The spectacle of Charles’ coronation has brought back into pressing view the political power of the church there. In England, the Anglican church governs its members like the king has traditionally governed England, by central command and bureaucratically, not democratically.

In America, evangelical churches have entered the political arena like the Anglican church long has done in England and are currently helping any who will support their agenda. Fundamentalists have brought culture war over things such as abortion, transgender medical care, prayer and Ten Commandments in public schools and private school vouchers. In America, the conservative church wants to do the educating of young children, just as the Roman Catholic church did in medieval times in England and the Anglican Church did in more modern times.

The conservative Anglican and evangelical churches in England and America both have an interest in maintaining either a monarchy or an autocracy in power, because it is easier to control or work with one autocrat than many legislators, and, of course, many believe that is God’s way.

The Crown of Edward placed on the head of Britain’s new monarch points to some interesting ways the church has endeavored to capture or support the monarch in British history. The Catholic church honored Edward’s mother with miracle-worker status, saying that she walked barefoot across smoldering embers of nine burning plowshares without harm.

Church monk historians honored Edward’s long-running act of celibacy with his wife Editha, whom he detested, by giving him the status of “saint” and “confessor,” a type of priest.

Also, Edward Confessor was “the first that touched for the King’s evil.” He regularly granted folks access to him so he could provide a healing touch for a head and neck malady that was a bugaboo in those days.

For the next 600 years or so, kings in England mimicked Edward’s healing gift as a powerful way to maintain the monarchy’s influence over the people and, more subtly, the church’s influence over the monarchy. One historian writing about Edward in the 1700s during the time when the healing practice finally ended says, “The opinion of his sanctity procured belief to this cure among the people.”

That somewhat blind faith in Edward translated throughout time into a faith in the superior spirituality of the monarch and his heirs. It also served as another way to maintain in the people a low opinion of themselves and a high opinion of the dynasty. That changed to a degree in the Reformation when the people gained greater access to the scripture, increasing their own ability to interpret it for themselves. However, backsliding literacy in Britain and America has returned these two nations to a type of pre-Reformation ignorance of both history and scripture.

In Charles’ ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury stressed that it was God himself “that doth place this crown” on the king’s head. Of course, it was the Archbishop who did the actual placing, so it is he that is empowered to carry out God’s will, not really the king. God and the Archbishop were merely blessing the king with their support. The church is not politically a big deal in England, or America? Better think again.

Editor’s note: Robert Kimball Shinkoskey is the author of books on democracy, including “The American Kings” and “Democracy and the Ten Commandments.”