17 June 2006

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty.

The Archbishop of Canterbury preaches an "absolutely stonking"* sermon on the occasion of the Queen's 80th birthday:

"The curse of our age has been the inhumanity of absolute ideology and of myths of racial supremacy, the great lies that have plunged our continent and our world into darkness and butchery so many times since the nineteen twenties. And in the new century and millennium, what we have to fear is a toxic mixture of religion that has become inhuman, economic power sustained at massive human cost, and the technologies of destruction that can be used by armies and by terrorists alike for impersonal killing...

...In other words, monarchy as it has developed here is a way of keeping power human. At the symbolic centre of our political life is a person. There are risks to this: Your Majesty has more reason than most to know the cost of a culture fanatically eager for gossip and trivia and the exposure in public of what should be private. Yet it is also true that something of immense value has been made possible in this climate. We have seen something of a monarch who has shared the vulnerability of ordinary people, and that has been moving in itself. But more importantly we have been able to see a bit more clearly the personal depth of our monarch’s faith, more and more evident in successive broadcasts and testimonies, and her keen sense – to borrow the blunt and resonant words of the Prayer Book – of ‘whose minister she is’, who she is answerable to..."

*according to Ruth Gledhill.


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