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



  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:

    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.

    1. My family toasts her at Christmas and on the Queen’s Birthday holiday.

      BTW, my daughter is currently reading Ingrid Seward’s book, “My Husband and I”, about the Queen and Prince Philip. I always thought that the Queen had High Church/Anglo-Catholic leanings but my daughter tells me, according to this book, Queen Elizabeth II prefers simplicity in her services, only takes the Lord’s Supper four times a year in accordance with old Low Church custom and prefers to take her service in a small unostenatious chapel to avoid the pomp and ceremony of the main church.

      Likewise, in Scotland, there is a small kirk she prefers over larger churches.

      Therefore, Queen Elizabeth the Second may not be High Church / Anglo-Catholic after all, despite the internet rumours! She may be an Evangelical / Low Church Anglican, like her forebear, Queen Victoria.

      What makes it confusing to determine the Queen’s form of churchmanship is one of her former chaplains, Gavin Ashenden, was an Anglo-Catholic and a member of Forward in Faith and various Catholic groups in the Anglican Church. However, according to an uncited statement on his Wikipedua page, Aahenden “combined the experience of and allegiance to the Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Charismatic strands of the Church of England”, so, if true, he is quite sympathetic to low church / protestant strains of Anglicanism, thankfully. Also, he was involved in smuggling Bibles into Russia and he was an advisor to GAFCON so it sounds like he was very sympathetic to evangelicals by Anglo-Catholic / High Church standards.

      I’ve also heard in the past the Queen is orthodox in her religious views is opposed to the church endorsing same-sex marriages. Ashenden actually left the Anglican Church for the breakaway, orthodox, Continuing Anglican movement in protest against the gay marriage issue and he eventually “crossed the Tiber” and is now a Roman Catholic.

      Also she apparently kneels at her bed to say her prayers morning and night without fail so she remains a genuinely devout Christian (as far as any mortal human can judge) and a role model for us all. God bless the Queen! Pray that Pribce Charles may continue to grow and mature in his faith and leave behind his more extreme pluralistic/New Age ideas that he may be such a role model tooo by the time he takes over.

    2. Okay, so the Queen’s next chaplain was Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican. She was trained at a Church Army college, so she sounds like a somewhat liberal (being a female priest) evangelical. (On a personal note, I actually haven’t encountered many liberal evangelicals since most liberals and Progressive “Christians” in Australia are firmly in the Anglo-Catholic camp. Any evangelicals in favour of women pastors, etc, are a rare breed here. Are they more common in the UK?)

      Again, this is just Wikipedia but “she has also spoken on the subject of gay marriage, telling The Times that the church is “obsessed with sex” and there are many more important issues.” Avoids answering the question… 🙁

      Also, to correct myself, Ashenden did not just leave the Anglican church over the gay issue. Rather, “In early 2017, Ashenden resigned from his position as Chaplain to the Queen after speaking out against a service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, at which a Muslim law student read (in Arabic) a passage from the Koran that explicitly declared that Jesus is not the Son of God and because of his views on Islam and orthodox Christianity. Ashenden concluded that being a member of the Ecclesiastical Household meant he could not speak out on matters he felt strongly about and that it was his duty and calling to speak on issues relating to the integrity of the Christian faith.”

      Does the Queen have say in who becomes her chaplain or are they appointed by parliament/the PM? Either way, it is interesting they have followed up on an Anglo-Catholic with an Evangelical, just like they do with appointments to the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. Trying to appease both factions while giving nothing away about the Queen’s personal leanings/preferences in terms of churchmanship…

      God bless.

      1. My daughter’s read on a bit more… 😉 Apparently, Queen Elizabeth wasn’t all that keen on (evangelical / low church) Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, because he was a strict moralist and would rebuke her kids’ not-very-good behaviour. Her Majesty agreed with him that their misconduct was bad but she felt he didn’t emphasise forgiveness enough.

        By contrast, the Queen really likes the current (evangelical /low church) Archbishop pf Canterbury, Justin Welby, and gets on well with him.

        The book doesn’t say anything at all about what the Queen thought of Welby’s (Anglo-Catholic / High Church) predecessor, Rowan Williams, unfortunately.

        Presuming the book is accurate, there therefore seems to be enough evidence to show Queen Elizabeth the Second is sympathetic to evangelical / low church Anglicans, if not even outright identifying as one herself.

      2. The people over at the “Ship of Fools” website were trying to work out Queen Elizabeth’s churchmanship, too, in this discussion thread:;f=70;t=024833

        In short, they think she is middle-to-low church and that Edward VII was probably the only Anglo-Catholic monarch we’ve had in recent times. (They also provide more evidence of how good old Queen Vic was the lowest of lows. 🙂 )

        The Queen also particpated in the production if a short book, “The Servant Queen and the God She Serves”, for the Bible Society (with an abridged school kids’ edition produced by Scripture Union) which is more evidence sge is liw church / evangelical.

      3. One more source: this Spectator article is behind a paywall but from the part I could read, Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher (who performed the royal cotonation) said all of the Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II, are low church:

        (The article makes a point of distinguishing between “low church” and “evangelical” in the “born-again”, “American” sense of the term.) Since all the sources seem to indicate she is Low Church, I am not sure where this unsubstantiated internet runour that the Queen is High Church has emerged from. Case closed.

  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.”


    “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.”


    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!

  9. Praying for Prince Philip today… It doesn’t sound good at this stage as he has already been in hospital longer than expected and we had Charles’ unexpected, long car trip to visit him yesterday and his (allegedly teary?) departure afterwards, all at a time when hospitals in the UK are supposedly not allowing visitors except for compassionate reasons, due to the pandemic. Also, there are the rumours Harry is self-isolating and has a private jet on stand-by if he needs to rush over.

    One royal pundit on Channel 7’s Sunrise suggests his condition is indeed more serious than they are letting on. Of course, even a mild condition can be threatening in someone his age.

    We are told to oray for our leaders and even though he is “only” the consort, he needs them now. Also, as a human, a husband, a father and a grandafather and great-grandfather, he and his family need our prayers. Whatever his flaws as a person, he has fone much good for us and now we, his subjects, must be there for him.

    Also, there is the fear that the Queen may drop her bundle if he pases away and, like often happens in older couples who have spent many years together, she may go soon after. Let us hope and pray not, though I do think Charles has finally reached the level of maturity needed and is ready to now take the reigns.

    Dear Lord,

    Please may Prince Philip survive if it be Your will and be a comfort to his family at this extremely worrying time, especially Elizabeth his wife and Charles, his eldest son, who will bear such an immense responsibility at some point in the near future (only You know exactly when).

    Thank you for Prince Philip’s many years of service and giving him a long life for we, his subjects. Thank you for all his philanthropy work and concern for the least of his subjects, across the Commonwealth. Please make Yourself known to him if he does not akready know You and give him the saving faith he needs to be prepared to enter Your kingdom when His time comes. Give strength to his family and wisdom, faith and strength of character to Charles.

    Forguve us our sins and may we continue to be good and loyal subjects of Elizabeth and, at the time You hace appointed, Charles, and may they lead us as faithful Christian role models putting their strength and trust in You and reflecting Your love.

    In Your Son’s precious and holy name,


    1. Apologies for all the typos in the post above.

      In the latest news, the Queen is allegedly – and very understandably – distraught over Prince Philip’s condition:

      Dear Father in Heaven

      You teach us to pray for our leaders.

      Please may Prince Philip not die at this time.

      Please comfort the Queen and her family in their distress. May the presence of Your Holy Spirit, the Paraclete Comforter, be made tangible to her and to her family at this time.

      I pray that Prince Philip, and all of the royal family, may come to know You and be saved.

      Please give the Queen time to adjust to the idea that her husband will be going home to You at some point in time only you know, presumably in the next few years. Give her the strength to overcome this challenge if she does indeed outlive him.

      Please forgive us our sins as we offer tjis humble petition to You.

      In the Name of Christ Your Son


      1. Dear Father in Heaven

        Thank you for answering these prayers. May the Duke grow closer to You in the days he has left.

        Thank you for granting the Queen and the Royal Family more time to adjust to life without Prince Philip. In your grace you have given her time to adjust by granting her a month without him.

        It also helps to prepare us, the common people, for the inevitable changes that will occur at some point in the next decade known oy to you when Prince Charles becomes monarch. Please may Charles grow in saving faith as well.

        Please also help the Queen as she deals with yet another family feud playing out in the public eye and the worry she must feel over her son, Prince Andrew. Whatever may be the facts of the Andrew/Epstein/Maxwell scandal, may justice be served.

        May Maxwell and Andrew come to saving faith as well and please help heal and save Epstein’s alleged victims like Virginia Giuffre. May she and the other alleged victims overcome the pain and trauma of the wickedness they experienced.

        In the name of Christ Your Son


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