Saturday, August 22, 2009
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.
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