Save the order of St Michael and St George
The brutal and unjustified killing of George Floyd by policemen in the US is an abhorrent and wicked act, which has caused the world to re-examine our attitudes towards racial equality and view everything through the lens of oppression.
Everywhere statues of those who profited from the slave trade are being torn down by angry mobs with no consideration for historical and cultural context These statues form part of our history, for better or worse and should not be arbitrarily removed thanks to a knee-jerk reaction.
As many predicted, the Black Lives Matter movement has not simply stopped at slave-traders and there are now calls to reinterpret and remove symbols of Christianity in case they cause potential offence.
The latest potential casualty is that of the Order of St Michael and St George - an honour given to ambassadors and diplomats in recognition of their distinguished service. Campaigners are claiming that this image, which depicts St Michael clad in white, standing on top of the devil who is black, is not only racist, but also reminiscent of the killing of George Floyd and so the medal should be redesigned and updated and an apology given for any offence caused.
The comparison to George Floyd is patently absurd and further inflames tensions. The epic battle between St Michael and Satan is a biblical reference and therefore should not be viewed in racial terms since neither entities are physical creatures and neither have bodies nor skin colour. The image is centuries old, represents a spiritual or metaphysical battle of good overcoming evil and has absolutely no connection with either racism or slavery.
The tradition of depicting good as white or light and evil as black or dark goes back as far as time itself and has been used in many ancient traditions, including the Chinese and Persians. Angels, such as St Michael, are typically described as wearing shining white robes and demons and figures from the underworld, always depicted in darkness or shadow. The same is true of modern cinematic tradition, such as the Stars Wars series in which the villains are referred to as the Dark Side and clothed in black.
We should not allow religious and cultural illiteracy to wipe out our country’s religious and cultural heritage and neither should we allow our faith traditions to be misappropriated and politicised by those with different agendas who wish to exploit the situation in order to suppress religious views they find offensive. This is a clear attempt by activists who wish to see how far they can go in terms of expunging Christianity from the public square.
Tearing down statues and reinterpreting images to find offence where none was intended may soothe the consciences of social justice warriors, but does nothing to address or overcome the very many problems of inequality, such as modern slavery, which still exist in many societies around the world.
Sign our petition and ask the Honours Committee not to succumb to religious illiteracy or cultural vandalism and keep the image of St Michael on the honour.
The Guardian: calls for redesign of royal honour over ‘offensive’ image
Archbishop Cramner: a racist royal honour or apocalyptic dualism?
Church Militant: Black Lives Matter wages war on Archangel Michael:
Sign this petition now!
Don't redesign the Order of St Michael & St George