As a Presbyterian I celebrate the proclamation by the (Protestant) Ulster Defense Association that is will stand down its assassination arm, the Ulster Freedom Fighters. While they have not quite disarmed (and neither, in fairness, has their Catholic counterparts, the Irish Republican Army), the UDA said they have put their arms "beyond use."
The largely Presbyterian loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have been an enduring embarrassment and reproach to Calvinists everywhere. The Presbyterian Church in this country has promoted an exchange between Ulster and American Presbyterian colleges and universities that send pairs of Catholic and Protestant Irish students to the U.S., and Americans back to Northern Ireland. Centre College has happily participated in this exchange. We have long tried to help end the intra-Christian Troubles there.
With the Ulster Defense Association declaring that "the war is over," we may finally be ending the worst case of sectarian violence involving Protestants.