Monday, April 6, 2009

Religion and Politics? Together?

By Mitchell

The redoubtable Father Zuhlsdorf reminded us a couple of weeks ago of the wonderful British sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, which follows the adventures of the wonderfully named Prime Minister Jim Hacker and his nemesis, Sir Humphrey Appleby. (The show itself was a continuation of an earlier series, Yes, Minister, at which point Hacker was merely a MP.)

The episode in question, "The Bishop's Gambit," features Sir Humphrey (the late Nigel Hawthorne) lecturing Hacker (Paul Eddington) regarding the merits of two candidates for the diocese of Bury St. Edmunds. (Hacker, as PM, will make the recommendation to the Queen, who is the titular head of the Church of England.) Here's Humphrey's priceless description on the role of religion in the Church:

Later, Hacker explains his hopeless situation to his wife, who offers him some helpful advice:

What you don't get from these clips is Humphrey's priceless description of the difference between God and the Queen: whereas you can't have the Church of England without the Queen, God is what is known as "an optional extra."

What you do get from these clips is a sample of what made Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister two of the funniest, most incisive looks at politics - no matter what country you're from. And it's not a bad analysis of modern religion, either...

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