Monday, December 28, 2015

UUI and Pluralist Monarchism

Yesterday, for the first time in years, I attended a service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis where I grew up (1987-96), mainly because my dad was preaching a lively and thought-provoking lay sermon (which you can read at his blog). Not having an obvious Episcopal church in Indianapolis to attend anyway, it was good to attend a service with my father and brother for a change, not something that happens often. While I formally rejected Unitarianism when I got baptized at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in 2009, it occurred to me that there is at least one sense in which (perhaps ironically, given that most UUs are very far from being monarchists) my UU upbringing shaped and continues to influence my approach to monarchism. This is that I refuse to let my commitment to Monarchy as the best form of government be limited by sectarian or theological divisions, and so (despite strong reservations about a few of them, particularly Saudi Arabia) I make no apologies for supporting not only non-Anglican but also non-Christian monarchies, probably more so than most (though not all!) of the Christian monarchists I know.

Obviously I think Christianity has something to offer that no other religion does, or I wouldn't have embraced it. Nor does it make sense to me for an English-speaking, Anglophilic traditional monarchist of European descent to adhere to any religion other than Christianity. But I refuse to be the sort of believer who sees value in earthly institutions like Monarchies only if they conform to my particular religion. This pluralist approach has occasionally led me into conflict (usually online) with fellow Christians (often Roman Catholics) who while they may have some sympathy for monarchies of their own faith decisively reject my kind of pan-monarchism. Anglicanism has its problems, but at least no Anglican coreligionist has ever given me a hard time for supporting Catholic or Orthodox monarchies!

In particular, while I think it is clear from Facebook posts like my recent one about St. Francis de Sales Oratory that I have nothing but respect for traditional Roman Catholicism, over the years on the internet I've often been frustrated with the sort of Catholics who have a bitter Anglophobic chip on their shoulder, as if they personally suffered in the Irish potato famine which presumably just occurred last month. I'm deeply grateful for my Catholic friends who are not like that, but it's an overly common problem in online Catholic circles, and gets quite tiresome. I just Blocked one such individual, which is probably more prudent than getting dragged into an endless and nasty argument. I wonder if it ever occurs to Roman Catholics who imply that being a good Catholic means hating England and The British Monarchy, that if they really believe that there is No Salvation Outside the (Roman Catholic) Church, they are essentially condemning an entire nation (dispersed via imperialism throughout the globe) to hell, for there are millions of people (including me) who are never going to be convinced that they ought to repudiate their heritage or their Crown.

More broadly, must Christian monarchists cut ourselves from the even larger numbers of people who can see, or might conceivably be persuaded to see, the merits of Monarchy, but are less likely to be convinced of Christianity? I don't think so, for if something is good at the natural level, it is good, and to be a monarchist is to believe that Monarchy is good. For Monarchy more than any other system of government reflects the Divine order, and this is true even if the monarch is not a Christian. So God Save the Queen, by all means restore the Habsburgs and Bourbons or Romanovs, and hooray for European Altar & Throne traditionalism, but let us also praise and support the Kings of Jordan, Morocco, Bhutan, Cambodia, & Thailand, the Sultan of Oman, and the Emperor of Japan, and let us pray and work for the restoration of the King of Nepal, the Shah of Iran, the kings of Laos, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and so many others!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Brunei Sultan bans Christmas

The Sultan of Brunei used to be reasonable, as did southeast Asian Islam in general. I don't know what's gotten into him. I fear Malaysia may be headed in the same direction. Basically the only current Muslim monarchies I still like (and I like them a lot) are Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. I wash my hands of the others (which doesn't mean that revolutions wouldn't make things even worse). It's the relatively secular ones that were overthrown in the second half of the 20th century (Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran), none of whose kings would have done such an asinine thing, that I really miss.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Peter Hitchens on Princes and Papers

Secrets are safe with Charles

Why is anyone shocked that the heir to the throne, who will one day be head of state, is allowed to see Cabinet papers? I’m more shocked by the idea that quite a few senior modern politicians, unrepentant communist hacks, fantasists, drunkards, tax-dodgers, etc, have had such access.

If ever I have a moment’s doubt about the Monarchy, it is dispelled when I look at those who hate it. Why do they loathe it so? It has no power as such.

But, like the king on a chessboard, it prevents others from occupying the space where it stands.

Politicians long to be the ones being cheered, they long to have mounted guards of honour and anthems played when they enter the room. They want their own aeroplanes. They want the Armed Forces to be their personal toys. They dream of requiring us to be loyal to them.

It creeps up on them. Cherie Blair (having failed to get elected as an MP) once acted as hostess aboard the Royal Train, and her husband loved posing with soldiers. Lady Thatcher started turning up at the scenes of national disasters.

David Cameron claimed to be speaking ‘on behalf of everyone in Britain’ when he wished astronaut Tim Peake luck on Tuesday. No he wasn’t.

He’s a divisive politician and he doesn’t speak on my behalf (or on the behalves of quite a few others) about anything. It was the Queen’s job, and she duly did it.

One day, God willing, Charles should do it. Reading the papers that reveal the miserable deals and compromises of government should help him keep his poise when he grants audiences to the trivial, unmemorable men and women who secretly think they’re more important than the Crown of England.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Princes and Papers

Apparently republicans in the United Kingdom (i.e. the most despicable creatures in the world, yes, worse than terrorists, since I would rather be killed by a terrorist than live in a world without The British Monarchy​) are trying to make an Issue out of the fact that Prince Charles and Prince William, that is, the next two kings, occasionally see confidential government papers. The fact that I fail to see that there is anything remotely surprising or inappropriate about this merely confirms my suspicions that republicans and I do not actually belong to the same species, since I think politicians should be grateful that the Royal Family (perhaps excessively, in my view) tolerate their existence at all.