Britain is constitutionally a Christian commonwealth, complete with its own state religion (none of that nonsense about separating religion and state).
Our Queen – God bless her – took the oath to uphold the received confession of her realm. Her official title, Defender of the Faith, goes back to Henry VIII, when he was still a good Catholic.
Thus the constitutional (I know I repeat this word too often, but it’s rather important) remit of our monarch, regardless of any personal idiosyncrasies, is to maintain Britain as what it has been for thirteen centuries: a Christian country.
Now I hope that Her Majesty will live for ever, but, in the statistically probable event that she won’t, she’ll be succeeded by HRH Prince Charles. And the omens aren’t good.
If his public pronouncements are anything to go by, HRH is ecumenical to the point of being a rank atheist. Years ago he amended the title the Pope bestowed on Henry VIII to say that he’d be not defender of the faith, but “defender of faith”, meaning all faiths.
The thought crossed my mind then that – and I hope MI5 aren’t on my trail – HRH was so staggeringly ignorant that he simply didn’t realise that some religions aren’t so much different as mutually exclusive. Defending them all means that they’re all so similar as not to make a difference. In other words, they’re all equally irrelevant.
As a private subject of Her Majesty, Charles Mountbatten-Windsor, HRH is perfectly entitled to his opinion. As heir to the throne, he isn’t, or at least he should keep it to himself: his duty is to uphold the ancient constitution of the realm.
Anyway, one could put that pronouncement down to an unfortunate slip of the tongue, possibly influenced by overeducation in Latin: the original Latin title (Fidei defensor) didn’t feature the definite article.
Yet all such hopes were summarily dispelled by HRH’s pronouncement earlier this week, when he commanded us to think, in this festive season, not only of Jesus but also of Muhammad:
“Normally at Christmas we think of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder though if this year we might remember how the story of the nativity unfolds, with the fleeing of the holy family to escape violent persecution. And we might also remember that when the prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina he was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship.
“Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same – to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.”
I hope our future Charles III remains in good health, and by no means do I wish him harm, but one is tempted to recall what happened to Charles I for a considerably milder transgression against the constitution of the realm.
To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton ever so slightly, Christianity and Islam are very much alike, especially Islam.
If HRH’s earlier intention to defend all faiths (Pantheism? Catharism?) betokened a sketchy command of comparative religion, this pronouncement reveals something that only respect for his office would prevent one from calling pig ignorance.
For, at a stretch, it could be said that Muhammad had preached something resembling peace and freedom before he moved from Mecca to Medina. After his migration, the period that HRH singled out, he started to preach and perpetrate mass murder.
That’s when that illiterate nomad dictated the more blood-thirsty verses of the Koran, some 300 of them. The time for talk had passed, now it was time for action.
“Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends…,” dictated Muhammad (5:51), and he started his reign when, exactly upon moving from Mecca to Medina, he had 900 Jews massacred, beheading many of them with his own trusted sabre.
Within the next century or so, the cult inspired by his teaching carved out a caliphate greater in size than the Roman Empire at its peak. Since then the religion supposedly following the same path as the one started by a crucified martyr, whose birth we’re about to celebrate, has murdered the better part of 300 million people.
Contrary to what HRH believes (or claims – an important difference), the destination of all religious paths is far from the same. It’s beyond ignorance to aver that the Muslim path leads to “respect [for] the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God”.
Muslims, sir, have never accepted our right to worship God. Forget history; just follow the current events. Muslims, sir, are murdering thousands of Christians – today! – for the simple reason that they are Christians. And they kill mercilessly any apostate from their awful cult.
There’s a lot to pray for at Christmas mass tonight. But one prayer should be for the continued good health of Her Majesty. God only knows what havoc her heir will wreak.
Meanwhile, my heartfelt Season’s Greetings to all the non-Christians among my readers. I realise you can’t celebrate the miracle of Incarnation, but you may still want to commemorate the birthday of the greatest civilisation the world has ever known.
And to the Christians among you, have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful, loving New Year.