07 September 2015, The Tablet

General public wants to keep Coronation Christian, survey says

by Sean Smith

The Coronation is a symbolic centrepiece of British law and should not be changed, according to an overwhelming majority of the British public.

As The Queen passed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest reigning British monarch, a poll by Theos found that there is no mandate for any changes to the ceremony to crown her successor.

61 per cent believed that the ceremony should stay the same, while 57 per cent of non-Christians (a group that included Muslims, Hindus, Jews and people of no religious faith) said that they would not be alienated by the Christian ceremony, according to the latest poll by the religious think tank.

And less than one in five British adults thought that a Christian coronation would alienate people of non-Christian faiths from the ceremony.  

Only 19 per cent said that they wanted a multi-faith ceremony, while 23 per cent said they would prefer a secular coronation.

Perhaps most striking is that there was a majority in every age group, social class, gender, religious and ethnic background, and across the regions, including Scotland and Wales, that agreed the mostly Christian ceremony should not be changed at all.

“In her Diamond Jubilee the Queen spoke of people of Christian, other faiths or no faith living freely to co-operate for the common good. We suggest this should be a model for the next coronation reflecting the country we are today,” says Nick Spencer, co-author of the report.

At her accession at Westminster Abbey in 1953, The Queen took her oath of office, which included a vow to uphold Protestantism in the United Kingdom and protect the Church of England and preserve its bishops and clergy, before kissing The Bible.

Then the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, James Pitt-Watson, took the Bible and presented it to The Queen again and said: “Our gracious Queen: to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the rule for the whole life and government of Christian princes, we present you with this book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is wisdom; This is the royal law; These are the lively oracles of God."

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