Echoing Angela Merkel’s revelation of a few years back, a former British “equality” minister recently admitted that multiculturalism has “failed.” But this hasn’t stopped a major U.K. city from refusing to commemorate an important English holiday in the name of that increasingly discredited ism.
This latest victim of political correctness is St. George’s Day, which took place this past Saturday, and the victimizer is the Bristol City Council. To this body it’s apparently of no consequence that the holiday dates back to at least 1222 A.D., that St. George had been declared England’s patron saint circa 1348, that her national flag is based on St. George’s cross, and that Bristol itself even has a district called St. George. But what has really angered U.K. patriots is a city council spokesman’s statement that they “don't normally tend to do anything [for the holiday] as Bristol is a city with 91 different languages and it would be very difficult to commemorate them all."
Of course, critics such as Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer — who’s even less welcome in Britain than Christian historical figures (he has been banned from entry) — point out that the issue isn’t “91 different languages” but deference to one particular faith group. As he wrote Sunday, “Meanwhile, Muslims in the U.K. are not and will never be ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate Eid. Goodbye, Bristol. Goodbye, England. Goodbye, Britain.”
And hello political correctness. Using the “some feel” tactic of finding one person willing to espouse a leftist minority view, the Express wrote:
Some in the area feel as though the English symbol [St. George’s Flag] has been hijacked by far right groups and are concerned about being branded “racist”.
According to the Daily Star Sunday, Kalphna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways to Build a Global City, which aims to unite Bristol's multicultural communities, said people can be frightened of the white and red St George's flag.
She said: "There was a point in the past when I'd see the St George's Day flag flying and it would frighten me, as it had been taken over by 'we are England' type groups."
Of course, most things are frightening to someone, and most people are frightened by something. And pandering to fears is what has given us college-campus “safe spaces,” where criticism of leftist ideas is excluded (and some want white people excluded from them as well). Fears, being feelings, also change. The Express tells us that Woolf added, “But more and more that flag has been used to unite people in recent years and I am very pleased we live under that one flag.”
But Woolf’s sheepish musings aside, perhaps the history of St. George helps explain the apathy (antipathy?). As the Express tells us in a different article:
St George was a courageous early Christian martyr who is often depicted as a crusader in a suit of armour on a white horse.
… According to legend, the saint followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a soldier in the Roman army but refused orders to persecute Christians.
As punishment for disobedience, he was tortured and beheaded in Lydda, the Roman province of Syria Palaestina.
So maybe the problem is that with its “hate speech” laws, used largely to stifle criticism of homosexuality and Islam, modern Britain is more inclined to persecute Christians than honor them.
But if the modern West is to an extent “going Roman,” it also is now the last civilization to insist with foreigners that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” While Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban just made news by stating that his nation’s constitution prescribes a commitment "to promoting and safeguarding our heritage, our unique language, Hungarian culture," Westerners exhibit a relativism-born cultural ennui and now believe only in “shallow things, shallowly”; thus, they deep-six the deeper, truly important things at the first sign of opposition or in thrall to fashions. This is apparent when
• Christmas and Easter breaks are replaced on school calendars with, respectively, “winter” and “spring” breaks; Christmas concerts become winter concerts; and Christmas trees are renamed “holiday trees.”
• Schools nonetheless will turn around and teach the “Five Pillars of Islam.”
• Cities seek to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.
• Academia deemphasizes Western studies.
• People dispense with the correct understanding of the sexes in deference to the unscientific “transgender” agenda.
• Localities eliminate historically present Christian sentiments and symbols (e.g., crosses on public property) based on a misunderstanding, or intentional misreading, of the Establishment Clause.
In contrast and returning to Western cultural woes in Britain, the U.K.’s Muslims exhibit no such cultural identity crisis. It was reported in 2014 that some Muslim-dominated London schools — one of which was a Church of England institution — were teaching an Islamist curriculum so extreme that some students didn’t know if they should follow English or Sharia law or which was more important. Moreover, reporting on research conducted for a documentary entitled "What British Muslims Really Think," the Gatestone Institute recently wrote:
The 615-page survey found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.
In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.
… At the same time, almost a third (31%) of British Muslims think polygamy should be legalized. Among 18-to-24-year-olds, 35% think it is acceptable to have more than one wife.
All this has prompted the aforementioned British equality minister, Trevor Philips — who helped popularize the term Islamophobia — to admit that the multiculturalism he once championed is a “failed policy.” He now laments, "Muslims want to be part of Britain — but many do not accept the values and behaviors that make Britain what it is; they believe that Islam offers a better future.” But why would newcomers accept native “values” when the natives themselves don’t value them enough to defend them?
As for whether Islam offers a better future, it may be the future in much of the West unless Westerners resurrect the glories of their past.