Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Day: Lest God be expunged

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
Australian War Memorial


Monday is Remembrance Day, the commemoration of the end of World War I, and as in so many areas, the subject of intensifying culture wars in Australia.

Traditions and traditions

One of the (very few) positive aspects of the post-modern outlook is its appreciation, in contrast to the culture of modernity, of traditions that link us to our past.  It the reason why the crowds at ANZAC Day and other such events are growing each year, not shrinking.

But it is not a change that comes without contest.

The Sunday night local ABC news in Canberra, for example, couldn't resist including a female academic spouting about how we had too many such events, and this one just wasn't significant.

The War Memorial and unknown soldier

Far more insidious though is the post-modern twisting of traditions so as to exclude God.

A classic example of this is the Australian War Memorial's recent attempt to remove the inscription 'Known Unto God' from the tomb of Australia's Unknown Soldier (brought back from Villers-Bretonneux by the Keating Government in 1993), with the inscription "We do not know this Australian's name, we never will".

Nothing wrong with the words themselves - in fact they come from a rather stirring eulogy given by the then Prime Minister (who is scheduled to give a Commemorative Address to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the re-internment tomorrow).

But why change things so as to exclude God?

According to (former Liberal Minister) Memorial Director Brendan Nelson, because the (now long dead) historian who originally conceived of the Australian War Memorial wanted it to be free of religious symbols.  Right.

Fortunately, the move was squashed in one of the few positive moves by the new Abbott Government to date, and compromise has found.

Lest we forget

This is a fight that we need to keep on fighting though.

So if you can, please do go Mass and pray for our war dead.

Remember them especially in your prayers at the 11th hour of the eleventh day, and pray for an end to all unjust wars in particular.

And do what you can to resist the efforts of those who want to strip away our Christian heritage.

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