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St. George has nothing to do with religion

It may sound like an odd thing to claim that a ‘saint’ has nothing to do with religion but in the case of St. George, that is quite a reasonable thing to say. Thus when the politically correct functionaries of the Church of England start floating the idea of replacing St. George with St. Alban as the patron saint of England, I would have to say that the Church of England are flattering themselves if they think it is actually up to them. Dating from the reign of Edward III, a certain conception of St. George has been part of English iconography considerably longer that there has been a Church of England and I suspect the association of this mythic dragon-slayer with ‘Englishness’ will outlive England’s established church comfortably.

In a post-Christian society like England, St. George, who may or may not have been a Roman general, is really just a cultural construct that embodies certain mythic values ascribed to England. And that is, of course, why the emasculated appeasers who make up the leadership of the Church of England really want to replace the mythic warrior St. George:

But the Church of England is considering rejecting England’s patron saint St. George on the grounds that his image is too warlike and may offend Muslims.

And given that Britain is fighting two wars at the moment in Iraq and Afghanistan, against an enemy who are Muslims, I can think of nothing better to commend St. George to a nation which may feel the need to summon the fortitude of warlike archetypes more than it needs an irrelevent and collapsing Church.

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37 comments to St. George has nothing to do with religion

  • permanent expat

    Sorry, Perry…………….three wars. There’s a battleground just outside your front door….& you know I’m not joking.

  • permanent expat

    Rowan………..is that not the tree which flutters & shakes at the smallest breath of wind?

  • The slow motion trainwreck of the C of E is appalling to behold. And I speak as a Roman Catholic!

    Christianity is not a pacifist religion, and not offending Muslims by a vigorous assertion of Christianity is not a religious obligation for Christians.

    St. George will always be the patron saint of England, as long as there is an England. There was an England, a Christian England, before there was an established C of E. There will be an England after the current C of E is gone — and I for one hope that England is only temporarily “post-Christian”. Historically, these things wax and wane. Straight-line predictions are usually wrong. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

  • Does anyone know the procedure for removal of an archbishop of the CofE?

    Best regards

  • My ancestral homeland is withering into irrelevancy and many of her inhabitants are helping the process along! O Britannia! Where have you gone?

  • J

    I can’t decide what’s worse – that some bored bishop suggested this idea to get himself some attention and position within the CofE political machine, or that the Daily Mail bothered to cover it – or that samizdata then bothered to cover the Mail’s coverage.

    I don’t think this is any different than backbench MPs tabling doomed early day motions for daft laws, just to get some attention, or a headline, or some material for their constituency newsletter.

  • Jim

    “on the grounds that his image is too warlike and may offend Muslims.”

    Says the Daily Mail, without a supporting quote. Of course, the Mail tends to say things because they may offend Muslims and in order to get their more dull-witted readers frothing at the mouth over ‘dhimmitude’ and the like.

  • Millie Woods

    Jim, are you by any chance on Toronto’s Police Commission or do you work on their press releases like the one from the Chief of Police after seventeen Muslim terrorist suspects were arrested. I quote – They are a perfect cross section of society – some employed, some unemployed, etc. etc. – except they had names like Ahmed and Mohammed and were all Muslim – hardly an exemplary cross-section!
    To the best of my knowledge no other religion has a bunch of ardent groupies working on the best route from Toronto to Ottawa so that they can busy themselves on beheading the Prime Minister, one of their expressed objectives. The others were less gruesome but equally disruptive and disturbing for the society they had chosen as their home.
    Perhaps if that cross section of society just like all others dontcha know would let up on beheadings, murdering innocent public transport users, indulging in crime everywhere they find themselves in minority positions in Europe and Asia, the Daily Mail would tone down its invective and get unqualified approval from all the bien pensants like you.

  • guy herbert

    Though unlike Jim, I suspect the more dimwitted readers of the Mail have never heard the phrase dhimmitude, and guess it is the more monomaniacal columnists one has to worry about, I think it’s worth pointing out that the legendary Cappadocian has also managed to get himself a sainthood in the Islamic tradition in Syria.

    Unless the soft Church of England (pleonastic, I know) worthies concerned are minded to get rid of the Cross of St George and the embarrassing “Church” bit of their organisation while they are at it, I’m sure most Muslims are going to care (or notice) either way. The ones who might be offended by the existence of a St George are too busy being offended by everything else in the world.

  • The first thing that should be done to bring Christianity up to date is to get rid of that embarrassing Old Testament. Such violence! Why it reminds one of … the Koran.

  • permanent expat

    So it’s ‘God for Tony, England & St. George’ as our dear leader seems intent on sending more of our punching-above-their-weight-miserably-equipped-squaddies to history’s tradional killing grounds. Hopefully with a good sun-blocker, serviceable flip-flops and a competent mechanic for the rescue chopper. Yes, Patrick, what has it come to.

  • Neal

    The Cross of St George is encoded on the Union Jack. Replacing St G. with St A. would either require changing the flag (not bloody likely) or retaining the flag and thus retaining the legacy.

    Plus, you would need to remove all of those charming pub signs and whatnot.

    These blokes are starkers if they think they’ll successfully induce collective amnesia.

  • Maybe Spain would be willing to share St. James the Moor-Slayer. St. Louis went on two crusades, although he was not very successful as a general. How about St. Casilda, a Muslim convert? Or any one of the 48 Martyrs of Córdoba?

  • permanent expat

    I am distraught….and, forgive me….off-thread. I have been glancing at football (I hate games) and, while cheering for the land of my peaceful & happy retirement was horrified to see the fleur-de-lis ascendant 1-0 by a penalty which victory, while short on ‘la gloire’, takes them to Berlin. The bacalhau has gone a bit cold.

  • The Killer from da heaven

    u r ill
    that can be seriuos
    stupid guys

    think !!!

    rip: ´che,lumumba and for all people who died 4 the freedom of their countries

  • Well, that’s put me to rights.

  • permanent expat

    ……………and despite being often told that the moderators at Samizdata have lives & wives in hives to which they must devote their valuable minutes, I think I’ve been severely smitten (again) for intimating that Helmand isn’t Southend no matter how much sunblocker a generous gumment has supplied.
    Editor: Yes, I know, I know.

  • Chris Harper

    The crescent, as the symbol of Islam, was originally the symbol of Christian Constantinople. It was adopted by the Islamic conquerors following the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and has been flown ever since in celebration of the destruction of their ancient enemy.

    I find the continued use of the crescent by Islam to be a statement of warlike intent and as such is threatening, intimidating and offensive. Do you think they will stop using it at my request?

    Or am I being unsufficiently culturally sensitive?

  • St Alban’s flag isn’t going to be practical anyway, as it’s a blue flag with a yellow saltire. Get people waving that about in an artificially-lit environment (say, a stadium) then everyone’s going to wonder at Scotland’s massively increased fan base.

    Robert, Christianity did ‘get rid of’ the Old Testament. That’s what the New Testament is for.

  • Cry God for Harry, England and St Alban? It doesn’t work. Sorry.

  • And Criossants came about after the defeat of the Islamic hordes at the gates of Vienna. I wonder what food item will be invited to celebrate their defeat next time around?

    I have to tell you I am well truly glad that St George is offensive to Muslims. Might remind them of a time when England and Europe was not so sycophantic to Islam and its aggressive nature.

  • Chris Harper

    “I am well truly glad that St George is offensive to Muslims”


    I very much doubt that St George is offensive to muslims in general. I gather that this is just a pre-emptive surrender on the part of those who are terrified of espousing a belief system of their own.

    In my experience muslims tend to laugh just as hard as the rest of us at those councils who seek to rename Christmas in order to avoid causing offense.

  • andrew duffin

    Forza Perry!

    And you might have pointed out that the CofE historically didn’t “do” saints at all: saints are a Roman Catholic thing.

    So meddling in this matter is absolutely none of their damn business.

  • guy herbert

    Get people waving that about in an artificially-lit environment (say, a stadium) then everyone’s going to wonder at Scotland’s massively increased fan base.

    Maybe that’s the real plan behind all this. It is part of the masterplan for a Scots takeover.

    Either that or a cunning plan for further humiliation of England by Portugal (patron saint: St George).

  • Dubois

    Support Andrew Rosindell MP and his St. George’s Day Bill. (Link)

  • Charles

    I find this system of interchangeable saints most intrigueing. I seem to have been remiss in thinking that saints were permament and enduring. Apparently they must be replaced every couple hundred years or miles due to routine wear and tear. This schedule is probably accelerated without the proper maintence and an occasional lubing. I wonder if this extends to interchangeable messiahs or even dieties. We have seen it with dogma, so it is a possibility.

  • This would be funny,but for the odd way deranged ideas become reality in Blaisistan,it is not surprising that Archbishop Swampy finds this idea appealing.

    BTW The ignoramous who though Che died for his country should know Che was a psychopath wo delighted makiing other people die for their countries,he finally got his in somebody elses country.

  • Julian Taylor

    Ron Brick, “Archbishop Swampy” … v.good!

    Personally I favour the Wikipedia description of Saint George as …

    ” the patron saint of several countries and cities, including England, Georgia and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organisations and disease sufferers.”

    I do of course hope that Canterbury will pray to St George for deliverance from his current afflications of mustnotoffendislamotitis and saddamisaniceguyphilia. Perhaps Dr Williams might follow up this politically correct codswallop with a formal apology on behalf of the Anglican Church for the 1534 Act of Supremacy to Rome or, to go back further, might a formal grovelling apology to the French for invading their country and killing Joan of Arc be in order too?

  • adrian

    OK, so a patron saint is just a cultural construct that embobies mythical values but St George is still a saint and the mythical values he embodies are undeniably religious and Christian. If anything, the growing enthusiasm for this particular cultural construct should make you re-consider your assumption that England can be described as “post-Christian”.

    Re: Chris Harper’s comment about the Islam’s use of the crescent symbol
    Love it. Brilliant.

  • fFreddy

    I was in Genoa the other day, which also has the cross of St George in its coat of arms. According to the locals, the reason that it is our national flag is that, when English ships first started trading in the Mediterranean, they had a bad time with Arab pirates. The Doge of Genoa had one of the biggest navies around at the time, so English ships flew his colours to keep the pirates away.
    No idea if it is true…

  • should make you re-consider your assumption that England can be described as “post-Christian”.

    I take it you don’t live in England.

  • RK Jones

    Does anyone know the procedure for removal of an archbishop of the CofE?


    I’m fairly certain that all you have to do is ask “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Try and make it sound as though you are speaking rhetorically, or possibly to God. This should shield you against liability.


  • rosignol


    Good to have traditions, innit?

  • bowen

    The English did not kill Joan of Arch. The Catholick church did. The English could see no harm in her . Thank God that the English in later years woke up to those characters,and we eventually got , THE BILL OF RIGHTS,IN 1689.

  • The English did not kill Joan of Arch. The Catholick church did. The English could see no harm in her .

    You do not know what you are talking about.

    She was captured by Brugundian troops and handed over to the English. She was tried for heresy by Bishop Cauchon, who was under the control of John, Duke of Bedford. The ‘Catholic’ Church in the English and Burgundian controlled parts of France were part of the same power elite as the secular lords, not some entirely seperate power (much as the Pope might have liked that to have been the case) and the notion that the Church could have tried Joan of Arc on (very obviously) trumped up charges and in an English financed trial other than as part of quite secular English political machinations is absurd.

  • As the C of E “peters out” (pun accidentally stumbled upon but deliciously intended), I am happy to recommend a great saint to take George’s place:

    St. Thomas More!

    “The king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

    Patriotic, intelligent, capable of resisting the government when needed, having a conscience and courage unto death. A true hero saint for England.

    Dad tells me that when, as a lad, his family would tour a cathedral (in England of course), his (Catholic) mother would mutter to him under her breath: “Stolen property!” Yes, English Catholic recusants, suffered the penalties.

    My sibs have become ECUSA, and deny that the next king of England is on tape saying he wanted to be a tampon inside his mistress, and will be the next head of their church (ECUSA’s denials notwithstanding). Give me the guy in the white dress any day!

    Still, it’s their Angophilic snobbery taking priority in their faith life. While I share their distaste for bad Catholic modern hymnody, my distaste for bad theology spewed forth by breathy, dramatic lesbian priests is only temporarily subdued so I could attend their children’s Christmas pageants. Thank God they’re older now and I don’t have to go any more.

    They see being C of E as sort of being Catholic Lite, with better music, and most importantly keeping some of our Englishness alive, since the kids seem to be firmly American. (Some even like country music, ATVing, shooting guns, and a fashionably hique lifestyle! My Hyacinth Bucket-like mother would roll over in her grave.)

    I appreciate my English heritage, objectively and personally, but when we became US citizens we had to forswear loyalties to foreign royals and give up our titles of nobility (ha!). So, I am NOT the king’s good servant, and I AM God’s first!

    Still, being English Catholic in the USA is an interesting thing. Most Americans unconsciously misunderstand Catholicity as it is culturally expressed; so to be Catholic in America, you must be like those Irish American Catholics, or those Italian American Catholics, or those German American Catholics. Nope.

    Andrew Ian Dodge: thanks for the info about croissants. On the rare occasion that I have one, I shall relish it even more.

    High fives to Lexington Green!!!

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly most of the Church of England high ups would not know a national tradition if they fell over one.

    They do not know much about the value of religious tradition either – the centuries of tradition (the “strength of brand loyality” to put it into modern language) of such things as the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer were just tossed away.

    By the way I am an Anglican.