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← Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll

Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll - Comments

Mary'sVibrator's Avatar Comment 1 by Mary'sVibrator

I this bringing together of other faiths, does she intend to hand over the position of Lords Spiritual from their current CofE holders to Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Druids, Jedi and Pastafairians??

I think not...

Tue, 15 May 2012 10:12:31 UTC | #941557

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 2 by Premiseless

I think this an insult to any 21st century thinking persons access to information.

What does it actually represent?

All I can think is that in order for ANY thinking person to truthfully support such a statement, they absolutely and without question need to disable all their thinking faculties to preserve any degree of credulity.

Bless the police for preserving the law.

Bless the religions that insist on their own laws that actually break the laws the police are upholding.

Pretend Jesus is a human born of non human semen.

Pretend Muhammad is of non human origin, thus usurping Jesus role, and to boot, condoning sex under 10 years of age along with other musings.

Don't forget that Jesus must be preserved as being superior to Muhammad but also the reverse!

Include all kinds of other claims, about dictatorial sky riders, as valid "faiths". i.e. disrespect reason and logic ipso facto. Due process is ill logic!

Support each set of wild assertions as if each were divine and utterly inconsistent with each other yet wholly consistent ( a kind of three in one contradiction now made worse due other faiths getting in on the belief real estate).

Defender of Faith reduces to "Estate Agent for Belief" - Whatever is on the market is for sale - apart from being reasonable and valid!

Sense or sensibility indeed?

It is tragic, I think, that The Queen must submit and resign herself to such fallacious gambling upon the common mindset. Moreover that the multitudes of sufferings this induces in the present population and the yet unborn have therefore to be repeated ad nauseum. I see this as an enslavement to a cruelty from which a leader has no way of escape. It is a putting up with the ridiculous and the bully in order to ridicule the rational and sincere minded. It is detestable to me!

Tue, 15 May 2012 10:28:22 UTC | #941559

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

I'd like to see what questions were asked to arrive at these answers because I find it hard to believe that nearly 80% of the British population would have any interest in the matter, or even comprehend what is meant by "defender of the faith" (I don't), when over 80% of the population don't even attend a religious place of worship on any kind of regular basis.

Tue, 15 May 2012 10:39:07 UTC | #941560

Deako's Avatar Comment 4 by Deako

Comment by Jumped up Chimpanzee

I'd like to see what questions were asked to arrive at these answers

Me too - especially as 80% want the queen to have a religeous role, so do 79%. Yet 25% want no religeous role for the monach. Ask enough questions until you get the right answer perhaps.


Tue, 15 May 2012 10:49:17 UTC | #941561

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 5 by strangebrew

Yeah poll rig ala 'Yes Minister'

Considering the sycophantic BBC hullabaloo about the Diamond Jubilee amongst other media outlets in Blighty this is not a great shock...I smell the stench of religio interference in the commission and execution of this poll...written all over it...along with the contradictory figures quoted...'jeebus droolers' not known for their basic math skills.

I wonder if there is not an element of shadowy manipulation in the questions...I wonder if Islam was tangentially alluded to?...introduce a unsubstantiated threat and watch how they run maybe?

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:06:20 UTC | #941564

sunbeamforjeebus's Avatar Comment 6 by sunbeamforjeebus

As far as I am concerned she can be head of any organisation she wishes, whether actively or in an honourable role.She can be Grand Poobah of the Honourable company of biscuit menders if she wants.What is at issue here is the continuance of the ridiculous situation of a proscribed belief system for the country.Which incidentally was only set up by Henry VIII, so that he could divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn.It was a purely political act based upon Henry's sexual appetite and wanting to tell the then Pope where to go.Why,some 450 years later we are still tolerating this nonsense is simply beyond me.The point raised by 'Mary's Vibrator' in comment 1 is actually a bit too close for comfort to what the Tories are considering:that is the inclusion of other clerics,such as the chief Imam and the chief Rabbi in the Lords to add to the already existing 26 anglican bishops!

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:17:32 UTC | #941565

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 7 by Cartomancer

I am quite happy for the monarchy and the church of England to remain closely allied and interconnected. That will make it easier to get rid of the both of them in one fell swoop.

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:23:57 UTC | #941566

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 8 by SaganTheCat

the queen was not democratically elected so i find it ironic to see what percentages of the population think she should or shouldn't do. personally i think she should ditch the faith to point out to her subjects it doesn't matter what they think

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:28:52 UTC | #941567

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 9 by Mark Jones

The poll was run by Comres for the BBC, so I don't think 'poll rig' is a fair comment, although the questions asked are always relevant to the response. In this case the question is, I think:

The Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and is described as the Defender of the Faith, a title which goes back to the time of Henry VIII (the 8th). Prince Charles has suggested that if he becomes King, the title should be changed to Defender of Faith, implying he would see the role relating to all religious faith groups. Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about this?

The statements are:

The Queen and future Monarchs should keep the titles of Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith. (73% agree)

The Queen and future Monarchs should not have any faith role or title at all. (25% agree)

If Prince Charles becomes King, his title should become Defender of Faith as he has suggested. (50% agree)

The Queen still has an important faith role. (79% agree)

Note the inconsistency between the answers to statement 1 and statement 3, suggesting a fair amount of confusion. There looks to be a fair proportion who are simply agreeing with the statements, without understanding them.

Not unsurprising results, given the level of sympathy still afforded religion in the UK, culturally if not in practice. In fact, I would say that the 25% agreement with statement 2 is encouraging (if respondents understood what was being asked - see above!).

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:36:42 UTC | #941568

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 10 by Jos Gibbons

Almost 80% of people in England support a religious role for the Queen

That’s a shockingly high level of the wrong answer being picked. But why were only the English polled? Come to think of it, why wasn’t the whole Commonwealth polled?

79% of respondents said she still had an important faith role

How come every time this “they like it” assertion is made, the wording changes? They can’t all be accurate quotations of what the put-words-in-their-mouths yes/no question said! “She has an important faith role” could simply acknowledge her current legal status, as opposed to approving of its maintenance.

73% said she should continue as supreme governor of the Church of England and keep the Defender of the Faith title first given to Henry VIII

Interesting how this figure is lower. BTW, Henry VIII “was given” that title by himself when he invented the Church in question.

She said the Church was often misunderstood and under-appreciated.

Examples? Frankly, given the automatic place of CoE Bishops in the House of Lords before and after the upcoming reforms, it’s appreciated too highly.

Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of all other religions, instead the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country

The only way to protect the free practice of all faiths is to institute secularism. A state religion is antithetical to this. By definition, an Anglican Church has to think it is more accurate and eschatologically more strategic than other faiths.

if you disestablish the Church and disconnect the Church from the monarchy, it gives the impression there are almost no values we share in common at all.

The only way that could be true is if we already have the impression the only values we share are religious ones. But it is a simple demographic fact that religious values, insofar as those exist, are less of a matter of consensus in the UK than various secular values are. In any case, the UK shares many such values with other nations, e.g. it shares the valuing of human rights with, in theory, every UN nation (in practice, probably only a large percentage of them).

the Queen's role in the Commonwealth meant other faith communities felt at home with her leadership of the Church of England

Here’s the thing – the entire idea that there are “faith communities” of monolithic opinions, accurately represented by summaries whose authors are unelected “leaders” thereof, is a myth.

we feel strong Christian values are good for us, we are very much on the same grounds

Any issue with regard to which Anglicans and Muslims are on the same grounds are, by definition, not Christian values. They might be Abrahamic values, or altruistic values, but they aren’t specifically Christian. And in any case, if you challenge people to give specific examples of which values they have in mind, they end up being ones that are prevalent among the non-religious too, which means it’s offensive to claim even that they are religious values as it implies the non-religious are unethical.

Canon Anthony Kane has monitored the Queen's Christmas broadcasts and said her personal faith remained strong.

Things not changing isn’t news. The opinions of someone who’s not mentioned on Wikipedia isn’t news. What happens when a person listens to a view they already agree with isn’t news, especially given the answer is “nothing”.

The fact that she speaks with a personal faith is in itself a significant action

I’d rather it be a good action.

Chartres … warned of the danger of doing away with the Queen's title. "If you have a political culture which rigidly excludes the voice of faith from rational dialogue in the open

Which is a different policy altogether. Indeed, it is exclusionary, or at least discriminatory, with respect to other faiths to have one of them be the state religion.

that is one of the ingredients for growing fanaticism

Occasionally, Muslims – not CoE members – blow stuff up in Britain. We still don’t fully understand why that happens, but we know this much: they wouldn’t do it more if the Church of England lost its unique privileges.

The poll found opinion divided on the suggestion Charles might change the religious role of the monarchy. He has called for greater understanding between people of different faiths and said he would personally rather see his role as Defender of Faith, not the faith. When asked if Prince Charles should change his title if he becomes king, only half of the respondents thought that he should.

So basically, about 30 % of the English think that the CoE should remain the state religion not so much to serve all religions’ interests as to serve just its own. At least they understand what implications the CoE’s status has, then honestly acknowledge their plans.

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:48:18 UTC | #941570

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 11 by strangebrew

Comment 9 by Mark Jones

I don't think 'poll rig' is a fair comment

Possibly not...but any poll can be.....manipulated to a degree!

The obvious flaw being you the folks asked actually understand the question posed?

It seems more a spat over should 'Defender of the faith' or 'Supreme Governor of the Church of England' be the preferred titles? Not so much as 'should the queen still represent the national religion!'

Subtle difference wide open to misinterpretation. i wonder if maybe a little tacit ground preparation in under way here for a possible schism in the C of E...otherwise it is a totally pointless poll and a mute point for the majority of the UK!

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:50:07 UTC | #941571

Outrider's Avatar Comment 12 by Outrider

I'm quite happy for her to remain in place as Defender of the Faith - let them have her, and drop her as head of state.

Or, perhaps, for a more leisurely change of set-up, how about Charles inherits the title 'Defender of the Faith', whilst Princess Anne takes up the role of Head of State when the time comes.

Instant disestablishment...


Tue, 15 May 2012 11:51:27 UTC | #941572

Capt. Bloodeye's Avatar Comment 13 by Capt. Bloodeye

Part of me feels uncomfortable in declaring that the queen is an idiot.

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:53:04 UTC | #941573

Sketchy's Avatar Comment 14 by Sketchy

Meanwhile, some very happy news from where I live! Extremely pleased about this:

All parties stand united when the Norwegian constitution is changed, so that the state will no longer be a part of the Norwegian church. The amendment is to be presented Tuesday.

The amendment which will be passed later in May, historically changes the state's relationship with the church. Parliament will no longer appoint deans and bishops, and Norway will no longer have one offical state religion.

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:23:21 UTC | #941574

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 15 by scottishgeologist

The "faith" of course is the Protestant one. Here is a link to an article on a very fuindy website, but AFAICS, the details that they have are accurate, and what is in the article is indeed the case.

The Protestant Succession to the Throne ACCORDING to the widely-publicised remarks of composer James MacMillan, and an essay by emeritus professor Patrick Reilly, prejudice against Roman Catholics pervades Scotland. But never has Roman Catholicism in Scotland or England had a higher profile or a better press than today. This is seen, for example, in the way that some newspapers support Rome in its desire to abolish the Protestant nature of the British Throne. The Coronation Oath makes clear that the Throne is Protestant: "I do solemnly, and in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare, that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my power according to law." The enactments referred to are, of course, the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701. The British Monarchy official website states, "The succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent, but also by statute; the Act of Settlement confirmed that it was for Parliament to determine the title to the throne. The Act laid down that only Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia . . . are eligible to succeed. Subsequent Acts have confirmed this. Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the Sovereign must meet. A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne; nor may the Sovereign marry a Roman Catholic. The Sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland. The Sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession." Solemn and dignified as these statutes are, The Daily Mail of 10th August had the temerity to state that "there is a blot in the statute book which it is surprising to see tolerated in Tony Blair’s ‘inclusive’ Britain: the crudely anti-Catholic wording and provisions of the Act of Settlement. It discriminates purely against Roman Catholics; it is, literally, institutionalised sectarianism. The Act is long overdue for amendment". Such comments echo William Hague’s description of the Act of Settlement as "offensive", and Sir Michael Forsyth’s despicable comment in January, that the Act is the British constitution’s "grubby little secret". These calls for abolishing the Act are a call to all true Protestants to be prayerfully vigilant. Rome has at least indirect but significant influence in the political life of our nation. Not only would that influence increase if our constitution ceased to be Protestant, but also our dearly-bought Reformed, Protestant faith would be subverted. Three years ago The Times said that any attempt to repeal the Act of Settlement "would engender howls of protest from the deeply Protestant corners of the United Kingdom". May it be so! But especially may Almighty God mercifully preserve the Protestant nature of the British Throne.


Note the FP church is seriously fundy, but they have a fascinating amount of info on their website about stuff like this.the Coronation Oath, the Act of Settlement, and other historical things.

:-) SG

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:23:50 UTC | #941576

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 16 by Premiseless

Comment 10 by Jos Gibbons :

Any issue with regard to which Anglicans and Muslims are on the same grounds are, by definition, not Christian values. They might be Abrahamic values, or altruistic values, but they aren’t specifically Christian.

You mean like shag the under 10's, or incise their genitalia, or ostracize them if they defer from such divine precedents?

This is the trouble with ALL myth! It takes, as its rights, ludicrous demands upon the minds of all concerned then defends it with an undercurrent of altruistic motives - or does it mean SLAVE MINDEDNESS?

Make no mistake, belief systems most certainly are not about values at their foundation. They are far more about wild claims upon your rights to think clearly without hindrance.

Belief systems are most often, if not always, a complete corruption of the human mind.

This is what is being defended!

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:28:09 UTC | #941577

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 17 by mr_DNA

There have been many polls that show the monarchy does not enjoy an eighty percent popularity so I can only assume this poll is basically BS. I can see the logic of the monarchy wanting to stay as part of the church which historically they set up.

given that the official position of the CofE is that the Queen is 'anointed of God' it would be removing one of the chief reasons for their existence if they were separated from the church. All that would be left is the crazy idea, which you hear repeated like a mantra, that tourism would cease if the monarchy was disbanded.

Sadly, given the success of a recent PR drive by Windsor plc and a unilateral failure on the part of the British media to do anything but brain wash the populace in this Jubilee year I don't see that happening in my lifetime. It is odd though that it is socially acceptable in Britain now to be an Atheist but not a republican...

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:32:16 UTC | #941578

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 18 by Premiseless

Comment 17 by mr_DNA :

I actually think many people support the idea of a monarchy, as preferable to some pack of supermarket market share rebels processing society like frozen peas, so then defer to the traditional unspoken bullshit that we know is religions mythology enshrined in the historical stonemasonry dotting our landscape.

Few have the balls to chat about this like sane adults. Therefore sane adults are very much offensive to the status quo. Thinking with absolute honesty and sincerity feels more like a complete joke, in this life we all share, the more time you spend doing it. Power is not listening. What sort of role model does that enforce on the subjects?

The message seems loud and clear. Truth and honesty are but objections that need squashing!

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:52:13 UTC | #941580

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 19 by Katy Cordeth

The British Royal Family has pretty much been a laughing stock in this country and elsewhere ever since It's a Royal Knockout was broadcast back in 1987. Subsequent scandals, involving everything from toe-sucking to the heir apparent's professed wish to be a tampon; royal divorces, half-blood princes in Nazi uniforms, and what with them all being ten-foot lizards and that; all of these things have contributed to the current widespread view that Liz and her clan would be better placed being guests on The Jeremy Kyle show (read Jerry Springer if you're outside the UK) than being this nation's nominal rulers.

I was quite taken aback when in her Christmas-Day speech last year, her maj started going on about Jesus. But then I always hate it when people start trying to make Christmas about religion — it's not: it's about presents, family and friends, and conspicuous over-consumption. The Queen gets one day a year when she's given airtime to say whatever she wants, without having her words written by some sleazy politician, and she goes and alienates all the non-Christians who are sitting there, doped-up to their gills on tryptophan and brandy butter and Quality Street, who have taken time out to listen to the silly monarch out of a sense of politeness and tradition and because the speech is usually quite short (and because she might mention her horrible bottom again).

We in this country (and I include myself even though I'm half-American) tolerate the royals largely because of Elizabeth II. We know that they're all a bunch of inbred, racist, Hitler-loving, animal-torturing, adulterous, workshy, servant-bothering, scullery-maid-impregnating, sour-faced, barely literate halfwits. But Liz has had the nous to stay out of politics, express no opinions, and generally keep her regal head down. And by doing so has earned a lot of respect and goodwill, both here and abroad.

I don't know what will happen, though, when the old dear breathes her last and goes to the big foxhunt in the sky. Charles isn't very prepossessing and has little moral authority*, and his son is a product of the 21st century and someone I can't imagine is overly religious.

*And bizarrely has expressed the desire to, on his ascendancy, turn Buck House into a hotel.

Tue, 15 May 2012 12:52:35 UTC | #941581

jel's Avatar Comment 20 by jel

I was under the impression that the then pope gave henry 8 the title of defender of the faith for his role in defending the catholic faith and that he and his descendants just carried on using the title, even when they were killing catholics.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:07:03 UTC | #941582

Sara's Avatar Comment 21 by Sara

Could be that many poll respondents were really saying that they don't care about religion, but if the queen does, fine, let her have it.

That is, it could have been more of an apathetic response than a supportive response.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:15:46 UTC | #941585

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 22 by Premiseless

Comment 19 by katy Cordeth :

I don't know what will happen, though, when the old dear breathes her last and goes to the big foxhunt in the sky. Charles isn't very prepossessing and has little moral authority*, and his son is a product of the 21st century and someone I can't imagine is overly religious.

When you think about it, the whole country is still very much in the clutches of myth. Foreign affairs even moreso and likely influencing the homeland politics to boot. So politics is very much privy to the role of defender of faiths etc.

As to leadership? it's far more sensible to have an established long term educated and secular think tank than a democratically elected religious one in my view. An influential leadership icon for a secular world ahead of us. It's not so much about the democracy of who is in power as it is about the democracy of what the power is disseminating!

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:18:56 UTC | #941586

progressive's Avatar Comment 23 by progressive

Maybe you don't need a monarchy at all, hey.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:19:34 UTC | #941587

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 24 by Cook@Tahiti

You can fool 80% of people 100% of the time

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:30:51 UTC | #941588

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 25 by SaganTheCat

the queen as head of c of e is like a local town crier announcing the start of the maypole dance. all a quaint bit of nostalgia

much as i'm a repulican at heart, i have nothing against our queen and quite happy for her to head the church and state for the tourists for a few more years.

when she passes and that senile, plant-bothering, science-baiting, fruit-loop of her offspring takes over it'll be time to call a halt on all this silliness and he'll do a fine job of reminding us all why

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:32:22 UTC | #941589

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 26 by Tiende Landeplage

The Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, said "(...) if you disestablish the Church..."

Yes please.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:39:58 UTC | #941590

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 27 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 10 by Jos Gibbons

She said the Church was often misunderstood and under-appreciated.


Quite! And whose fault is it if the Church is misunderstood. Ultimately that fault lies with its leader - the Queen!

Like millions of others, I've been through our education system, been to private and state C of E affiliated schools, listened to dozens of C of E ministers, bishops, archbishops and the Queen, yet never has any one of them deigned to explain to me what this national faith/belief/religion is all about or why it should be regarded as important in any way.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:44:20 UTC | #941592

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 28 by Zeuglodon

Comment 9 by Mark Jones

That inconsistency could be mostly blown aside for the 50% if they didn't care much for the omitted "the" in the third statement, so long as any defending of faith was happening. However, even then it still raises questions as to why there is a 23% discrepancy. I would have preferred a poll which was a little more exploratory, like the Ipsos MORI poll a while back which probed a little further.

I think I'm starting to see a problem with polling for ideas - there's too often little to no space to explore the reasoning behind proposals, so it's hard to know how people are interpreting the questions they receive. What if, for example, the majority asked are simply agreeing to preserve the status quo because they view it as too risky to try anything different? Or maybe, for the first question, some wanted to differentiate between monarchs being Supreme Governor of the Church of England and/or Defender of the Faith without going for the Defender of Faith option so that the options are:

  1. Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith
  2. Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of Faith
  3. Supreme Governor of the Church of England but not Defender of the Faith and not Defender of Faith
  4. Defender of the Faith but not Supreme Governor of the Church of England
  5. Defender of Faith but not Supreme Governor of the Church of England

Comment 10 by Jos Gibbons

An excellent analysis, sir. You pointed out some problems I hadn't myself considered.

It makes more sense if you think of it as a widespread case of "belief in belief" ("I personally don't believe in any religion, but there are people who benefit from it, so it's a good thing that needs defending").

It would be great if there was an official Defender of Reason somewhere along the line.

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:45:14 UTC | #941594

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 29 by Rosbif

... her faith is still strong

Why is it that clergy say things like this as if strong faith is a good thing?

What it means is that she is desperately hoping that her guess about a spirit in the sky has some foundation and that if it does, that spirit will have a preference for humans that worship crosses as opposed to any other torture device, if indeed this spirit has any plan for any species after they're dead.

... and then we're supposed to accept this?

"If you have a political culture which rigidly excludes the voice of faith from rational dialogue ..."

If there's anything excluding faith from rational dialogue it is irrational faith!

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:51:51 UTC | #941595

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 30 by quarecuss

The Popess. It never fails to amaze how the English replaced the papacy with monarchical Fid. Def. and thought they'd done away with all that superstitious nonsense.

Tue, 15 May 2012 14:04:34 UTC | #941596