Monday, February 13, 2023

Charles in Charge. . .

While few would admit to welcoming the day when Charles would sit upon the throne, it was inevitable.  What his reign will mean for England and the Commonwealth remains to be seen.  His role as defender of the faith is under more scrutiny and consideration than ever before.  The sovereign is, among other things, the defender of the faith.  Charles has great curiosity for many religions and has chosen to see himself more as defender of the idea of believing than the what of that which is believed.  At some point, however, he will have to decide if he is the defender of the faith or not. There is no such role as defender of faiths or of the idea of believing in something.  Who needs something like that?  What would that look like?  Christianity is not compatible with other faiths but demands a choice between believing what is Christian or not.  Charles may aspire to such a role but that is not his choice -- he is either Christian and the defender of Christianity or he is nothing at all and would probably better serve in an entirely secular role (which, unfortunately, is not the role of the faith in this -- not at all.

Few things flourish or succeed by muddying up the message or the identity.  Certainly not the monarchy.  When the identity of that institution is no longer clear, there is little need for the institution.  Charles is a product of that goofy age of ecumenism in which all religions play nice and act like they are compatible and complement each other. Why would Charles presume that what has not worked and, indeed, contributed to the decline of churches would somehow be a way of expanding and making more relevant the role of the crown?  It can only be that Charles, like the liberal and progressive churches around him, have bought into the flawed and failed idea that faiths coexisting will flourish each faith individually.  While liberal Christianity has swallowed that lie hook, line, and sinker, it is entirely unclear how welcoming the more restrictive faiths that represent the mix of religions in England either want or will tolerate living under the umbrella of Charles defendership.  It all sounds good on paper but in reality it is a fool's mission.  Maybe Charles likes to think of himself as the keeper of the circle of life and faiths but that is not the role assigned to him.  His own religious curiosity may result in a hobbled together religion that fits him but Christianity is neither compatible to that kind of religion nor is it willing to go along and get along.  The only faith that works with Charles self-chosen title of defender of faith in general is one that is itself general and reflective of no revelation, book, or doctrine.  The Church of England did not fare well even when it had a Queen who was an articulate spokes person for the faith but how do you think this tradition will survive with a King who prefers a watered down version of everything and sees himself as the defender of it all?

1 comment:

Katherine said...

I sometimes saw, on conservative Episcopalian blogs, pleas from people who wanted Elizabeth II to DO SOMETHING about the church's accelerating departure from the traditional faith. The sad truth is that, in both the church and in the state, the British monarch is now only a figurehead, having no real authority at all. All Elizabeth could do was to be an example of personal faith. Charles III may do even less, depending on what the state of his own faith is these days.