Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Praying against...

Something has been niggling at the back of my mind for the last day or two. At the Area Council Eucharist on Monday night, the intercessor prayed "against the Mugabe regime". I didn't feel that was right somehow. It just sounded wrong. And then it came to me. I had heard something similar once before:
From John Betjeman's "A Lady's prayer in Westminster Abbey"

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans,
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be,
Don't let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.

JB was gently satirising the dominant cultural assumptions and the less pleasant unexamined ones of the upper/middle classes, even whilst agreeing with the rightness of their prayer that the evil Nazi regime be defeated. Now, I agree with the lady in Grangemouth's prayer that Comrade Ebagum and his gangster minions should be got out and that God might well lend a hand. I just wonder what other assumptions underlie the prayer. Are Africans unfit to govern themselves? Is Western democracy the only right way to run a country? Do we still hanker unconsciously for the return of Empire where we call the shots and impose our rules, virtues and sins on other parts of the globe?
Just musing!


  1. I thought the point was to remember situations/people and leave God to decide which way to go??

  2. Exactly! We may think we know the mind of God, but there is no guarantee. Put it in God's hands and leave to her!