Celebrants of death at the Cenotaph

How much longer will the cross be allowed as a symbol? 

The inclusion of ‘[s]even more faith and belief groups’, including humanists, ‘to be permanently represented during the National Remembrance Service from this year’  will no doubt be seen as characteristic of the Government’s emphasis on inclusivity, but in reality it will be exclusive of Christianity and of religion itself.

The inclusion of various non-Christian religions will help to better represent all those who died in the conflicts, and even though their religious views differ from Christian beliefs their inclusion will highlight the idea of putting aside such differences in order to remember the dead. However, including a humanist representative is not inclusive but divisive, since they themselves acknowledge that their aim is to eliminate religion from the public square. They do not represent ‘just another kind of religion’ but anti-religion, in particular anti-Christianity, and their campaigns betray  an obsession with ridding society of all Judeo-Christian influence by reversing Biblical injunctions - to permit what the Bible forbids and forbid what it permits, in effect turning the Bible upside down, inside out and back to front.

Their answer to the most intractable of human problems, suffering, is not to put faith in a higher power but to ‘solve’ the world's problems with the oldest panacea for the problems of life – death. Their answer to human weakness is abortion, euthanasia, or the prevention of life with birth control and sterilisation. They of course insist that they support these measures as human freedoms which should become human rights, but it is clear that it is overwhelmingly the weak and excluded who will ‘benefit’ from these ‘rights’. On closer inspection, their new utopia of human freedom turns out to be nothing more than the old law of the jungle – the survival of the fittest.

No wonder they would eliminate the Ten Commandments, which defend the dignity of even the poorest human beings above the love of possessions, and the celebration of the Christian Nativity, which requires the strong to bow down to the weak. It was German race-inspired worship of strength that led to two World Wars, and on this centenary service of sacrifice, with all its Judeo-Christian resonance, it is incredible and tragic that a Conservative government should have invited the self-declared foes of that idea - who would prefer to sacrifice the weak to the strong - to stand at the Cenotaph with those whose religious beliefs they see as an evil influence that should be eradicated, but which is the only belief system that can make sense of suffering. 

Perhaps next year they will invite the Prince of Darkness to stand alongside the old soldiers as representing ‘just another belief system’.    

At the Cenotaph

By Siegfried Sassoon

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
'Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men's biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.'
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).


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