I like Will and Kate - and Betsy's a good egg, too. For instance, in a recent (December 10, 2010) address to the General Synod of the Church of England, the good Queen Elizabeth II said something that endeared her to freethinkers everywhere forevermore: "In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the well-being and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and of none."
Unfortunately, this modest British nod to separation of religion from government was not present during the wedding vows exchanged by Prince William and Catherine 'Kate' Middleton. The gigantic wedding, held on April 29, 2011 at The Collegiate Church of St. Peter (Westminster Abbey) in London, was witnessed by tens of millions of commoners via television throughout the world. They heard the following religious references, courtesy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams: That the couple would "... live together according to God's law in the holy estate of matrimony." The exact nature of that law was not explained, nor did secularists learn what "holy estate" means. That was mild compared with the weird idea that came next - the blessing of a ring. Really. The high priest actually did a ring blessing, as follows: "Bless the Lord this ring. And grant that he who gives it and she who shall wear it may remain faithful to each other and abide in thy peace and favor and live together in love until their lives end through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
So, now the Princess has a magic ring. Aren't supernatural powers wonderful?
However, despite the magic ring and all the other folderol, the royals are like the rest of us homo sapiens - oxygen breathing, carbon-based, mildly alkaline life-forms who sleep/defecate/drink/pee/bathe and otherwise maintain the pH in their lungs and kidneys within the 7.35 to 7.45 range, the better to maintain homeostasis and avoid hospitals and graveyards. They all do the things we do, for better or worse, in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. But, we should not forget that even a "good monarchy" (excuse the oxymoron) is undemocratic, irrational and demeaning. Despite their likability, Britain's Will/Kate/Queen and the entire brood of privileged dukes and duchesses, princes and so on must end - and sooner would be preferred over later. Everyone - pay attention! This royalty business is ridiculous. The emperors are butt naked. The wedding is much taa taa about nothing! It's pure entertainment - and should be totally unrelated to government. The media saturation coverage is a great madness. To call it "frivolous nonsense," as did one writer in the St. Petersburg Times, is too kind. Jeff Brinckman nailed the entire business of royalty - saying it should have ended long ago: "No one has a divine right to anything. No one should by birth become a king, queen or prince. Monarchy has nothing to do with merit. A person with no particular talent has no right to be elevated to a royal position. The British throne is also institutionally sexist. The monarchy is not accountable, yet taxpayers in the United Kingdom must finance the royals' lavish lifestyles. The current royal family needs to be the last. The easiest way for that to happen is for Charles and others in line to simply abdicate."
Hear hear. Just so. In my official capacity as ... well, if I had an official capacity, I would declaim and even without one do hereby proclaim or rather politely ask the kind and thoughtful Harry and Kate to go ahead and have a royal time at public expense for a while, but soon thereafter to do a great service for Brits and democrats everywhere. Inform the British nation and the world that the time of monarchy has passed. Give us all a royal reverse post-wedding present - announce the abdication and graceful termination of thrones and all that is regarding concepts of royal blood.
As to Buckingham and all those palaces and coaches and cool crowns and robes, etc., well, all that can be turned into museums or sold off to lower the deficit.
They might bid adieu to royalty with the immortal words from the the memorable and revered film Casablanca: "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
Donald B. Ardell is the Well Infidel. He favors evidence over faith, reason over revelation and meaning and purpose over spirituality. His enthusiasm for reason, exuberance and liberty are reflected in his books (14), newsletter (573 editions of a weekly report) and lectures across North America and a dozen other countries. Write Don at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org