After watching the coronation of the king of Tonga, I've decided there is a branch of Christianity more deviant than Armstrongism, ancient or modern.
I'm a PC kind of guy, culturally sensitive to the reality of living in a multi-ethnic world where people of diverse backgrounds rub shoulders. But the bastardized display of European religion and Pacific heritage on display in Nuku'alofa was simply nauseating.
Sitting on a golden throne gifted by the People's Republic of China (!), the monarch received the rites of ascension from the Anglican archbishop of Polynesia, a middle aged man in drag.
According to Paul Johnson there are two ways Christendom sets forth to evangelize:
One is to evangelize the lowest and least privileged elements, capture their allegiance in huge numbers, and so work upward from the base... The second is to aim at the elite, or even at the individuals at the head of the elite, obtain recognition or adoption of the faith as a matter of state policy, and then work downwards, by authority, example or force (or all three).
Johnson, A History of Christianity, 410
Kings are crowned by men in dresses because their royal authority is thought to come from the fossilized Sky Father in Heaven. Resist Lord Muck and you're fighting God. Citizens therefore need to know their place and keep to it. The people of Tonga had to riot in the streets last year to make their call for democracy heard.
These days most of us have no illusions about the divine rights of Europe's chinless aristocracy. Kings, along with presidents and prime ministers, serve at the will of the people; which is why lobbiests invest in PR firms rather than prayers.
Whether Mitre-Man Jabez Bryce was conflicted by the anachronism isn't known, but the archbishop trotted out the full paraphernalia in a cringing rip-off of European privilege: antiquated language, silly hat, oil of anointing. The choir even sang Zadok the Priest.
The fisherfolk who accompanied Jesus would have laughed themselves silly.
The good news is that just hours before the festivities, George Tupou V (known to his buddies as G5) announced his intention to bring democratic reform to his tiny nation. By so doing he may have avoided the indignity bestowed not long ago on his Nepalese counterpart.
Armstrongism or Anglicanism? Hmm, tough choice.