The Grand Master of the Black Institution has launched a scathing attack on secularism and multiculturalism, claiming they have led to the demise of Christian beliefs in society.

In his annual Sham Fight speech in Scarva, Co Down, Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr told the 80,000-plus crowd: �Political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity politics are a mask for intolerance and hatred towards the established majority and have absolutely nothing to do with protecting the sensitivities of other religions or ethnic minorities.�

In his no-holds barred speech, Mr Farr blamed modern society and Government policies for the downfall of Christian ideals.

�In addition to our economic difficulties we face a moral and spiritual decline where Biblical teachings and even the Commandments are disregarded in the name of equality and political correctness,� he said.

�The cause of these two difficulties could be summed up in one word � secularism.

�Let us be in no doubt about secularism, it is the biggest challenge we face to our beliefs and way of life.�

In front of a packed audience the Grand Master gave examples of how secular Government policy is threatening Christian thinking.

He described the policy as an �endeavour to bully and marginalise people�.

He added: �You can see it in our schools with the ongoing attempts to stop morning prayers in assemblies.

�This is being done to inculcate into our children a sense of values which are contrary to Christian teachings and principles.

�Christians are mocked, persecuted and threatened with the termination of their employment to force them to forsake their beliefs, yet other world faiths and secularism are openly encouraged in the name of so-called equal rights.�

He concluded the speech, listened to intently by a crowd of mostly families, by saying: �The time has come for those of the Christian faith to stand firm in their belief, to be more assertive when their heritage is being attacked and to stop apologising for doing so.

�The strength and the values which are held dear in this nation come from the open Bible.

�It is the foundation on which our laws and moral principles were founded.

�The sooner we return to these values the more likely we are to find a way out of the difficulties we face.�
Big crowd never tires of watching King Billy win

The result was never in doubt. Three hundred and twenty years may have passed but King William once again triumphed over King James yesterday in front of an 80,000-strong crowd at the annual Scarva Sham Fight.

On horseback, clutching their wigs and fake rifles, King William, played by John Adair, and King James, played by Colin Cairns, chased and trotted their way around the normally quiet Co Down village of Scarva.

Thousands of families from across Ireland made for a sprawling sea of people and cars on the huge expanse of fields.

Amid the carnival atmosphere the sun came out and families tucked into their sandwiches and buns.

Lorraine Scott from south Armagh described the Sham Fight as a �good old-fashioned family day� and said each family picks the same spot to sit at each year.

�This is a family day out and has been for generations,� she said.� My father, grandfather and brother are in the Black. We come here and meet up with friends. It reminds us of our roots and culture and its important that our children see it, to keep it alive.�

In an adjacent field, four-year-old Sasha, accompanied by her

grandparents, recounted her Sham Fight picnic � �ham sandwiches, crisps, sweeties and biscuits� were �yummy�, she said.

Great grandmother Winnie Woods was delighted with her vantage point: �Ive been coming here 30 years and have never got so close to the fight, that has made me happy.�

William Woods said he comes for culture: �It is something we do to keep it alive. I like to come to support the venue, and also I am keen to hear the speeches.�

As the mock gunfire rang out, the clash between King William and King James took place in the shadow of a tree where King William tied his horse during a stop on the way to the Battle of the Boyne. Earlier in the day, members of Scarva Royal Black Preceptory laid a wreath at the village memorial for local members of the security forces who were murdered in the Troubles.

Eighty Preceptories of the Royal Black Institution took part in the accompanying procession, joined by a wide range of bands.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people lined the one-mile route to the demesne at the Loughbrickland end of the village. The Royal Black Institution is one of the loyal orders and was formed in 1797.

At one time Ireland could boast of at least half a dozen sham fight ceremonies, but the outcome was always the same.

Published date on the 14th of July 2010
Article taken from the Belfast Telegraph