Treason and the ‘state religion’
But Bishop Tamaki is having none of it. As a loyal royalist, he refers to the Coronation service during which the Queen was presented with a Bible and told, ‘This is the royal law’. Any deviation from this, for him, amounts to ‘religious treason’.
One might have expected other Christian leaders to flock to his side, appalled by the further erosion of the centrality of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the English-speaking world, but the Anglican Bishop, Richard Randerson, said the evangelicals were confusing ‘the significant role of Christianity in the life of the country with being the official state religion’, which, he asserts, it is not. It is noteworthy that this bishop recently declared himself an agnostic, and supports the removal of all mentions of Jesus from public prayers.
The less said about this ‘Anglican Bishop’, the better. He appears not only to misunderstand the mission of his religion, but also to ignore the political imperative of the Coronation Oath, which commits Her Majesty to govern her realms ‘according to their laws and customs’ and ‘to maintain the Protestant Reformed religion established by law’.
But Bishop Tamaki is wrong to speculate on the new crime of ‘religious treason’. There is no such misdemeanour on the Statute Books, and the nearest might be the crime of blasphemy. Treason is treason, and this does not need qualifying. Section Three of the Treason Felony Act of 1848 asserts that condemnation is incurred ‘If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise or intend to deprive or depose our most gracious Lady the Queen...from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom.’
While Her Majesty’s ‘royal name’ endures, the consistent and concerted attacks upon the Protestant Christian faith – the religion she is sworn to uphold – may certainly be considered a deprivation of her ‘style’. The problem is that none dare call it treason.