Royal Wedding an Outdated Tradition

It only seems fitting for a tradition that has outlived its usefulness (if ever useful) to take place within another tradition that has outlived its usefulness (if ever useful). Kings, queens, and princes aren’t what they used to be. Many Europeans left their Christian homeland to escape rule by the “divine right of kings” and establish a new nation with a bill of rights that guarantees religious freedom for all. Meanwhile most in the United Kingdom stopped believing in either the divine right of kings or in the divine right of deities.

The latest British royal wedding will take place on April 29, 2011 A.D. (an abbreviation for Anno Domini, the Year of Our Lord). This traditional dating refers to the number of years since Christ was born—even though scholars now estimate that Christ was born around the year 4 B.C. (Before Christ), meaning four years before he was born. Yet another miracle for traditionalists to ponder!

Individuals should be free to follow or reject traditions. As long as the royal family doesn’t claim to speak for all British citizens, they can do whatever they please. I’ve exercised my freedom to turn off the television until all the wedding hoopla is over. We may not have royalty in this country, but I cringe when a president claims to speak on behalf of all Americans as he ends speeches with “God bless America.” I also laugh when judges argue for the constitutionality of “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance because the words are merely ceremonial tradition rather than a religious statement. The absence of these two words had a longer tradition from 1892-1954, when they were added during the disgraceful McCarthy era.

Continue reading (via "On Faith")

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Comments

"I fail to see what the royal wedding has to do with atheism." If you are an atheist in the UK you are told, officially, the notion that the head of state is established not by the invitation of the populace, but by the diety, and that the parents of a future head of state can only be married by the church, and not just any church, the official church, of which one day they will be the head. If not, their kid won't be head of state and some other relation who does submit to this authority will be. It's not just any ordinary wedding. Hard for us in the US to understand, but it is both an institution of church policy and of statecraft at the same time. It is made official not by Ministers, or by other Royals, or by William and Kate themselves, but by a BISHOP. And you know where he says his authority comes from. They have to parade from their dwelling to "His" dwelling as part of their official duty, not just because it's a swell show (I'll admit that it is, in fact, very excellent show). It's a gigantic and very public (and very publicly funded) symbol of their submission to "His" authority. It's not that they have a different view of things than you do, it is that their view is officially self-evident and your differing view is officially irrelevant. It's not just like George Bush thinking that god wants him to be president, it's like the Chief Justice and the President of the Senate swearing him in with official words to that effect. That's what you're, underneath all this, really expressing your approval of when you unthinkingly approve of the royal wedding, without reservation. Yes, it is historic - and historic things are not to be done away with willy-nilly, the world is more interesting with them, at least they're not as faux-royal-ish as US celebrities are- and they are by all accounts the salt of the earth: hey, he can even fly a plane, what's not to like. Well, the whole thing about the Bishops whose authority this all elevates in the eyes of 1,000,000,000 people sometimes not saying very nice things about reason, for starters. To think otherwise about the head of state is to be vaguely unpatriotic in a certain sense. To differ is not just to differ with another point of view from your own, to differ is to differ with the constitution. Now think of how often our constitution is invoked here. If you are an atheist in the UK you are in the unenviable position of saying that that part of the constitution (unwritten as it is) is rubbish. Great place to start from. Remarkable in a country that gave the world Hume, Bertrand Russell, Darwin, Dawkins, et al and a Deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition (Clegg and Miliband, respectively) who both profess non-belief.
Doing atheism wrong? You mean I am a heretic?
I fail to see what the royal wedding has to do with atheism. Sure, British coins have the abbreviation "DG" on them, indicating that the queen holds her position by the grace of God, but no one takes that seriously and that has been the case for quite a long time. The main thing the British royal family does is to act as a top tourist attraction. What tourist goes to London without going to see the Horse Guards Parade or the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace? One can be an atheist and enjoy these sights mightily.
I just finished the above article. I've mentioned this on other blogs (and written a post about it myself): If you are an atheist and think this royal wedding nonsense is OK, then you are doing atheism wrong.

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