Multi-ethnic — Yes. Multi-cultural — No!

Friday is for Heart Songs

As the church planter of a multi-ethnic church that at one time had as many as 23 countries of birth represented in the congregation, the vision of the nations coming together to worship the King of Kings is near to my heart. But a multi-ethnic congregation that bows to Christ is far different from the vision of mulculturalism espoused by the cultural mavens of our media and social planners. The following article is from Kairos Journal.

“Multiculturalism Has Run Its Course”—Jonathan Sacks (1948 – )

Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Educated in his native Britain, he was knighted by the Queen in 2005 for his services to interfaith relations. He is a widely published author, with his book The Dignity of Difference (2004) winning the Grawemeyer Award for Religion.

In his The Home We Build Together – Recreating Society (2007), Sacks considers the fractured state of British society in the early twenty-first century. He subjects public policy to close scrutiny and gives particular critical consideration to multiculturalism, a doctrine that has dominated immigration policy in Britain (and many other Western countries) since the 1970s.

Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on. It was a fine, even noble idea in its time. It was designed to make ethnic and religious minorities feel more at home, more appreciated and respected, and therefore better able to mesh with the larger society…

But there has been a price to pay, and it grows year by year. Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation. It has allowed groups to live separately, with no incentive to integrate and every incentive not to. It was intended to promote tolerance. Instead the result has been, in countries where it has been tried, societies more abrasive, fractured and intolerant than they once were.

Liberal democracy is in danger. Britain is becoming a place where free speech is at risk, non-political institutions are becoming politicised, and a combination of political correctness and ethnic-religious separatism is eroding the graciousness of civil society…

If there is no agreed moral truth, we cannot reason together. All truth becomes subjective or relative, no more than a construction, a narrative, one way among many of telling the story. Each represents a point of view, and each point of view is the expression of a group….

Right or wrong, one thing is clear: the new tolerance is far less permissive than the old intolerance…

Ever-new “isms” are invented to exclude ever more opinions. New forms of intimidation begin to appear: protests, threats of violence, sometimes actual violence. For when there are no shared standards, there can be no conversation, and where conversation ends, violence begins…

culture of victimhood sets group against group, each claiming that its pain, injury, oppression, humiliation, is greater than that of others…

Without a national culture, there is no nation. There are merely people-in-proximity. Whether this is sufficient to generate loyalty, belonging and a sense of the common good is an open question. National cultures make nations. Global cultures may yet break them.1

Footnotes:

1.  Jonathan Sacks, “Wanted: A National Culture,” Times Online, October 20, 2007, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2697772.ece (accessed April 7, 2010).


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