If you haven’t heard the news, this weekend marks the Queen’s “Diamond Jubilee” here in the UK. If you’re not familiar with what that means, it’s a celebration of the 60th anniversary of her reign. On February 6, 1952 Princess Elizabeth consented to ascend to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II, and she was crowned the following year on June 2, 1953.
Sixty years. That’s a long time. Here are a few other things that have happened in the past sixty years:
-Mount Everest was climbed for the first time
-The first man was put into space
-The first man walked on the moon
-The Vietnam War
-Roe vs. Wade
-The Internet was born
-The Cold War
-The humane genome was mapped
-The USA has had eleven different presidents
It’s absolutely extraordinary that the Queen has been reigning for such a long time. If her reign continues for another four years, Her Majesty will officially be the longest reigning monarch in British history. Lord willing, she’ll make it. I’m now at a point where I can genuinely say, “God save the Queen.” From everything I’ve heard and seen, she seems like an absolutely incredible lady and a real anchor for the British people.
Participating in the Jubilee festivities has provoked a few thoughts in my mind. Here’s a rough teaser:
Although I’m not advocating America moves to any sort of monarchy in the near future, I think there is definitely some merit in having a monarchy. You see, in America the government is in a fairly constant state of flux. Although we do have certain senators who have been in office for decades, the average American politician risks losing his job every 4-6 years. In some ways, this is a very good thing – if a man or woman isn’t really doing his or her job, it’s nice to have the ability to replace him or her. It’s our way of keeping politicians accountable to do as they have sworn to do. However, with that being said, here is a potential perk of some sort of longer-running monarchy: When a person’s political office isn’t under constant threat, that person doesn’t have the constant pressure of pleasing his or her “voter base.” “But wait,” you say, “Isn’t that the whole point of a democracy?!? The elected officials enact laws that please the general public!” Yes, sort of. But the flip side of that means that our politician has no “anchor” to keep himself or herself grounded. Any personal moral or ethical beliefs our politician has to bow to the ever-changing opinion of the general public. Romans 13:3-4 says, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.
A perfect “ruler” or “politician” or “monarch” would have a perfectly biblical worldview and would perfectly understand and enforce God’s law for the good of all people. Because we are all rebellious sinners in need of mercy, the perfect ruler/politician/monarch does not exist. That is crucial to remember. However, if a ruler is meant to be “God’s servant for your good,” then we as citizens ought to have some measure of trust in our ruler. This is precisely where we tend to fall short: instead of trusting God’s appointing of our ruler and praying that the Lord would guide him and give him wisdom to make just and righteous laws, we tend to gripe and complain and then, in some sad state of resignation, we give up and look ahead towards the next election. We see our democracy as an opportunity to push what we think is best onto everyone else, instead of taking a step back and saying, “What would be best “for the good of all people?,” and then proceeding to elect politicians who have done the some and giving them some space to do their jobs.
I’m not sure how well I’ve expressed my thoughts here; I recognize that this is an incredibly complex subject and that as selfish sinners no perfect government can exist among us, but this past weekend has really opened my eyes to see the merits (and the flaws) in the different type of government. As I noted at the beginning, these are rough thoughts. I’m still in the middle of working through all of this (and probably will never fully finish that process), but it’s definitely interesting, and I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts!