subjected to intolerance, opposition and hostility by the republican community in Ardoyne who have the backing of the Parades Commission in their determination not to allow the Orange Order lodges past Ardoyne in the evening parade from the field.
Since the time of the Reformation, Protestants not only in Ulster but throughout the British Isles have faced such opposition for standing up for their Protestant beliefs.
Those republicans and their allies in political, religious and media circles who oppose us will not have to do much research or look for evidence as all they have to do is look at the various paintings on the Orange banners during the Twelfth of July and they will see the persecution faced by our Protestant forefathers throughout the centuries.
Some of the banners will have paintings of Ridley and Latimer, the two Protestant reformers who were burned at the stake in 1555 for refusing to denounce their faith and turn to Roman Catholicism.
They will also see the banner paintings with the words “My Faith Looks Up To Thee” which shows the young Scottish Covenanter Margaret Wilson who, in 1685, was tied to a stake in the Solway Firth and drowned when the tide came in because she refused to acknowledge King James II as the head of the Church, or denounce her Protestant faith.
The banners will also show King William III crossing the Boyne and defeating King James II, a battle which was decisive and has secured the civil and religious liberties which we now enjoy and a battle which changed the course of the history of the British Isles and Europe.
The banner paintings will show a century later how Protestants came together after the Battle of the Diamond and formed the Orange Institution, again to defend their Protestant religion.
Other banners will show paintings of the signing of the Ulster Covenant and Lord Carson in 1912 and the sacrifice of the men of the 36th Ulster Division at the Battle of the Somme.
The banner paintings take us to the present generation and, sadly, many have portraits of members who have been murdered by the IRA in their terrorist campaign.
Ulster Protestants and Unionists are again being subjected to an ongoing assault on our identity by those who would seek to lecture us on equality and a shared space, yet for a few minutes they cannot allow an Orange parade to go by on the Twelfth without seeking to cause disruption
and tension in what should be a peaceful and enjoyable day for Ulster Protestants and unionists.