December 17, 2012 Leave a comment
So asks Charles Coulombe in Taki’s Magazine:
Just in time for Christmas, the latest British census shows that since 2001, when 72% of the UK’s denizens claimed to be Christians, the quotient has dropped thirteen percentage points. Muslims have increased in number from 1.55 million to 2.7 million. The percentage of those who claim to have no religion leaped from 15% to 25%. This opens up some very serious issues.
Institutionally, the United Kingdom remains wedded to the varieties of Christianity her rulers imposed at the Reformation. The Churches of England and Scotland remain established; the Queen remains head of one and chief layperson of the other. The monarchy is closely tied to its religious bodies, what with royal peculiars, chapels royal, and such ceremonies as the Royal Maundy Service, the Epiphany, and above all the Coronation. Her Majesty’s Christmas Message is often far more inspiring than many a church sermon. Chosen by the government, the Archbishop of Canterbury acts as a sort of national chaplain, while he and some of his brother bishops sit in the House of Lords. The Speaker of the House of Commons has his own chaplain, and prayers for the Queen are read at the beginning of each day’s session in both Houses of Parliament. Every city and town in the realm has a civic church where an annual service is held for the benefit of mayor and council, and each regiment of the army has its own prayer. During this season of Advent, it seems that every imaginable institution from Land’s End to John O’Groats has its own carol service.
“The entire wealth of British and European culture is a testament to Christianity’s truth, and all the atheists from Nietzsche to Hitchens could not between them equal its beauty—though the Nazis and communists have shown what European non-Christians in power can build.”
How then, in the face of all of this institutional piety, could Christianity have been dealt such a blow in the last decade?
Do read on here.