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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

30 May 2012: Tim Concannon, Parishioner St Laurence Catholic Church

Blessed with a monarch

"Raising the flag and singing the anthem, Hepplewhite, are, while somewhat suspicious, not in themselves acts of treason" says Terry Pratchett's hapless cavalry captain faced with a rebel barricade.

And so, on this occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee it is suddenly OK to be proud of our Queen and Country. And we do have an awful lot to be thankful for. Our 'Arab Spring' took place nearly four hundred years ago and from it we took a constitutional monarchy which embraces moderation rather than fanaticism. Over the years, we have learned to be rather suspicious of "enthusiasm", which so often leads to dangerous pig-headedness.

We used to look down on foreigners, with their excitable ways, whilst cherishing the peoples of the Empire and Commonwealth with their rich cultural diversity. They were, after all, subjects of the Same Queen and Law.

Unthinking mob violence, stirred up by preachers of hate is something which, over the years, we have, by and large learned to ignore. It was, after all, a poisonous mixture of Religious bigotry and political expediency that crucified Christ. Had Pontius Pilate been British, one can almost imagine him saying, "Now see here old chap, telling stories and healing the sick are not actually against the law, so jolly well leave him be."

If confronted with the charge, "If you release him, you are no friend of the Queen" he might have said, "Well I am, actually, we had tea only the other day and she told me that she really rather admired this Jesus fellow, and asked to be remembered to him!"

And that is it really, we have been blessed with a monarch whose wisdom and common sense has proved a strong defence against bigotry and expediency over the last sixty years. Long may it continue!!

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