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!


Michael E. said...

If it's any consolation, I am one Catholic Christian who agrees with your pan-monarchism wholeheartedly. In fact, I do so based directly on the Catholic Christian faith which I profess. Past Catholic clergy have said that it is always wrong to revolt against your monarch, whether that monarch is Catholic or not, and they supported King Charles I in the 1640's, and King George III in the American War of Independence. In fact, according to a youtube video by "The Mad Monarchist", a German Catholic Bishop supported a Protestant candidate for President in the Weimar Republic over the Catholic candidate because the Protestant candidate was a monarchist and the Catholic candidate was not!

Indeed, to claim that a monarchy "only counts" if it's Christian--or if it's Catholic Christian--is to ignore salvation history which is a de fide teaching of the faith! What of the pre-Christian Kingdom of Israel, the basis for Jesus's claim to be the Messiah at all? David was not formally Christian in the sense we think of it today, nor was Solomon, nor any later King of the Jews! They worshiped the same God that we do today, but the formal religion wasn't the same! And what of Saint Peter's exhortation to "Honor the Emperor"? (1 Peter 2:17). In his time, the Roman Emperor was a pagan who was worshiped as a god! Of course I would prefer Catholic monarchies to any other--especially over non-Catholic Christian monarchies, which I am convinced are heretical--but better to have something to work with rather than starting over from scratch.

I'm sorry those Catholics have been so much of your exposure to Catholics--I can only hope, in the spirit of charity, that they say this out of mere ignorance and not a false heart. Someone needs to remind them about Saint Thomas More, who never renounced his loyalty to Henry VIII as his king even as he refused to accept Henry as the head of the Church in England (and was put to death for so refusing, which is why he is a saint now). And while I don't know as much as I might, I for one am impressed with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and would love to have her as my head of state if that were possible, especially given what we in the USA have to deal with instead, and have had to deal with for centuries. To criticize the British monarchy because it isn't Catholic is like criticizing it because it's constitutional instead of absolute--because, as you have said multiple times lately, subjects dare to limit the powers of their own monarch and royalty. If the alternative is to lose the monarchy, I say keep it, especially if it doesn't get worse.

In keeping with this "pan-monarchism", as you put it ("The Mad Monarchist" put it the same way), I'm very happy that the Empire of Japan, for example, has lasted for so long and remained on the throne after Japan's defeat in World War II. I have no love for pagan religions like Shinto or Buddhism--the sooner they go extinct the better--but at least those are both pre-Christian religions that were their best attempt centuries ago to figure out what was going on, and they follow it out of a (however misguided) desire to follow and perpetuate their traditions, not out of a knowing and deliberate desire to rebel against their Lord and Savior. And of course, as a Catholic Christian I would love nothing more than for the Japanese culture to remain intact, albeit Christianized--who knows, perhaps someday a liturgical rite of the Church based on the Japanese language and culture?

I'll stop there--but I hope I've supplemented your blog entry.

God bless you and your family, and Merry Christmas!

Matthew Celestine said...

I'm certainly not that sort of narrow Catholic monarchist.

August said...

Most Catholics have been trained to believe in a universal unity that is not contingent on a local unity. I noticed this specifically when a particular couple I knew got divorced. It was quite clear who the bad actress was, yet, despite all the Catholic bluster about divorce, both of them could be found going to church and participating in the sacraments in the diocese.
This narrow mindedness of which you speak seems a similar thing on a different scale- they would prefer a disunity between a people and their monarch, and somehow think this symbolic unity with Rome will heal everything- despite having plenty of the evidence to the contrary in their own churches.

It is probably much worse than this, given that most people are idiots, and likely don't know what unity is at all.

Unknown said...

I personally AM a UU Pan-Monarchist, of the Eclectic Pagan Variety, & I was raised as a jewish boy, although I have a very diverse heritage, even having some Woodlands Native American heritage, & despite having always had a very sympathetic outlook on Monarchy I actually *DID* vote for who I saw as the better option for President, but in my heart-of-hearts, I've always been an Eclectic Pagan Pan-Monarchist!!

Speaking of Eclectic Paganism/Judaism, well:, (it has a section on reincarnation in Judaism, & in the spirit of inclusiveness, I've gone ahead, & linked to the entire page)!!,,,


I could probably pull up others, but that should do for now!!

If the Divine is BOTH infinite, as well as all-powerful, then it should by that very definition be willing & able to manifest in different manifestation(s)/incarnation(s)/form(s), even @the same time, have more than 1 offspring, & create an infinite am other worlds/universes/timelines/realms/realities/dimensions, etc. & now that I've mentioned that last point:



Unknown said...