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King Charles III, like his mother before him, has religious responsibilities in addition to secular ones. As “Defender of the Faith” and “Supreme Governor of the Church of England,” he will help lead his country’s most prominent faith group.
Also like Queen Elizabeth II, the new king plans to undertake his formal religious duties with authentic care and concern. In his first address to Great Britain, he spoke about how his personal faith has informed his approach to leadership, as the Christian Post reported.
“King Charles said that his faith was ‘deeply rooted’ in the Church of England and that it had taught him to ‘cherish a sense of duty to others,’” the article said.
In the hours after her death on Sept. 8, several royalty experts and news outlets, including the Deseret News, highlighted similar remarks Queen Elizabeth II made about her faith in the past.
“Her trust in God and profound love for God was foundational in how she led her life — hour by hour, day by day. In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and — through patient, humble, selfless service — share it as a gift to others,” said the Rev. Justin Welby, senior bishop in the Church of England, in a statement about Queen Elizabeth II.
What makes King Charles III’s relationship to religion distinct is that he’s spoken repeatedly in the past about his desire to “defend” more than just the Church of England, according to The Guardian.
“In 1994, Charles triggered controversy when he said he would be defender of faith rather than Defender of the Faith, in a desire to reflect Britain’s religious diversity,” the article said, noting that he attempted to clarify those statements in a BBC interview in 2015.
“I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country. And it’s always seemed to me that, while at the same time being Defender of the Faith, you can also be protector of faiths,” he said during that 2015 interview.
To be sure, Queen Elizabeth II accepted and even embraced the country’s religious diversity, but it was partly at her son’s urging, said Ian Bradley, the emeritus professor of cultural and spiritual history at the University of St. Andrews, to The Guardian. Now, King Charles III will have an opportunity to fully control the royal family’s faith-related messaging.
“Most people would agree that Charles should champion the right to religious belief and practice of all his subjects, not just that of the dwindling number of people in the pews of Anglican churches,” The Guardian reported.
Fresh off the press
This religious school will not have to recognize an LGBTQ club (for now.) Here’s why
How religion shaped BYU and Baylor’s football programs
Queen Elizabeth II’s religious legacy
Religious freedom’s role in the Senate’s same-sex marriage debate
Why Aaron Rodgers recently found a Book of Mormon in his locker
Term of the week: Raizals
The Raizals are members of an Afro-Caribbean ethnic group based on a group of islands in the western Caribbean. Most speak English and identify as Protestant Christians.
The Associated Press wrote about the Raizals last week in an article about one of their most historic churches: First Baptist Church on San Andres. It’s been a key part of life on the island since the 19th century.
“The church is so crucial to the history of the Colombian island of San Andres that detailed record of births and deaths are kept here in crumbling books that date back nearly two centuries,” the article said.
What I’m reading...
Amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Religion News Service wrote about Samaritan’s Purse, a faith-based nonprofit that’s helped around 5 million Ukrainians access food, water and medical care in recent months. The organization is “a powerhouse of faith-based international relief,” but it’s also quite polarizing, due to its president’s ties to former President Donald Trump, as the article noted.
I have a weird habit of flinching every time I hear the word “cult.” It’s because I know many religion scholars frown upon its use, while also knowing that people aren’t going to stop using it anytime soon. The latest edition of ReligionLink, a resource guide for religion reporters, is perfect for me because it explores the tension surrounding the “cult” label.
I couldn’t resist clicking on this New York Times headline and really enjoyed the lovely reflection: “What we pray for when we pray for our children.”
Odds and ends
I did a radio interview about religion and Queen Elizabeth II’s reign with KSL on Friday. A recording of the segment is available online.
Do I have any “Cougar Tail” fans among my readers? I had fun writing about ESPN’s segment on the famous treat during its broadcast of the BYU-Baylor game.