God, who made thee mighty
God, who made thee mighty... And was the holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen... When Britain first, at heaven's command... Was Jerusalem builded here... God save our gracious Queen...
It is not, of course, the greatest two hours of Promenade music, but it is British and it is a world class celebration. Yet, irritatingly throughout the evening, Cranmer’s mind was intermittently distracted by the voice of Labour’s Margaret Hodge, who earlier this year criticised The Proms for being ‘too white’ or ‘unrepresentative’ of modern Britain – in short, fundamentally ‘un-British’. While Stalin believed that the arts had the potential to shape his brave new world, Ms Hodge is concerned that they should express ‘inclusivity’ or ‘multi-culturalism’, and they ought therefore to be some sort of social barometer, with a healthy proportion of brown, black and yellow faces, with the implicit exhortation to wave the flags of Pakistan and Poland.
But the God who made Britain mighty was not Krishna or Waheguru; Blake did not have a vision of Mohammed walking upon England’s mountains green; Britain did not receive a command either from Jannah or act through karma; Mecca is not being builded here (or is it?); and it is not Allah we ask to save the Queen.
The Bishop of Rochester is right when he observes Britons suffer 'cultural amnesia' about Christian art. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he exhorts the rediscovery of the Christian foundations of British artistic expression:
‘The works of Shakespeare or Milton could not have been written without the English translation of the Bible and the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, while great paintings and pieces of music were inspired by Christianity and made to be showcased in churches and cathedrals.’
He asserts that ‘people are now ignorant of the religious background to our culture’, and this (sadly) includes our politicians. Firsts in PPE or doctorates in the big names of Socialism do not equip our leaders with an understanding of the function or purpose of art. And as they are systematically engineered by the ultra-pc Arts Council of Great Britain, the Christian values which were foundational to ‘Britishness’ are being supplanted by ethnic quotas and religious sensitivities which are invariably anti-white, anti-Christian and anti-British.
Dr Nazir-Ali said: "What amazes me is how people in this country don't take account of the brute fact that the Bible and the prayer book have shaped so much of its literary and cultural achievements... Certainly with art, poetry and music, people aren't exposed to the Biblical root of what has inspired people to create these themes. There should be better interpretation of things.’
So much of the inspiration for art was Christian, and the Bishop simply makes a plea for some reference to this fact to be made, ‘otherwise this amnesia will make the culture more and more shallow’.
Being born in Pakistan, he is well-qualified to warn of the decline of Christian values, which is ‘creating a “moral vacuum” that is being filled by radical Islam’. His solution is to educate, but this is only possible if one wrests education from the hands of manipulative and meddling politicians.