Tanna is an island forming part of the nation of Vanuatu in Polynesia. Its inhabitants adhere to traditional values rather than falling for useless modern inventions like Christianity or Islam. Instead they stick to true religion as old as man with a few embellishments. A book explores religious beliefs and their development.
How does a new religion get started? The one on Tanna (sometimes also spelled Tana) began in earnest when the Royal Yacht Britannia was on tour in Polynesia in 1974, but it had started earlier probably in the 1950s. The mountain people of Yaohnanen believe that Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh is the reincarnation of the son of the Mountain God. They had received the Royal dispatches and news since his engagement to the then Princess Elizabeth, and what they learned tied in with an ancient prophecy.
This scion of the ancient German noble house of Oldenburg whose family ruled Denmark, Norway, and Greece (still) and had ruled Russia until the Revolution was like Moses a foundling; like the heroes of old he had gone out to conquer and win renown; he ended up marrying a Royal Princess and living in a castle. That is what a good story is made of (ok, the manger is missing in this version, but good enough). Rejoice, Christ was reborn and is among us, but only the good people of Tanna noticed it.
Matthew Baylis wrote Man Belong Mrs Queen: Adventures With The Philip Worshippers published by Old Street Publishing. What struck me about the book is its sincerity. The author takes readers through his own irritation and bewilderment at what he found when arriving and guides them to understanding and appreciating the power of religion. And the conclusion is, why change it if it works for society?
Does anyone think worshiping Prince Philip is nutty? I know people believing in ghost stories (the holy spirit descended on the apostles), in aliens (the prophet Elijah disappearing into space in a burning chariot, as did the prophet Mohammed), in science fiction writers (Scientology), or in paranormal activity (Catholic Church saints must have worked two miracles after death). all that is missing in Tanna is a madman like Saint Paul to propagate the Faith. If someone would offer for the job, Philip worshipers would be ready to launch crusades against the unbelievers in a few hundred years.
The book is inherently funny and not at the expense of the people of Tanna. It is recommended reading for anyone who wants to learn how religions are invented. I'm convinced, the dim-wits of the political correctness brigade will find ample opportunity to be offended on behalf of others not of their concern. And bigots and hypocrites will rethink the content of this book to fit in with their mental aberrations. I for one enjoyed the book and was able to add another smattering of pidgin to my small vocabulary.
|HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and|
HRH Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark,
Princess Alice of Battenberg