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Jan 15 2013

When anachronisms collide

Having a hereditary monarchy in this day and age seems ridiculous. Having an official state church is equally ridiculous. When both anachronisms are simultaneously present, they give birth to the kind of absurd controversy currently taking place in the UK.

What’s the problem? The current government wants to change the law so that the British throne does not pass preferentially down the male line as it does at present. This move seems to have general support. But as part of the package containing that reform, the government also wants to eliminate the prohibition passed in 1701 against the monarch marrying a Roman Catholic. (Yes, that actually is against the law in the UK!)

Apparently Prince Charles and a former Archbishop of Canterbury are against this latter change, outlining a possible scenario in which the monarch marries a Catholic who raises their child in that religion and that person then inherits the throne. Why would this be a problem? Because the monarch also serves as the titular head of the Anglican church in the role of Supreme Governor of the established Church of England. And having a Catholic as the head of the Anglican Church would undo all the work of Henry VIII and his successors in attacking Catholics, wasting all those beheadings.

Here’s a simple solution: Eliminate both the monarchy and the established church.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    fleury

    technically, eliminating just one of two seems to suffice

  2. 2
    Argle Bargle

    Eliminate both the monarchy and the established church.

    So you’d have Brenda and Chuckles begging in the streets and the Archbishop of Canterbury having to find honest work. Have you no shame?

  3. 3
    MNb

    “Here’s a simple solution:” and replace it by the political circus you Americans enjoy so much? No way, sir.
    In The Netherlands the situation is about the same. The marriage of the heir of the crown has to be approved by parliament and only ten years ago he (Willem Alexander) was allowed to marry a catholic woman (Maxima). That’s to say: members of the Royal House cán marry without political permission, but then have to give up their rights to the crown. That has happened when a younger sister of the Queen decided to marry a Spanish catholic a few decades ago.
    Nah, what I’d prefer is this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Stadtholderless_Period

  4. 4
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    That is the sort of conflict of interest dreamt of in days of yore. Just imagine!

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    MNb

    So puppet show and circus are the only options? That’s terrible.

  6. 6
    Trickster Goddess

    So the law only specifies Roman Catholic? Then it is quite alright if an atheist or a Muslim marries into royalty and their heir become the head of the Anglican Church? Cool.

  7. 7
    ospalh

    So the law only specifies Roman Catholic?

    Yup. As in the title, an anachronism, combined with a false dichotomy. I guess it was literally unthinkable for the King to marry a non-Christian in 1701.

    Some of the wilder rumors i have heard is that the Prince of Whales^?^?^?^?^?^? Wales actually is a crypto-Muslim. What seems to be true, or at least more likely, is that he wants to be called “Defender of Faith” instead of “Defender of the Faith”.

  8. 8
    garnetstar

    That’s pretty rich. Prince Charles himself didn’t mind indulging in long-term adultery, then marrying a divorced woman, both of which are forbidden by the church he’ll be the head of.

    Do as I say, not as I do. Typically Christian.

  9. 9
    steve84

    A simple solution would be to remove the “monarch as head of the church” thing

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