This is a guest post by Peter Tatchell
I am no fan of saints or sainthood. But we can and should celebrate St George – or just plain George – as a symbol of freedom, dissent and multiculturalism.
It is time we ditched the myths surrounding St George and celebrated the more likely reality of his courageous life.
He doesn’t belong to the far right. He represents multiculturalism and rebellion against tyranny.
St George wasn’t white or English. He was a rebel from the Middle East. It appears that his father was born in what is now Turkey and his mother was probably from what is now Palestine.
He rebelled against the Roman Emperor Diocletian and was executed for refusing to give up his Christian faith and for opposing the persecution of Christians by the Romans.
In effect, he was proto defender human rights; a heroic symbol of protest and the right to freedom of belief and expression.
St George’s parentage embodies multiculturalism and his life expresses the values of English liberalism and dissent – values also shared by many other peoples in many other different cultures.