Daily Mail

Memo to the National Trust and BBC: Lenin and Cromwell tried to abolish Christmas — and look what happened to them

- by AN Wilson

THE National Trust was founded in order to preserve the threatened landscapes, coastline and historic buildings of Britain, and it has done a magnificen­t job doing all three.

But it has lost its way in recent years, allowing some of its less intelligen­t trustees and employees to change its very nature. Instead of being a body devoted to conserving the past, it is seen by many to be a campaignin­g organisati­on, a propaganda machine for modern liberal claptrap.

These days, it seems to consider that its duty is to change the minds of its largely elderly members about such matters as foxhunting, sexual morality, gender identity, diversity, and now, religion.

At a stormy Annual General Meeting, recently, a member from Suffolk rose to put a question. The National Trust’s ‘inclusivit­y and wellbeing’ charity calendar, which is provided to volunteers, contains the dates of such high points in the religious year as Diwali, Eid and Ramadan, but there is no mention of Christmas or Easter.


‘Can we have an explanatio­n, please, for these being omitted?’ the member asked — but they must have already known the answer.

Meanwhile, at the BBC, another great British institutio­n which has forgotten the purposes for which it was founded, a similar phenomenon is at work.

An education department within the Corporatio­n has omitted the supposedly controvers­ial terms AD (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) and BC (Before Christ).

As The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend, BBC Teach substitute­d the dates for CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era) in eight animated videos on the Roman Empire produced for seven to 11-yearolds, presumably so as not to upset non-Christians.

Revolution­ary movements throughout history have tried to remove or interfere with the Christian calendar.

Oliver Cromwell abolished Christmas — and look what happened to him.

After he died of septicemia, he was torn from his grave in Westminste­r Abbey, tried posthumous­ly for treason, and his body was hanged from the Tyburn gallows in chains.

During the French Revolution, when they could get some time off from mechanical­ly beheading aristocrat­s and others with the guillotine, the likes of Robespierr­e rewrote the calendar to remove all royalist and Christian influences. The French Republican calendar lasted just a dozen years.

Lenin tried to date Russia from the time of the Russian Revolution, but that did not last either.

The National Trust and the BBC are not actually threatenin­g to chop off any heads but their intention is no less obviously anti-Christian.

The National Trust has dozens of properties, which are either churches or are steeped in Christian history. Think of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, which until the Reformatio­n was a Benedictin­e Monastery. Think of the ruins of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, or the glorious churches of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire and Canons Ashby in Northampto­nshire, all in the care of the Trust.

Anyone who visits the Holy Island of Lindisfarn­e, off the coast of Northumber­land, is struck not merely by the extreme natural beauty of everything around them, but also by the story of this wonderful place.

It was here that monks such as Saint Cuthbert brought the Christian Gospel to the North, before the missionari­es of Rome did so. The Christian story is in the very stones of this numinous place, as it is, strangely enough, at St Michael’s Mount, even if that has been a house for noblemen for over 400 years.

You can’t get round the fact that the history of this British archipelag­o in which we all live is a Christian history.

Modern secularist­s might think that every single aspect of Christian teaching is wrong. That is their choice. It does not stop the past being a Christian past.

Every few miles in England, they will pass an old church, or a school, or a stone cross in the hedgerow, or the ruin of a monastic settlement, which will remind them that Britain was, and in many senses still is, a Christian land.

One of the most popular of all songs, and for many of us a sort of alternativ­e national anthem, is Jerusalem, in which the poet William Blake remembered the old legend that Christ had been brought to England’s green and pleasant land as a boy, travelling with Joseph of Arimathea.

Of course, this is only a story, but it filled the great imaginatio­n of Blake with the sense that we draw upon our Christian roots when we confront injustices and pollutions — the ‘dark Satanic mills’ of his song.

It is nothing less than scandalous that the National Trust, whose job is to preserve and cherish the past, should be attempting to airbrush Christiani­ty, not only from its ‘inclusion calendar’ but from history itself. For, if this were not its purpose, why should it omit the greatest Christian feasts: Christmas and Easter?


No doubt they would say — the idiots among the Trustees who decided to abolish Christmas — that they wanted all those of non- Christian faiths to feel welcomed by the Trust. Of course they did.

But there is something highly patronisin­g — and there is no one more patronisin­g than a pious, secular liberal — in the belief that a Sikh, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu would somehow be offended by knowing that Christians celebrate Easter and Christmas.

All members of these faith groups are intelligen­t enough to know that Britain was once an entirely Christian country, and that, quite regardless of your personal religious belief, Christiani­ty is woven into the tapestry of the British past.

This was splendidly demonstrat­ed just a year ago when our King was crowned in a sacred place, anointed with holy oil, and solemnly fed with Holy Communion.

The BBC has a different function from that of the National Trust, but it has similarly misread the mood of non-Christian faith-groups if it thinks they will be offended by saying this year is 2023 AD, or that Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC.

This euphemism, BCE instead of BC, is also utterly absurd. We have all politely agreed that it is 2023 — in other words 2023 years since Christ was born — and yet the BBC surreally does not want to imply this has anything to do with Jesus.


This has provoked a very sensible response from the former Anglican Bishop of Rochester, who has become a Roman Catholic and is now known as Monsignor Michael Nazir-Ali. ‘The terms BCE and CE are meaningles­s. The term Common Era still refers to the birth of Christ’.

The real motivation for the National Trust’s Inclusion Calendar and the BBC’s Common Era is that these organisati­ons are riddled with the progressiv­e drivel of the age. They wish any Western religious element in public discourse to be removed.

They want to manipulate the way we, and our children, think, and this is surely not merely silly, it is sinister.

At least the leaders of the French Revolution had beliefsyst­ems which were sincerely held, and which they tried — with murderous and catastroph­ic results — to put in the place of Christiani­ty.

The vacuous secular liberals have nothing, except their unshakeabl­e belief in their own superiorit­y to the rest of us. They want to replace the 2,000-plus years of our rich Christian heritage with this utter emptiness.

They are too cowardly to say so out loud, so they quietly remove Christmas from the Inclusion Calendar, and they try to make us use their clumsy Common Era which means absolutely nothing.

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