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UK: 29% heard Bible passages they had never heard before at the Queen’s funeral

A survey of the UK Bible Society points out that “there is little appetite for a secular or multi-faith coronation” among the British population.

FUENTES Bible Society AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus LONDON 26 DE ABRIL DE 2023 15:03 h
The funeral procession for Queen Elizabeth II / [link] Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport[/link], Wikimedia Commons.

After Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the UK Bible Society commissioned YouGov to interview 3,000 adults across England and Wales, for the survey Mourning Elizabeth: Christianity and the Bible in the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Taking place in the context of a country that is no longer majority Christian, the prominence of these overtly religious events presented fascinating questions for the role of religion in modern Britain”, said the authors of the polling.


Christianity in state royal events

The Bible Society “found widespread support for retaining this Christian focus and little interest in the events becoming wholly secular, even among those from other religions and non-religious backgrounds”.

Survey data show that 55% of respondents said they were happy that the Queen Elizabeth’s funeral events were “wholly Christian”. 12% found that “prominence alienating”, and 9% would prefer it to be “wholly secular”.

Among those who engaged in the funeral events, 79% agreed the presence of Christianity was appropriate “given the faith of the Queen as an individual”, while 72% said it was appropriate “for a British royal event”.

When asked if state royal events should remain wholly Christian in the future, 31% agreed, 21% disagreed and 48% didn't have an opinion on the issue.

“There is little appetite for a secular or multi-faith coronation, and just 15% agree with the events becoming wholly secular”, adds the survey.

Furthermore, 37% of respondents pointed out that a state royal event should feature the Bible, and 14% rejected that argument.


The role of the Bible

The survey states that Queen Elizabeth’s funeral events “were moments of extraordinary reach and exposure of the Bible, an unprecedented event in global history”, where “Christian ritual, liturgy, and Scripture were central”.

“If someone watched it all, they would have heard 3,923 words of the Bible, forming 198 verses, drawn from 13 books of the Bible, in three languages, English, Welsh and Gaelic”.

Over a quarter of those surveyed (29%) said they heard parts of the Bible they had never heard before during the Queen's funeral, rising to 40% among 18 to 24 year olds.

For one-third of the respondents, those Bible passages were moving and 31% found themrelevant to their feelings at the time”.

In contrast, 25% said these Bible passages were boring, and the same proportion of young people and people of other faiths pointed out that the Bible is difficult to understand.


Most in favour of monarchy

The survey also shows that most of the population (68%) were favourable towards the Queen, and support UK remaining a monarchy (62%), although among 18-24-year-olds, that support decreased to 43%. 27% were in favour of a republic.

Moreover, churchgoers of all ages are more likely than the general population to be pro-monarchy. Over half of them said the life of the Queen positively influenced how they saw Christianity, and these perceptions were further improved among approximately a third of churchgoers through the mourning events”.

“These are indications that Christianity is still regarded as a significant factor in public life, and isn’t to be dismissed as irrelevant or outdated. There are also challenges for the Church, though, in engaging those who did feel that the Bible readings and rituals didn’t speak to them”, concluded Rhiannon McAleer, Bible Society's head of research and impact and co-author of the survey.

You can see the whole survey here.




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