Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Prince Charles in 'being an arse' shock

An eye-opening anecdote from Richard Dawkins:

A friend and colleague of mine was seconded into the civil service to head an important government agency, where his scientific expertise was put to good use. On one occasion, he met Prince Charles at a drinks party and the Prince promptly launched into an attack on his agency. The details don't matter here, it could have been homeopathy or GM crops or any of half a dozen bees in the Royal bonnet. The point is that my friend, as he is well qualified to do, mildly remonstrated along the lines of, "With respect, Sir, I think you'll find you are mistaken. The facts are . . ." Without another word, the Prince simply turned on his heel and walked away. An equerry immediately approached my colleague, a very distinguished scientist and Fellow of the Royal Society, and said, "One doesn't disagree with the Prince."


Dawkins also lays into Charles' notorious desire to be - if he ever becomes king - 'Defender of Faith', not 'Defender of the Faith'. I share his irritation for three reasons.

1. There is no logic in it. Why defend all 'faith'? Why defend Scientology and Islam and Buddhism and Christianity and paganism indiscriminately?
2. On the surface it's drippily wet and inclusive - as Dawkins says, who can doubt it's meant at least in part to 'reach out' to Muslims? - but in fact it elevates all 'faith believers' over non-believers. It posits more expressly than the old formulation that atheists don't need defending. Again - why not?
3. Like mooted plans to make prayers in Parliament 'multifaith', it proposes a change to our constitution without a proper understanding of the possible consequences and implications of doing so.

For more erudite analysis from a Christian perspective, espeically on point 3 above, see Cranmer here.

No comments: