I appeared on Channel 4 on Wednesday (13 April), suggesting that a monarch should not be head of a church. I spoke for just under two minutes, as one of a series of short clips in which people with different views responded to the question “Should the queen stand down as head of the Church of England?”.
The 4thought website also shows the others expressing views on the issue.
4thought is on after Channel 4 news every day, featuring a different religious or ethical question every few days.
It felt rather odd to be interviewed for over an hour and then see the result edited down to less than two minutes. However, I’m very grateful to the people at 4thought, who have managed to edit me very fairly and summarise my view very well.
My concerns about the Church of England’s links to the monarchy are partly about symbolism, but also the practical consequences of that symbolism. The royal link implies an endorsement of values of hierarchy and privilege at odds with the teaching of Jesus. This constrains the Church’s ability to speak out for independent and radical views and values.
Of course, the monarchical ties are only one factor among many that constrain the Church’s progressive voice. Like most of the other factors, it is a legacy of Christendom – the time when Christianity was linked to wealth and power, holding considerable sway over society. As we move away from Christian privilege in a multifaith society, we can welcome post-Christendom as an opportunity to look again at Jesus’ radical teachings. The injustices of monarchy are the last thing we should be holding on to.