Australia Britain Media Politics

The Queen – AP

This weeks Australian Presbyterian column: 

I have been trying to catch up on Australian culture, so this Christmas watched the 2002 Australian film – Crackerjack – a film about bowling which became the no. 1 film that year, grossing some $8 million plus dollars. It was surprisingly good – and to some degree informative. Not least when at the bowling club AGM, they drank a toast to ‘The Queen’. That is something I cannot ever recall happening in my old country, Scotland.

I have a confession to make – I am politically more inclined towards republican tendencies than I am towards monarchy. The Lord’s warning to the Israelites about what a king would do (1 Samuel 8) still applies for me! But I love the Queen. She has been my Queen for all of my life, and I cannot imagine the UK without her. In fact, I can, but what I imagine is more of a nightmare than a dream.

It was a tradition in my home, as in many others, that after our Christmas lunch we would all sit down to watch ‘The Queen’. Her Christmas address is a firm part of the Christmas tradition in many UK and Australian households. We know that her script is written by others – although she has considerable input and that shows most of all in the Christian content she brings to it. But this year it appeared to be different. The BBC report of the speech did not mention Jesus once. I was quite surprised when I read that, as I had not at that point seen the speech. But thankfully it is now on YouTube and so I watched to see what she had actually said.

She started with Jesus being the light of the world. She mentioned the teachings of Christ, the parable of the Good Samaritan, gathering to worship, the star in the sky and Jesus bringing joy to the world. The song at the end was about Jesus the Saviour reigning. Here was a monarch acknowledging a greater King. For the BBC to refuse to acknowledge that was telling – telling of an ignorance, prejudice and hatred which has now become deeply ingrained in much of the BBC. The Queen spoke of the ‘Unknown Warrior’ – the BBC wants us to have an Unknown Saviour.

What about Australia? Does the Australia portrayed in Crackerjack still exist? In a decreasing number of quarters – probably. I wonder how many Australians drank a toast to ‘the Queen’ on Christmas Day? What about Christian faith in public leaders? In my view Australia is far better off in this regard than the UK – where Alaister Campbell’s ‘we don’t do God’ – has become the unspoken rule in politics. In the UK it would be unthinkable to have a Scott Morrison type leader, one who openly acknowledges his evangelical faith. Greg Sheridan’s God is Good For You gives a fascinating account of just how many Australian politicians from different sides of the political divide, profess Christian faith (which is in itself a useful reminder not to fall into the trap of equating Christianity with one particular political position or party).

What about the media? The ABC seems more open than the BBC (although that is not a high bar!), the Australian has writers like Greg Sheridan (his article on Christianity in China this Christmas was superb), and the Sydney Morning Herald can barely hide its contempt, and the contempt of its decreasing readership, for biblical Christianity.

This New Year those of us who are Christians need to be thankful that we live in countries where political leaders like the Queen, the Prime Minister and many others can openly profess their faith. We need to be thankful that we still have freedom of the press and freedom of religion. But we need to be watchful. There are those, who just as the editor of the BBC article tried to take Christ out of the Queens Speech, are trying to take Christ out of any aspect of our public life. For them ‘secular’ means much more than just a separation of church and state – they want God to be taken out of everything and our countries to be governed by their atheistic philosophies.

If you want to know how far down that particular rabbit hole Scotland has gone this true story is a perfect illustration. A friend took an African Children’s choir to sing at the Scottish Parliament. As they rehearsed one of the officials told them that they should not sing songs about Jesus. They told him they didn’t have any other songs and went ahead anyway. How did Scotland move so quickly from being the land of the people of the Book, sending missionaries all over the world to being a country where when the fruits of those missionary labours return, they are told not to sing about Jesus?! Australia, take heed.

As we enter the New Year – let us be vigilant. Especially in prayer. (1 Timothy 2:1)

The Queen and Billy Graham

Living Before our Creator and Judge – AP

 

15 comments

  1. The BBC sent out a warning about a programme…

    ‘The following programme contains images of a white heterosexual male from the very start, which some viewers may find upsetting..’..!

    And remember the quote from the first director general of the BBC, Lord Reith…

    When some smart alec producers were quibbling about the Sunday (as they called it ) ‘The God Slot..’, saying it was way outdated, etc (and this was a long time ago..!)

    Lord Reith replied graciously …

    ‘My dear fellow..,The Church of Jesus Christ will be at the graveside of the BBC and every other vacuous organisation in our bankrupt society…’ !

  2. “I wonder how many Australians drank a toast to ‘the Queen’ on Christmas Day?”
    Me! Don’t worry, some of us in the slightly younger generation (I’m approaching middle age.)

    By the way, I bought this over Christmas but I haven’t had time to read it yet:

    https://www.koorong.com/product/the-faith-of-queen-elizabeth-the-poise-grace_9780310356974

    I’ve also – by coincidence or Providence – been stumblimg across numerous references to Queen Victoria’s amazing faith recently, like personally leading a regular Bible study fir her servants’ children.

    God bless.

  3. Further to my last comment:

    “A pious Lutheran in her faith, Victoria was keenly Protestant in her sensibilities and, though not actively intolerant of other faiths, she was zealous that her position as Head of the Church of England was employed in what she considered the betterment of Anglican worship practices. She preferred simplicity in churches and did not like the formalities and High Church rituals. She had offended many High Church Anglicans—including the Archbishop of Canterbury—by taking the sacrament of Holy Eucharist at a simple, Scottish church called Crathie Kirk, on November three, 1873.”

    and

    “In 1874, Victoria pushed through a Public Worship Bill with the intent of purging the Church of England of High Church practices which made its liturgies resemble those of the Roman Catholic Church. The bill passed Parliament, and Victoria wrote afterwards that she hoped there would be no more “bowings and scrapings” at Mass and no more “confession” in Anglican churches.”

    Source: https://www.sparknotes.com/biography/victoria/section9/

    I’ve also read a great deal about Victiria’s genuine concern for the poor recently, especially in the East End slums and her desire to visit the sicj in hospital, “not as Queen but in her duty as a Christian woman.”

    “The ABC seems more open than the BBC” – wow, the BBC must be absolutely atrocious then to be even worse than the ABC. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    “In the UK it would be unthinkable to have a Scott Morrison type leader, one who openly acknowledges his evangelical faith. ” – again, wow! 🙁 He is not even all that overt in his faith. He has been a comparatively good PM apart from his complete mishandling of China. He desperately and urgently needs to improve his foreign relation skills there.

    “. A friend took an African Children’s choir to sing at the Scottish Parliament. As they rehearsed one of the officials told them that they should not sing songs about Jesus.” So sad – I don’t think separation of church and state, in its original French sense – means anything like that!

    “… the Australian has writers like Greg Sheridan (his article on Christianity in China this Christmas was superb)…” Thanks, I will have to read it. I’ve read other articles about the huge numbers of undrground Christians, maiy Presbyterian, in China, and the amazing things God is doing there, right under the nose of the Cimmunist Party.

    God bless.

    1. Megan, you might also enjoy articles by (for example) Barney Zwartz in the Sydney Morning Herald.

  4. My own observation of BBC vs ABC is that at least the BBC website has published articles on the growth of Christianity in Communist China a few Christmases ago, and also one on the deaths of Elliot, Saint and Fleming in their outreach to the Aucas and how Jim Saint’s widow went back and helped convert the Aucas. The ABC would never deign to publish such stories – it contradicts the Woke bias that seem part of the ABC.

    1. Steve, your comment might be a bit too strong? It is worthwhile searching on the ABC website for ‘Christianity China’ without even limiting your search to ABC Religion & Ethics.

  5. ‘I cannot imagine the UK without her. In fact, I can, but what I imagine is more of a nightmare than a dream.’

    That’s the thing, isn’t it? I think that is why most Aussies prefer to remain under a constitutional monarchy rather than become a republic despite all of the nationalist rhetotic about “choosing our own head of state” and odious creatures like Prince Andrew with his arms dealing and his alleged role in the Epstein scandal and the royals’ close links to the military and the establishment.

    The Queen is a unifying force for, not just Australua or Scotland, but the entire Commonwealth. A president of Australia would politicise the role of head of state and turn a force for unity into one more source of social division. Her Christian faith makes her a good role model too, despite her dubious results in child-raising, and someone for the young to respect and counter the cult of youth and moral liberaliam that is currently killing western society.

    Christ be with uou this year, pastor, in the challenges that lie ahead for us in 2021.

  6. Thank you for that article, David. You reflect my sentiments exactly. I am now in my eighties and remember as a child sitting down and listening to the Queen giving her Christmas message. In recent years many of us in the homeland have been encouraged by the Queen’s Christian input which was even more pronounced this year. The church of which I am a member wrote to the queen in 2019 thanking her for her stand and promising to support her in prayer. When I heard the BBC reporting on it, I could not believe they were reporting on what I had heard.
    May God bless your ministry too. John.

  7. I would suggest that the Queen has very little political power, but does have a lot of influence.

    Most Republicans I know tend to be of a left wing persuasion. I always like to make them splutter by suggesting the idea of President Maggie Thatcher……

    Whenever anyone suggests we should have an elected House of Lords, I always say that the last thing we need are more politicians. The same goes for the idea of a President.

  8. Could I just make one comment on your excellent article. the Queen’s speech at Christmas is the only one she makes entirely on her own. Nobody else helps her, and that is why she is always so good. On a more frivolous note, that is also the only time she does not do her own make-up, according to her dresser. Not bad for someone of her years!

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