I love weddings. I’m onto about my hundred and fourtieth. I’ve actually lost count. But I won’t be watching the Pomp and Circumstance of the Royal Wedding. I wish Prince William well and can only hope Miss Middleton has the strength to deal with the horrible role she will aquire.
In the ancient hebrew culture, a newly married couple were shielded from public glare. They weren’t given any public or common responsibilities. The husband didn’t have to respond to military call ups for up to a year.
But this is not the reason why I won’t be watching tomorrow, although I think it very important that all newly weds be given space to grow into new relationships.
I have two reasons why I will be celebrating a Republican Day.
If I take my faith seriously, then there is no more slave or freedman. No distinction in dignity, no way that one by birth can have a higher place than another. It just can’t be. It offends my sense of equality and of dignity. I can’t believe that someone, without merit, can be groomed to lead a people and a country – having done nothing. Yes, we all like the Pomp and Circumstance and I’m sure the next couple of brides will be dressed in that dress, but somehow I’m worried about how this reflects on the type of society we are trying to build. Already, weddings have got out of hand. Now it won’t be the Jones, but the Middleton-Mountbatten-Windsors we will be keeping up with.
Or will we? The fairy tale of the dashing Prince and Cathedral wedding is beyond the reach of everybody except the richest. Most marriages won’t work because of the enormous stresses and pressures we put on individuals. Our collective cultural history undermines most marriages before they even begin by imposing modes of behaviour that are against the equality and dignity of this enormous self gift that is a sacramental Marriage. What are we modeling here?
My other reason is just as important, but maybe a bit more of my personal predjudice emerging. In South Africa under apartheid, marriage accross the Colour Bar (ie between a white person and anyone of another ‘race’) was legally forbidden. People were arrested, imprisoned, punished and separated if they even tried to contract a relationship that was not pure.
In Britain, a different Mixed Marriages act is in force. To this day, over a century after the emancipation of Catholics in the UK, the Royal Family is barred from marriage across a religious line. They cannot marry Catholics and maintain their position in succession.
What? I’m a South African. This stinks of an unjust law, a vestige of an era long lost, a remnant of a situation that destroys dignity by predjudice against another.
I think it’s about time the UK adopted a Bill of Rights.
So, I wish Prince William and Kate a blessed union, a sacramental gifting, a covenental giving and receiving. But I won’t be watching!