So, religion in the FWR. I can’t see the Federation being virulently anti-clerical or militantly atheist for ideological reasons, which of course is not to say that it won’t be viewed with some distaste. There will of course be quite a few Christian Socialists knocking around, and while Syndicalism certainly does not owe more to Methodism than Marx, there is some Wesley in there. I suspect the prevailing opinion is that religion is something of a relic of the past, which will naturally wither on the vine as the new generation no longer need God to distract them from Oligarchic oppression. However, if religion leads you to communitarian beliefs and Syndicalism, that’s all well and good.
What this will lead to, I expect, is a reluctance to poke religion with a stick unless it is somehow threatens the State. This means that different sects will be regarded rather differently; as IBC says, there’s unlikely to be a single ‘Christian policy’.
As far as the CofE goes, I would have thought the Federation’s policy is pretty tolerant. Many of the more stridently Unionist bishops will have been quietly retired after the fall of Churchill, more resigning over disestablishment, and still more following the King into exile come the revolution. I expect you’d have the odd one or two being outspoken, although I’m not sure how much support they would find within the general population. It helps that there is a robust strand of Anglican leftyism that can be co-opted, and an equally entrenched constituency of mealy-mouthed handwringers who will do as they’re told; I suspect that ITTL, rather wonderfully, Conrad Noel
has been installed as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Originally Posted by Conrad Noel
“We are proud to claim membership in the Church of England for she is the Church of Anselm, of Becket, of those such as Langton and John Ball who fought for the freedom of the people, the Church of Laud in his fight against a narrow Calvinism and the oppression of the poor, and in still more modern times, the Church of Maurice and Kingsley, of Scott Holland and Stewart Headlam. All this the 'Church of England' calls to mind, but the 'C. of E.' is only another name for the Establishment, and the Establishment is the religion of the ratepayer, and the religion of the ratepayer is not a religion but a disease.”
For Non-Conformists, again I think it depends. The Federation will love to go on about Liburne and the dissenters, but clearly there’s dissent and dissent. Robust working-class Methodism is probably fine; anything too esoteric or in opposition to the State (Quakerism, for example) is probably going to be heavily discouraged.
I’m no expert on the Kirk but what you write does seem to make complete sense to me. I do intend to write a piece about the abortive Scottish state at some point, so I will factor some of this in. It seems to me that the Scottish Workers’ Republic would be about as keen to break up the Kirk as the Unionists would have been keen to reunite the Presbyterian Churches- divide and rule and all that. As you say, I can’t imagine the relationship being that good. Not sure what this means in practice though- any ideas?
More broadly, open sectarianism is going to be sat on. Hard. I imagine that Indian or African troops will be used to quell the inevitable riots.
I think the Federations’ attitude towards Catholicism is going to be interesting, and rather fraught. As has been mentioned, the Federation will draw a lot of support from its Catholic populace, particularly in Ireland. I imagine that a fair few priests are Syndicalists themselves, or certainly on the Left. Were the Catholic Church to continue the broadly liberal course it has so far taken ITTL, I imagine relations between the Federation and the Vatican would be surprisingly good; unfortunately, in 1937 Cardinal Pizzardo
got elected Pope Pius IX, and he’s a highly conservative and virulently anti-syndicalist figure who is determined to stop the Church’s drift to the left on social and doctrinal issues. This is going to cause severe strain, both on the church itself (some of which was referenced in the interview with Miguel Pro) but also in the Federation. Papal encyclicals condemning Syndicalism and resistance to pressure in the appointment of Bishops is going to sour the relationship pretty quickly, and as Pizzardo lived to 1970 IOTL there’s the potential for things to stay very difficult for an awfully long time.
I love the idea of an Irish Pope stirring up trouble in his homeland, btw.
As for Islam, ITTL the Ottomans increasingly went for the pan-Islamic approach in opposition to the Young Turk/Nasserite nationalist viewpoint, so I imagine that most Muslim Syndicalists are pretty secular. Egypt is a complicating factor, and a potential focus for Muslim discontent with the Federation. The vast majority of the Egyptian and Sudanese rebels are religiously-motivated. If King Abdul of Arabia, in his capacity as Caliph, declares a jihad against the Federation, this could cause significant problems in India and Nigeria; so far, however, a spiral of dissent and oppression has been avoided.