Prince Charles @ the DMZ
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales stopped by Ryerson on May 22 to visit the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University. I am not a Monarchist, nor am I an abolitionist, but I did walk down to see if I could get a photo or two of the Prince. The best shot I was able to obtain is the one below, with Dalton McGuinty, the current Premier of Ontario.
The Divine Right of Kings, of course, has biblical origins, which is reason enough to suspect the doctrine, and yet Canadian currency still bears the mark of this doctrine. Flip over a Canadian coin and you will see “D.G. Regina” which is short for “Dei Gratia Regina”, or By the Grace of God, Queen. Surely, it’s about time we discarded references to this oppressive philosophy. The royal family is now a parody of itself, so we should ditch the glorious references on our money.
I can’t help but feel that with the advent of 24 hour media coverage, the internet, social media, and tabloid journalism, that the royal family has been reduced to the same level as C-list celebrities, like the Kardashians. Once the monarchy became merely figure heads, it was a slow decline into gossip, culminating in the circus that surrounded Diana, her divorce, and her death in a car wreck at the hands of an intoxicated chauffeur.
I couldn’t have been less interested in the state of their marriage. I didn’t learn of her death until the next day, after having heard that many people stayed up late into the night watching the news to get the details as they leaked out. I had a restful night’s sleep. That’s not to say that I was happy about her death. But, I was disinterested in her life, and I thought that the world’s obsession with her bordered on the pathological. It’s a tragedy when a child loses a parent prematurely, and that was the real issue for me. I felt the same way when Michael Jackson died. I was never a fan, but the one thing that saddened me was the loss to his children.
I have to admit that I do find Prince Philip to be entertaining. He is known for off-colour comments, some of which border on the racist. Still, it’s difficult not to laugh at some of them, such as:
After being told that Madonna was singing the Die Another Day theme in 2002: “Are we going to need ear plugs?”
At a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965, he said: “Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’”
His description of Beijing, during a visit there in 1986: “Ghastly.”
To a British trekker in Papua New Guinea, 1998: “You managed not to get eaten then?”
“I’d like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” 1967.
The above were extracted from a list of 90 remarks to celebrate his 90th birthday.
And then, there is my favourite Prince Charles quote: ”Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?” At least he was honest about it.
On the other hand, I find that the Prince’s praise of Islam to be problematic and misguided. In June 2010, Prince Charles, speaking at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, urged the people of the world to adopt Islamic spiritual principles to protect the environment. He suggested “that man’s destruction of the world was contrary to the scriptures of all religions – but particularly those of Islam.” (source)
Freethoughtnation.com published an interesting reply. Here is part of the article:
What Islamic “spiritual principles,” Charles? The ones embodied in the Koran and other Islamic texts that say Jews are “apes and pigs” who should be hunted down and slaughtered? Or the Koranic verses that dictate all non-Muslims must be murdered or that otherwise incite Muslim followers to violence? Or how about the Koranic scriptures and commentaries that say women are worth one-half or less then men, that men are their superiors and essentially own them as property?
How does any of this hateful rubbish constitute Islamic respect for the “intricately balanced web of life around us?” Have you ever seen the practices of Islamic animal slaughter or read the derogatory Islamist remarks about dogs and other animals? While the West can barely get a handle on animal abuse, at least it tries, but you can bet animal abuse is far more rampant in many if not most Muslim countries. (source)
The Prince’s interest in Islam is not new, of course. He is a follower of the writings of Islamic poet Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi. Back in 2007, during a visit to Turkey, where he visited Rumi’s grave, Charles gave yet another speech on the importance of Islam. It’s not surprising that some commentators argue that Charles is considering a conversion to Islam. Others claim that he already has converted, although that has been denied repeatedly. I don’t think there is any reason to suspect that he will convert. After all, he will soon be head of the Church of England. I do find it troubling that he is actively promoting religion of any variety.
I find it curious when any intelligent person advocates for a particular religion. In my mind, religion has always been a destructive force. It continues as such in the 21st century. The world’s leaders should be advocating for a purely secular society, and not supporting a belief system that is intolerant to others simply by its very existence.