Feast of King Charles the Martyr


Today is celebrated by many Anglicans as the feast day of King Charles the Martyr – Charles I Stuart of England – who was beheaded on orders of the Puritan-controlled Parliament (called “Roundheads” for their short haircuts, in contrast to the long hair of the Royalist, and mostly Anglican, “Cavaliers”) on the 30th of January in 1649, a despicable act of regicide which amounted to the culminating act of the English Civil War, and began what is sometimes known as the Interregnum (period between kings), prior to the Restoration of the English Monarchy in the person of his son, Charles II, in 1660.

Charles was a controversial monarch, both politically and religiously, at a time when the two were very closely joined indeed. He reigned at a time when Parliament was dominated by Puritan Roundheads, and he defended the prerogatives of both the Established (Anglican) Church and the Crown against strong opposition. Though never a Roman Catholic, he had a “catholic” view of the Church, including the episcopate, and it was ultimately for this that he was unlawfully and unjustly executed by regicides acting under colour of Parliamentary decree, and is believed by many to have thus gained the martyrs’ crown.

Excerpts from an account of the King and Martyr, from the late Anglican hagiographer James Kiefer:

“A war which was, in one sense, about taxation, was in another sense about religion. The Parliamentary armies were led by Oliver Cromwell (a collateral descendant of Henry VIII’s advisor Thomas Cromwell), a staunch Puritan and a military genius. He began by opposing Charles in the name of liberty, but since it soon became clear that Cromwell himself was no friend to liberty, his battle cry became the Puritan faith. Wherever his troops went, they smashed stained-glass windows and pictures and statues, stabled their horses in churches, and burned vestments and Prayer Books… At the end, when Charles was Cromwell’s prisoner, he was required to assent to a law abolishing bishops in the Church of England. He had previously given his consent to such an abolition in Scotland, where the Puritans were in the majority, but here he dug in his heels and declared that Bishops were part of the Church as God had established it, and that he could not in conscience assent to Cromwell’s demand. His refusal sealed his doom, and it is for this that he is accounted a martyr, since he could have saved his life by giving in on this question. He was brought to trial before Parliament, found guilty of treason, and beheaded 30 January 1649.”

Charles was a keen defender of the Royal prerogatives, but he had a take on this which is perhaps worth hearing today:

“On the scaffold, he said (I quote from memory and may not have the exact words):

“No man in England is a better friend to liberty than myself, But I must tell you plainly that the liberty of subjects consists not in having a hand in the government, but in having that government, and those laws, whereby their lives and their goods may be most their own.”

“That is to say, one may reasonably ask of a government that it establish justice in the land; so that judges do not take bribes, so that innocent men are not convicted of crimes, while the guilty are convicted and punished, so that honest men need fear neither robbers nor the sheriff. One may further ask that taxes be not excessive, and that punishments be not disproportionate to the crime. Charles would have said, “Do not ask whether the laws were made by men whom you elected. Ask whether they are reasonable and good laws, upholding justice and the public weal.” He would have invited comparison of his record in this respect with that of the Long Parliament (which sat for twenty years without an election, and whose members came to think of themselves as rulers for life, accountable to no one) and Cromwell (who eventually dissolved Parliament and ruled as a military dictator, under whose rule the ordinary Englishman had far less liberty than under Charles).”

Blessed Charles, King and Martyr, pray for us to the Father! Amen.


Queen’s Guard tradition is axed over fear of terror attack | Daily Mail Online

Thames Valley Police have told the army to change the timetable for the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle due to security fears. The famous tradition will take place three times a week.

Source: Queen’s guard tradition is axed over fear of terror attack | Daily Mail Online

Now, this is really sad. Let’s let the terrorists win, why don’t we…? Have we forgotten that the point of terrorism is terror – generating fear in one’s enemy – and using that fear to induce changes in their actions? This is handing them a victory on a silver platter!

Leaving aside the fact that this is the changing of the Royal Guard… talk about irony! How are they the Royal Guard, protecting the Monarch, if they can’t even protect themselves? If those pretty L85A2s are there just for show, maybe they should switch back to Lee-Enfields? Or maybe Brown Besses?

I’m all for ceremonial functions, in fact I love “pomp and circumstance.” And nobody does ceremony like the Brits! But having to change the Changing of the Guard to guard the Guard rubs me the wrong way. Change traffic patterns, if need be; install moveable roadblocks for the times when they are marching through the streets. And by all means have actual armed personnel standing watch over the proceedings. But keep the tradition!

‘The Church of England is dying’, warns former Queen’s Chaplain

“I’m not sure I see much point in a church that just wants to be accepted as a sort of not too irritating chaplain to a secular and hedonistic culture.”

Source: ‘The Church of England is dying’, warns former Queen’s Chaplain – The Conservative Woman

“The monarchy faces difficulties as it prepares for the coronation of Prince Charles at the sad moment when our present Queen dies. Secularism will try to rubbish the highly potent Christian content of the coronation; and Islam is likely to claim that it wants to be recognised within it in some way… So we face a struggle for the integrity of Christianity provoked by the issues that a Christian coronation ceremony brings up in a so-called multicultural Britain. I can see why the monarchy’s advisers are anxious about how to play the future. In my view you gain nothing by watering down Christianity. It’s wrong in principle and foolish in practice. It’s like paying Danegeld—and look what that achieved.”

O, how the mighty have fallen! He is right, of course. I can think of a whole list of Kings and Archbishops of Canterbury who must be looking down from heaven with dismay, by this time…

Still, God is in charge of history, and his time is not our time – “My ways are not your ways, nor your thoughts, my thoughts, saith the Lord.” The Iberian Peninsula was a Muslim caliphate for 700 years before the final success of the Reconquista. I may not live to see Britain and Europe restored, if they fall the rest of the way down the slope they’re sliding down currently, but I can hope and pray that it will happen, someday!

Donald Trump announces state visit to Britain later this year | The Independent


Donald Trump will make an official state visit to Britain later in 2017, it has been announced. Theresa May invited Mr Trump on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. The Prime Minister is currently in Washington DC meeting Mr Trump; the first foreign leader to make the visit since the US inauguration.

Source: Donald Trump announces state visit to Britain later this year | The Independent

Ms May and Mr Trump made the announcement at a joint press conference in the White House.

“I have today been able to convey Her Majesty the Queen’s hope that President Trump and the First Lady would pay a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year,” Ms May said. “I’m delighted he’s accepted that invitation.”

She said her visit to the US and Mr Trump’s was emblematic of the “special relationship” between the US and UK.

Talking to Foreign Fighters: Insights into the Motivations for Hijrah to Syria and Iraq

(2016). Talking to Foreign Fighters: Insights into the Motivations for Hijrah to Syria and Iraq. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1080/1057610X.2016.1274216

Source: Talking to Foreign Fighters: Insights into the Motivations for Hijrah to Syria and Iraq: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism: Vol 0, No 0

I try to avoid contemporary politics in this blog, as much as possible, but there are times when it’s unavoidable. We are, after all, at war, whether we like to admit that or not. And if we in the West, on both sides of the Atlantic, are going to be engaging in an ongoing war against radical Islamic militants for the foreseeable future – as appears likely – then it would help to know precisely what it is we’re fighting, and why.

The dominant narrative on the subject, that jihadists “appear to be mainly marginalized individuals with limited economic and social prospects, who are experiencing various kinds of frustration in their lives,” is belied by interviews with the fighters themselves, as this study makes clear:

“Little of the discussion of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq is informed by primary data derived from talking with the foreign fighters. This article reports some initial findings from interviews with twenty foreign fighters in Syria. The findings are compared with three other recent studies of European foreign fighters, and aspiring fighters, based on some primary data. While those studies emphasize the role of low social and economic prospects in motivating the choice to go, this study found little evidence of such factors, and alternatively argues more attention should be given to existential concerns and the role of religiosity…

“In the twenty interviews analyzed no one indicated, directly or indirectly, that forms of socioeconomic marginalization played a significant role in their motivation to become a foreign fighter. Moreover, the interactions with these individuals were so heavily mediated by religious discourse it seems implausible to suggest that religiosity (i.e., a sincere religious commitment, no matter how ill-informed or unorthodox) is not a primary motivator for their actions. Religion provides the dominant frame these foreign fighters use to interpret almost every aspect of their lives, and this reality should be given due interpretive weight.”

I have commented before that while by no means all – or most, or even, considering the numbers, many – Muslims are terrorists (but even as little as 1% of 1.6 billion is still a lot of actual or potential terrorists), that does not mean that Islam itself is benign. As one commentator pointed out, it is certainly not the case that most Muslims are trying to destroy Western civilization, but it is nonetheless the case that most of those who are trying to destroy Western civilization are Muslims.

There is something about it that seems to inspire this sort of thing, in a way that Christianity, Judaism, or other major world religions does not. That “something” may have a lot to do with the nature of the Prophet of Islam, and how he and his successors spread the religion: through violent conquest and subjugation. This example continues to be highly influential, even today. In centuries past, Britain, France, and other European nations saw this clearly, and took steps to defend themselves, and what used to be called “European Christendom.” Now, there is reluctance even to mention such things, for fear of being accused of racism, xenophobia, or the like.

Political correctness notwithstanding, however, we ignore these truths – both historical and contemporary – at our peril, in my opinion.

Words of wisdom… whether or not from C.S. Lewis!

See this Instagram photo by @thesoutherninstitute • 14k likes

Source: Jenny Yarbrough on Instagram

It seems that these words are not attributable to the great C.S. Lewis, after all, but they are excellent words, nonetheless, and very much in his spirit! Highly apropos, given our current political situation here in the U.S., too.

The insurgency against democracy | MelaniePhillips.com

Source: The insurgency against democracy | MelaniePhillips.com

More on the rather hysterical and disproportionate opposition to our new President:

President Donald Trump was brought to power by a cultural counter-revolution: a revolt by millions of Americans against a liberal progressive consensus and the establishment that embodied it.

Those who voted for him want him to overturn that consensus. He promised to do so. In his inaugural address he told them he would keep his word; he would take power away from that establishment and give it back to the people. What we are now seeing, on the streets of America and in its media, is an all-out attempt to stop him.

There are many anxieties to be had about President Trump. There are legitimate concerns about his character and temperament, his volatility and inconsistencies. Nevertheless, the opposition to him being mounted should alarm us more. [emphasis added]

For in deeming Donald Trump to be unfit to hold public office, in twisting and distorting what he says and does and then turning him into a vile monster on the basis of those distortions and in accusing him of fascism and Nazism and racism and every other form of evil, his opponents are setting themselves against the very democratic system they supposedly want to defend and are themselves unleashing the hatred and violence they affect to despise.

Precisely so. But then, the Left has generally tended to be tone-deaf to irony, hypocrisy, and double-standards…

The Brexit/Trump effect | MelaniePhillips.com

Source: The Brexit/Trump effect | MelaniePhillips.com

The British Prime Minister Delivers Her Brexit Speech
Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her Brexit speech of 17 January 2017.

I have neither posted on this blog regarding the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, nor updated the Brexit situation recently – let this stand for both!

On Brexit:

Last June’s Brexit vote to leave the EU triggered unstoppable rage amongst those who wanted Britain to remain. For months they issued bloodcurdling warnings about “hard Brexit” – leaving the EU’s single market which they claimed would produce an economic apocalypse. Yet this week the prime minister, Theresa May, suddenly came out for precisely that.

Remaining in the single market, she said, was simply incompatible with leaving the EU. And she issued a not-so-veiled threat that if the EU tried to punish Britain for leaving, the UK would block EU access to its economic supply chains, the City of London financial center and even British intelligence.

This speech provoked apoplexy among both Remainers and European leaders, who furiously denounced what they claimed were unwarranted and destructive threats. But for months the EU has been threatening Britain that it will punish it severely for Brexit. All Mrs. May has now done is state that Britain will defend itself against such aggression.

There is a great difference between making a threat and defending yourself against an aggressor who is threatening you. The first is reprehensible, the second essential. Mrs. May’s threat to hit back hard was intended as a deterrent to defend her country’s interests.

On President Trump:

The incoming president has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign of vilification. His remarks, which have sometimes been truly off-color and often inconsistent, have nevertheless been twisted to turn him from someone about whom one might reasonably have anxieties into a monster.

This onslaught culminated in BuzzFeed’s dossier of character assassination against him, which it published even though its editor-in-chief Ben Smith admitted that it “contained errors” and there was “serious reason to doubt the allegations.”

At his first press conference Mr. Trump denounced CNN, which had run with the dossier, for producing “fake news” – the very charge leveled by the Left against his own supporters. Since publishing this dossier was clearly a journalistic travesty, Mr. Trump turned the Left’s weapon into a boomerang and thus rendered it worse than useless.

Among the media and anti-Trump commentators, this provoked outrage. There was no acknowledgment of the wholesale breach of journalistic ethics by a hostile and biased media. Instead, Mr. Trump was said to be riding roughshod over democracy. But he was just fighting back against the media’s abuse of its power. This was in fact a moral response. People doing bad things need to be held to account in order to stop them doing more bad things.

The distinction between aggression and self-defense, however, is simply not understood by the post-moral Left. But Mr. Trump’s strategy of hitting back very hard against aggression suggests a crucial change for the better in the way America will deal with the world.

‘Nuff said.

William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645 | For All the Saints

Elevated to the see of Canterbury in 1633, William Laud had already been King Charles’ principal ecclesiastical adviser for several years…

Source: William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645 | For All the Saints

“Laud’s reputation remains controversial to this day. Honored as a martyr and condemned as an intolerant bigot, he was compassionate in his defense of the rights of the common people against the landowners. He was honest, devout, loyal to the king and to the rights and privileges of the Church of England. He tried to reform and protect the Church in accordance with his convictions – though these attempts at reform were marred by his treatment of those who strenuously disagreed with him theologically and liturgically. In many ways he was out of step with the views of the majority of his countrymen, especially in his espousal of royal Stuart views of the ‘Divine Rights of Kings.’ The historian Nicholas Tyacke rates Laud as one of the greatest of the Archbishops of Canterbury, not giving him complete approval, but recognizing that his contribution to the future of the English Church was of major importance.”

Putin congratulates Russians on Christmas

The Russian president noted the huge and unique role of the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations in reviving high moral values and preserving rich historic and cultural heritage

Source: TASS: Society & Culture – Putin congratulates Russians on Christmas

Wishing all our Eastern Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters, in Russia and elsewhere, a holy and blessed Feast of the Nativity!

And may I also express my fervent wish that the political and other elites of the Western world – in both Europe and America – placed a similarly high priority of “reviving high moral values and preserving rich historic and cultural heritage.”