British Schools Are Erasing History En Masse

Out with Lord Adm. Horatio Nelson; in with Greta Thunberg

British schools are erasing names that “are associated with historical figures with less than positive connotations when viewed from a modern-day perspective,” the Times reported on May 9. At least 30 schools are currently in the process of eliminating the names of great figures of British history from their houses, buildings and, in some cases, the school name itself.

The reason: pressure from pupils following last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

One example is Howden Junior School. Its houses named after Lord Adm. Horatio Nelson, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh have been renamed after 18-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, 23-year-old football player Marcus Rashford and 23-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai.

At least 13 other schools have removed the names of esteemed British figures who have recently been branded as racists who did more damage than good. According to one high school senior, they must be replaced by names more “appropriate for the climate we live in today.”

Fionnuala Kennedy, head at Wimbledon High, a leading private girls’ school, sees it as an attempt to right the wrongs of the past. “The girls are of a generation where they feel public monuments and street names represent something they feel is unjust, should be changed and should not be used as landmarks,” she said. “I am listening to them. Young people are disrupting and talking truth to power in a way we have not seen for a couple of generations, and I am excited by that.”

Many are worried, though.

Dr. Zareer Masani, an adviser to the think tank Policy Exchange, commented on this attempt to erase history: “It concerns me that across Britain our shared history—and the heritage of public and private institutions—is being rewritten or erased entirely, usually without much debate or forethought. Why are names like Clive, Nelson, Churchill and Drake disappearing from our schools? Headmasters should not allow themselves to be bullied by those with an often extreme political agenda, or allow themselves to give in to chasing the zeitgeist of the day, even if it is popular with the current generation of pupils. They should teach our history dispassionately and recognize that … the public thinks it is unfair to make judgments about people in the past based on today’s values.”

Adm. Horatio Nelson died leading the British to victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Trafalgar. Prime Minister William Gladstone is widely considered the greatest British politician of the 19th century. Sir Francis Drake was crucial in England’s empirical rise over the Spanish.

All these men contributed greatly to the rise of the great British Empire. But their contributions are being minimized due to their “links” to slavery. All of them, and more, are being condemned. In many cases, they are being replaced by young people who enjoy the very freedoms and prosperity these men sacrificed their lives for.

These figures gave their lives in service to an empire that actually led the world in the abolition of slavery and then mobilized its forces to end the slave trade.

Nobody argues that the British Empire and its figures were perfect. But cancel culture is unilaterally limiting people to their worst moments and ignoring the good. It is judging an entire nation and its history on today’s values. Teachers are kowtowing to student demands instead of teaching them the true history of Britain’s rise. This approach does a great deal of damage.

In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong proved that the people of America and Britain descended from ancient Israel. The Bible records God’s promises that He would bless these nations for obedience to Him. Because of sin, He delayed the conferment of those blessings until early in the 19th century. Between 1500 and 1800, the British Empire began to rise. Around 1800, it reached the zenith of its power and influence.

And in 1807, Britain used its power and influence to abolish slavery and the slave trade.

Britain’s history is of a meteoric rise from obscurity. It is of a civilization that engaged in slavery, like every other civilization on Earth. But it is also a history of the very first nation to outlaw slavery purely for moral reasons. Isn’t this a history worth learning?

“Today we hear many academic voices telling people that learning history is of little or no value,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. “This is an extremely dangerous trend that may be too entrenched ever to correct. This educational plague is rampant among the American and British peoples. It seems that few of our leaders understand what a colossal disaster it is!”

History is fundamentally factual and objective. Isn’t the human struggle that of overcoming? That of becoming more than we once were? Isn’t it about coming from obscurity to greatness when empowered by God? That is what the nations of Israel themselves are all about. That is what history is about. And it is under attack for a reason.

Request your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy and read Mr. Flurry’s appendix to his book The Former Prophets titled “A Law of History.” These will explain the crucial history you need to know and why it is under attack today.