Defender of the faith or defender of the faith?

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(Photo: Jessica Delp)

At a reception at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening, King Charles assured the gathered religious leaders of various faiths that he would work to protect the space of faith.

Waxing lyrically, he continued that it was his duty “to protect the diversity of our country, including protecting the space of faith itself and its practice across religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs. where our hearts and minds point us as individuals”. “

He went on to say that as a member of the Church of England, his personal beliefs had love at their very core, so he pledged to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those seeking to live their lives. in accordance with secular ideals.

Interesting. At her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of the Church of England, swore to do all she could to uphold the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, doing all in her power to keep the Reformed Protestant Church in the UK. Religion. She further swore to uphold and preserve the establishment of the Church of England and its doctrine, worship, discipline and government, as established by English law.

This oath, taken by the sovereign, was fixed by law in 1688. Since then, there have been occasional attempts to modify it, but the legality of such amendments remains questionable. Are we to infer, however, that Charles is now proposing a radical reformulation of the oath that will fundamentally undermine our constitution?

Our new king is undeniably well-meaning and is trying to carry on the tradition of faithful service to the nation so exemplified by his mother. We applaud him and support him in his commitment. But, in this area at least, his approach seems flawed. The United Kingdom remains essentially a Christian country. Our laws and our culture are based on Christian values ​​and beliefs – values ​​that have rightly made us the envy of the world. In the national interest, they must be respected.

Today, our society is undeniably diverse, welcoming a variety of different beliefs and cultures, some of which coexist uncomfortably. Witness, for example, the current violent unrest between Hindus and Muslims in Leicester, which erupted following a cricket match.

Given our now ethnically diverse population, such cultural conflict is perhaps a reality that in the years to come we may well see increasing, and which will no doubt pose a challenge if we are to sustain peace. , while helping people to live in true tolerance and harmony. But say that everything beliefs are of equal value is not the answer.

Yes, as Christians we should respect and love others, but that does not mean we should accept without positing their beliefs as having the same value as those which for some 1,500 years have formed the foundation of our nation. . Charles should understand that as a Christian country we must accept and recognize Christ alone as the Way, the Truth and the Life. As such, we appreciate and respect the beliefs of others, but we do not accept them as having equal status and value. We don’t all worship the same God.

We salute our new King’s efforts to unify the nation, and we fully support him in this regard, but we ask him to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to Christian values ​​and beliefs. Under Christ alone, who calls us to love and respect all equally, our nation will prosper, and only in allegiance to him will we demonstrate and achieve genuine tolerance.

Let us not compromise our core and fundamental beliefs for failure to appreciate and recognize the differences between different religions – or even between religion and secularism – and for fear of offending those who pursue a different and inconsistent agenda.

In recent years, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion on the planet. From Afghanistan to North Korea, passing through India and Iran, Somalia, Egypt, Pakistan, China… the list seems endless, but in all these countries, Christians are now face discrimination, injustice, intimidation, mistreatment, abuse, violence, ethnic cleansing and even genocide.

In truth, Christians receive neither tolerance nor respect from other religions. So let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that we will achieve a peaceful and harmonious society by sacrificing our Christian heritage and beliefs to what are essentially enlightened ideas of inclusiveness.

We call on our new King to courageously uphold the faith, valuing others, but without misunderstanding that they share a similar commitment to that love, tolerance and respect that is truly at the heart of Christianity.

Reverend Lynda Rose is the founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group working to uphold the moral values ​​of the Bible in society.

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