Why I’m not supporting the idea of making St Boniface the Patron Saint of Devon

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The Boniface Link Association are asking County Councillors to back this proposal. I’ve explained my position in this letter to them:

Thank you for writing to me about your proposal that St Boniface should be made the Patron Saint of Devon and his day be made Devonshire Day. I found your letter and the leaflet most interesting, and as a staunch European I was attracted to the story of Boniface’s European connections. I certainly appreciate the role which Christianity has played in the creation of modern Devon, England and Europe.

However I am afraid that I cannot support your proposal. This is because we no longer have a primarily Christian society, with many belonging to other faiths such as Judaism and Islam, and half the population no longer identifying with religion at all. In this situation, I don’t believe it is appropriate to further entrench Christianity in the symbols of our local institutions.

I particularly think that St Boniface is the wrong figurehead for our County since his story is so much about missionary activity to convert the ‘heathens’. In this light, many of us today would be regarded as heathen, and I think it sends out the wrong message – especially to children of other faiths and none – to adopt as our patron someone who is identified with this particular aspect of our history. I hope you will understand why I will be opposing this proposal when Nick Way brings it forward.

2 thoughts on “Why I’m not supporting the idea of making St Boniface the Patron Saint of Devon

    Karen Curnock said:
    March 27, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Hi Martin Despite being avowedly Christian and an ordained member of the Church of England, I agree with you. If anything, a patron saint should be a model of unity and inclusiveness. Also the concept of patron saints for counties or even countries can and does lead to further unhelpful division and competitive attitudes crudely expressed as ‘our patron saint is better than your patron saint’. St George of course was born in Turkey and his mother was Palestinian. I wonder how many English nationalists who wave his flag know that. The other thing that people forget about saints is that they too were imperfect and flawed human beings like the rest of us. I love the saints because in different ways they show us something special about how we, with all our weaknesses and failings, of any religion or none, can live a life focused on the principles of love, justice, kindness and so on. Karen

    On Wed, 27 Mar 2019, 06:47 SEATON & COLYTON matters, wrote:

    > Martin Shaw posted: ” The Boniface Link Association are asking County > Councillors to back this proposal. I’ve explained my position in this > letter to them: Thank you for writing to me about your proposal that St > Boniface should be made the Patron Saint of Devon and his” >

    Like

    Martin Shaw responded:
    March 27, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Thanks, Karen.

    Like

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