A US-based Hindu group says it’s time for the British monarch to drop the title ‘Defender of the Faith’, which has been used since the 1500s.
Britain is now a multi-religious, multi-denominational and pluralistic society and there is a substantial and growing number of non-believers, according to the Hindu group. For a monarch, all subjects should be equal, while titles like this seem to create a class structure and are very irrelevant in the 21st century, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed in Nevada (United States) said on Friday.
“Defender of the Faith” was one of the subsidiary titles of English and later British monarchs when granted on October 11, 1521 by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII. After King Henry broke with Rome in 1530 and established himself as head of the Church of England, the title was revoked by Pope Paul III. However, in 1543, the Parliament of England conferred the title of “Defender of the Faith” on King Henry VIII and his successors, now defenders of the Anglican faith, of which they (with the exception of the Catholic Mary I) remain supreme governors, Wikipedia notes.
Moreover, according to Zed, the British monarchy should not have the mission of defending the faith. “If some still thought it was necessary to uphold the faith, that should be left to individual religions, denominations and organizations of non-believers,” said Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.
In Zed’s view, if King Charles III sincerely believed that all belief systems should be endorsed and protected in an inclusive society, he should invite and give equal time at his coronation to various religions and denominations to say prayers and conduct sacred rituals, as well as to non-believers to say appropriate greetings.
Zed further stated that while monarchs are fully entitled to their personal beliefs and religious practices, they should not proclaim their religious preferences in the public domain and promote one denomination over others or grant preferential treatment or privileges. unjust. “Charles III is king of all subjects, believers and non-believers,” Zed said.
“If the monarch declares a public allegiance to a denomination, does he not send a signal that subjects who do not belong to that denomination are less than full citizens or half-citizens?” Rajan Zed asked.
Zed argued, “We are no longer in the 1500s. The religious landscape would be dramatically different right now: the number of people ‘without religion’ is increasing, the number of worshipers is decreasing, and many religious buildings are out of service. If the monarchy is to remain relevant in today’s multi-religious and non-believing society, it must evolve with the times and reflect the aspirations of all subjects.
Every citizen’s faith or non-belief or spirituality is equally valuable and relevant, and the monarchy must respect that, Rajan Zed stressed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Reverend Justin Welby, who is familiar with the religious landscape of the UK and the Commonwealth, should advise King Charles on this issue accordingly, Zed suggested, adding that the term “defender of the faith” should be taken out of use.
British and Commonwealth Hindus are a hard-working, harmonious and peaceful community and have made many contributions to their nations and society and continue to do so. They wished King Charles III the best and offered him their wholehearted support as he begins his journey as king, Zed said.