Andy Walton looks at whether there is a "Religious Right" emerging in Britain
Nick Spencer reviews Steve Jones' "The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Retold at Science"
We're wrong to abandon multiculturalism
17th October 2011
Theos, a think tank working on issues of religion and society, has defended multiculturalism and called for the search for ‘multicultural justice’ to be rescued from the scrap heap.
2011 has seen David Cameron and Angela Merkel, as well as large swathes of the press, denouncing multicultural policies as failures. Theos, in its new report Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval by Jonathan Chaplin, instead argues that it’s the only way to deal with an increasingly diverse society.
Drawing on the thinking of the UK’s most culturally diverse religious community (Christianity), the report states that in our haste to affirm shared values and our anxiety about immigration and terrorism we are in danger of forgetting the need to treat each cultural and religious group fairly. It advocates a more modest form of multiculturalism which accepts diversity but doesn’t advocate cultural relativism.
Elizabeth Hunter, Director of Theos, said “It’s an easy and popular thing for columnists and political leaders to pour scorn on multiculturalism, but in reality no one has offered a credible alternative. We should of course acknowledge and learn from the failures of some aspects of the project, but fleeing from it is not an option.
“We must face up to the big questions raised by our ever growing plurality of cultural and religious identities. The UK does not want to become France, which enforces a standardised version of national identity, but must instead hold true to our history of tolerance and hospitality."
The report will be formally launched at the public debate “Is there a future for Multiculturalism?’ at the LSE this Thursday 20th October in partnership with the LSE Religion and Society Programme. Details here.
David F. Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge commented:
“This is a superbly perceptive and constructive contribution to the debate about multiculturalism in Britain…[It] should be read by all who want civil society to flourish and the government to deal well with our multi-ethnic and multi-faith nation.”
Atif Imtiaz, Academic Director, Cambridge Muslim College wrote:
"Jonathan Chaplin provides here a Christian theological response to the challenge of increasing cultural and religious diversity…His contribution is considered and important for people of faith and for government.”
The report, Multiculturalism: a Christian Retrieval, can be read online here.
- ENDS -
1. Theos is a think tank which offers research and commentary on issues relating to faith and society.
2. Jonathan Chaplin is Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE) and a member of the Cambridge University Divinity Faculty.