Now that the Christmas season has begun, I thought it an appropriate time to write about faith in the Empire.
Each of the nations of the Empire is a Christian nation, though few have an established church per se. Those that were liberated from the Dragon Empire adopted it gladly, largely adopting forms introduced by missionaries sent from the rest of the Empire but needing no missionaries save their liberators and themselves to convert. The rest of the Empire was originally settled by Christians from the lands far to the east.
Matters were complicated significantly by the arrival of the Chosen. Nearly all, if not all, were also Christians, but from many different, highly varied denominations, while “denominations” were an utterly foreign concept to the natives. Because of this (and the difficulty of communication with the Earth hierarchy for Roman Catholics and other hierarchical denominations), five years after the war (which began about the same time as they arrived) ended, the King called an ecumenical council to discuss these issues and to attempt to promote church unity. (I haven’t developed what went on in that conference yet, and am open to ideas …) Since then, ecumenical relations within the Empire have been far more cordial than those here on Earth in the last century.
While there are few established churches per se, as I said, every government in Empire—along with nearly every other government the stories will deal with except the Dragon Empire—explicitly acknowledges God’s sovereignty and authority and bases its laws on the divine Law. The Empire—and the other nations, with substantially less weight behind their words—enforces a (arguably rather loose) code of honor and conduct among nations it calls its friends, based on the idea that alliance with a nation that God is angry with is of dubious value at best. The following brief excerpt from the current draft of my novel-in-progress The Invasion illustrates this:
“… However, if this friendship is accepted, be warned: The Empire tolerates neither human rights violations nor concessions to Evil among its friends.” The word I had translated as ‘human rights’ had nothing about humanity in it; it was closer to ‘the rights of those who speak with God.’ …