It seems a strange choice for the queen to use the few minutes she gets to speak to ‘her people’ each year to promote a minority religion. I wonder what the people thought today, when they tuned in to hear what their head of state wanted to say to them? Did Muslims wonder why she should choose to talk to them about a minor prophet? Were Jews insulted to have her tell them that a charlatan preacher is actually a god? Did Hindus wonder why they bothered, when she chose to promote a religion that contradicts their own? And were atheists annoyed to have wasted their time listening to a nonagenarian monarch blathering on about her imaginary friend?
Xmas may be a Christian festival, but only nominally so – for most people in the UK, the holiday period is, as it has always been, all about socialising. Just as it was in the time before it was hijacked by Christians – Saturnalia in the roman era, or winter solstice, going back into pre-history. In Britain, for the first time in history, those with no religion outnumber the religious. And even among the religious, Christianity is in decline.
The head of state should represent the state – that means everyone, not just the few. So when she chooses to preach to us, the people; to make the clumsy assumption that we all believe in her religion (when in fact most of us see it as a fiction), shows not only how out of touch she is with the general population, but also how much contempt she holds for us. Ditto the establishment generally. We have a parliament that in its religious makeup is unrepresentative of the people, and which consistently forces its religious sensibilities on an unwilling public (for instance, by handing over the education of our children to the churches).
Britain today is a divided nation. It would have been a good idea for the queen to have found a way to begin the process of bringing us together again. Instead, we got the usual party political broadcast on behalf of the C of E establishment.
text © Graham Wright