Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Muslim question: segregation and secularisation

Those who strive to be Politically Correct have been tearing each other apart over the demands of Muslims to adhere to their own customs. Special sex-segregated sessions at public swimming pools with vastly stricter dress codes have been established by many left-wing local authorities, and have attracted criticism from other lefties. A Labour minister walked out of a Muslim wedding when he discovered men and women had separate rooms, and has been practically accused of racism by a Labour peer. Sharia courts have been recognised as legitimate forums for arbitration by the Government, to the dismay of those who think they are sexist.

The strategy of the Left in Britain has been to encourage massive immigration, without any effort at integration, for two reasons. First, immigrants tend to vote for the left, partly out of gratitude for the policy on immigration (which they naturally wish to see continued) and partly because of the economic circumstances in which they find themselves when they have settled in. Second, the whole process undermines the British and Christian values which the left hates. Even if the immigrants are Christians themselves, the social disruption large-scale immigration causes undermines the sense of solidarity around shared values and understandings which are appealed to by popular socially conservative politicians. Socialism, for example, has historically been opposed by appeals to family values, historic local loyalties, religious values, patriotism and the like, appeals which are most fruitful when made to a cohesive electorate with shared values and traditions. Such appeals are becoming harder and harder to make.

However, immigration from Muslim countries is beginning to create sizable subcultures with a degree of coherence of their own. The values and shared traditions of these groups are powerful and are even more radically opposed to the left's agenda than those of traditional British society. In some respects they are similar to Christian values, and in some respects they differ, and even oppose, Christian values. The big picture, however, is that they oppose the left's agenda of secularisation: of pushing religious values out of public view.

So Muslims have been allies with Christians in opposing the secularisation even of Christian festivals like Christmas: they know if secularism rules the day, their own aspirations will be crushed. But a traditional Christian state would not tolerate unlimited Muslim self-assertion - exemplified by the 'mega mosque' plan - any more than a secular one. So should Christians ally with secularists to oppose Muslim demands, or ally with Muslims to oppose secularist ones?

At this point Christians, and Catholics in particular, should be made to realise how they have been backed into a corner. Secularism and Islam are both self-confident creeds. 'Live and let live' is only a short-term compromise where they are concerned. Christians have allowed the process of secularisation to take place under the wholly mistaken impression that it creates a 'level playing field' for 'reasonable' religious views to co-exist. This is totally false: it cannot be true that Christianity should not have a leading role in public life, as the secularists argue, unless Christianity is false. To deal with the current situation Christians should take a leaf out of the book of both secularists and Muslims, and act as if they believe what they profess to believe is actually true: if it is true it has implications for how society should be run.

70% of the UK population professes some kind of Christian belief. Christian leaders should stop kidding them that their values can be preserved in a 'private sphere'. If they campaigned for Christian values to inform public policy at every level, there would be many practical compromises to make along the way, but at least they would be meeting their opponents in debate, and not simply hiding under the bedcovers.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad the Governement in this country never shared your intollerant attitude when Catholicism made a return to England. Otherwise, we'd have no Church here!
Why can't you ever concern yourself with helping people rather than demonizing them? All they want is a better life?
I left Banja Luka and moved to Bristol during the civil war. The British/Christian values you speak of include welcoming immigrants. Perhaps you think I should go home, and like many people I would love nothing more. But I can't because Banja Luka is an Orthodox Serb place now and I am a Croat Catholic. It is sad to see my fellow Catholics say such things against immigration.
Marko Paladic

Hercules said...

We're not railing about immigration. We're just observing its consequences. There's not even a suggestion here that the policy should be changed - that's not the point at issue.

Why not read the post before you post your silly comments?

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about, of course you are making a general attack on all immigration with sweeping statements like this...
"the whole process undermines the British and Christian values"

If you want of talk about Islam talk about Islam. Also, I don't think you can describe "patriotism" as something positive while remaining a christian as it has no place in the Church.

Hercules said...

What bizzare claims. The subject of immigration does this to some people. And I'm not even concerned with the policy - just the way things have things have turned out to spoil the secularist party pro-immigration politicians were enjoying so much.

For decades they've been saying 'we can't have religion in public for fear of upsetting the Muslims'. Not the Muslims are contradicting them.

fellist said...

Christian leaders should stop kidding them that their values can be preserved in a 'private sphere'. If they campaigned for Christian values to inform public policy at every level, there would be many practical compromises to make along the way, but at least they would be meeting their opponents in debate, and not simply hiding under the bedcovers.

The problem is not so much that Christians do not promote Christianity in the marketplace of religions; the problem is that Christian leaders have come to believe Christianity demands that they undermine other forms of traditional authority, especially ethnic attachment, national cultures, and traditional sexual roles. Until Church leaders accommodate themselves once more to these notions it is better for us all - even for Christians - that the Churches stay out of political debates.

anonymous, you have less right to be where you are than the Serbs in Banja Luka do. They won their territory through war, you won yours by our charity. If you regret that your people were displaced by another, you should not also complain about our doing the same. Your ingratitude is compounded by a hostile double standard.

Anonymous said...

"They won their territory through war, you won yours by our charity."

Is the moderator of this site going to tolerate this openly pro war and racist statement on what is supposed to be a Catholic blog?

And with reagrds to...
" Christian leaders have come to believe Christianity demands that they undermine other forms of traditional authority, especially ethnic attachment, national cultures"

Yes, that's because that is true, they should undermine such un-Godly, man made institutions!! Check your Catholic Bible and Church tradition and tell me where Jesus asks for loyalty to Paraohs and Cesears? Where does Jesus ask for war, killing, injustice, racial prejudice.
Jesus said..."I desire mercy, not sacrifice,"
The Bible says..."Put not your faith in rulers, or in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation"
Jesus says..."Jesus said "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you"
Jesus...Love thy neighbour!!! Not worship the state and a flag with it's Warmongering and greed!
You my friend are guilty of idolitory

Hercules said...

Fellist, you are of course quite right about the kind of contribution to politics Christian leaders might make if they made any. Nevertheless the principle that we should make a contribution needs to be secured. And part of the reason they support all these ghastly things is because they are frightened of anything distinctively Christian.

And yes, Anonymous, patriotism, hierarchy, the father as the head of the family even, they are all Christian values. When you are reading St Paul you need to be less selective. Where Catholicism has spread you find not a crushing of local cultures but a preservation and flowering of what is good in each, including in many cases local political institutions and national customs. Perhaps you'd like us all to live in some kind of cultural vacuum - well that's contrary to human nature, and completely contrary to ths spirit of Catholicism.

That doesn't make us racists - if we were racists we would be as uniterested in cultural diversity as you evidently are.

Anonymous said...

I guess you are making reference to Romans 13 and Paul's mention of rulers and Governments. But you need to read Romans 12 in context first and remember that these verses were mis-used by Hitler too, as to justify loyalty to the State.

For a longtime Paul has been used by conservative Christians like you as a force for reaction in the church
In error you read him through the
later contested letters and reformation theology. A different
way of approaching Paul - historically is to Start with which is widely accepted as the
genuine letters of Paul and reading them with an understanding of the context they
were written in, that of a world under the domination of the Roman empire and a
strictly hierarchical culture.
In reality Paul sought to empower counter cultural communities
committed to living 'in Christ' who through baptism committed themselves to an
alternative way of life rooted in and inspired by a radical understanding of the reality
of both Jesus' execution at the hands of imperial power and his resurrection through
the love. Please do some proper research before urging others to do so.

Hercules said...

"later contested letters" - so this guy wants to reject some of Biblical canon because he doen't like what it says?

And he accused us of not reading the Bible carefully or openly enough?


Anonymous said...

I agree totally with your blog. For Christians in developing nations, Europe has always been a role model, a continent of Christian values. But currently we observe with sadness the creeping effects of unbridled Islamic expansionism in nations like France and UK. The EU should embrace its Christian roots or else all the values and freedoms we enjoy today will be replaced with intolerance and hate.

Jeevan Joseph
Kerala, India

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen