Multiculturalism is for the Birds – 2
Monotheism breeds multiculturalism
Immigration to BWB countries came in two forms – slave labor which performed hard, physical manual work as skilled laborers in their factories, and as ‘unskilled labor’ comprising a major segment of their service industry; all for the privilege of being allowed to view from a distance the American Holy Grail Dream.
In the second stage, well-camouflaged slave labor was promoted and elevated to the status of domestic help when bogus Christian egalitarianism allowed them to live inside the home of the master and eat off the kitchen table. This labour came into these countries as doctors, engineers, scientists, educationists, yoga gurus and IT experts.
Multiculturalism in America and Europe was a necessary virtue when it was multi-flavoured Christianity - newly-liberated, end-of-segregation African American, Cuban, Irish, Italian and Latin-American; multiculturalism as immigration from countries which they had colonised and impoverished was suffered as token Christian reparation for war crimes and the crimes of colonization; multiculturalism was also a show-and-tell virtue when it was docile, self-effacing, hardworking Hindus and Sikhs who knew their place, were immensely grateful for being allowed to graze on green pastures, and who, despite more wealth in the bank than their masters, did not threaten hostile take-over of the house, bless their Hindu souls!!
Multiculturalism began to lose its sheen and virtuous veneer when it came to Muslims – Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani Muslims, African Muslims and growing numbers of a new wave of Africans fleeing poverty, hunger and Aids. The increasing visibility of migrants from Asia – from India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and from Africa was altering the racial demography of the white landscape and multiculturalism was beginning to pinch.
It began to pinch painfully when the new wave of Muslim immigrants, unlike the Hindus refused not only to remain confined to the kitchen and service quarters but insisted on running amok in the garden and the living room. Some of them even declared their intent to subjugate and take over America and Europe by altering the religious demography of the American and European landscape and eventually to do unto Europe and America what they had already done to India in 1947 and what Europe and America had done to Indonesia, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Sudan.
All this was unsettling to the White Christian-ness of public spaces in Europe and America compounded by the imminent danger from multiculturalism to the pre-eminent position of the White Christian, ruling supra-elite.
America and Europe were forced to revisit multiculturalism as a political virtue when Islam’s symbols and way of life began to pervade the two continents. Samuel Huntington had to undertake a massive exercise to probe the content of being ‘American’ while Britain and France, Australia and Canada began to analyse and describe their national culture and ethos. All of them concluded ridiculously that the ability to speak English or French, and not permitting Muslim women to wear the veil constituted the essence of white culture.
Democracy was thrown in as a component of self-description only to juxtapose it against what the Generic Church considered was non-democratic, non-liberal Muslim social and political culture. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994, State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron)
The first important step in Europe towards self-description came in 2002 from Pope John Paul II and the then Cardinal Ratzinger, now incumbent Pope; in America, around the same time the process of self-description was marked by Samuel Huntington’s Who are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (Simon & Schuster, 2004) and a renewed national debate over whether the Pledge of Allegiance (not to be confused with the Oath of Allegiance) was mandatory for all students in American schools.
America’s multiculturalism was heaving and churning, threatening to dislodge the cowboy.
When the fall of the Berlin Wall was engineered by the Generic Church to coincide with neo-colonialism’s globalization, neo-Imperialism smacked its lips as new frontiers beckoned it and new vistas for expansion opened up. Greed for new territories to occupy and control was tempered by the sobering realization that a significant part of Eastern Europe was Muslim and even if one did not factor globalization-immigration into Europe, parts of the continent were as distinctly Muslim as other parts were Christian.
As the European Union was emerging from its chrysalis, the Pope had to speak up, as others had, to emphasize Europe’s Christian-ness before Multiculturalism was made Europe’s defining virtue.
Q: There is a debate over the inclusion of the word 'God' and references to Europe's Christian past in the preambles of the future [European] Constitution. Do you think there can be a united Europe that has turned its back on its Christian past?
A: I am convinced that Europe must not just be something economic [or] political; rather, it is in need of spiritual foundations.
It is a historical fact that Europe is Christian, and that it has grown on the foundation of the Christian faith, which continues to be the foundation of the values for this continent, which in turn has influenced other continents.
It is imperative to have a foundation of values and, if we ask ourselves what that foundation is, we realize that, beyond the confessions, there are no others outside the great values of the Christian faith. And this is why it is imperative that in the future Constitution of Europe mention is made of the Christian foundations of Europe. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from an interview given on 1 December 2002 to a group of journalists at the Catholic University of St. Anthony, Murcia, Spain)
Europe is a cultural and not a geographical continent. It is united by its culture which gives it a common identity. The roots which formed ... this continent are those of Christianity. (Josef Ratzinger prior to his election as Pope Benedict XIV, in an Interview in Le Figaro, August 2004, putting the case for the exclusion of Turkey on religious grounds)
Turkey [is] an Asiatic nation, its capital is not in Europe, 95% of its population is outside Europe. Turkey has a different culture, a different approach, a different way of life. Letting it in would be the end of the European Union. (Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, French President 1974-1981, President of Commission for drafting the EU Constitution set up in 2002. Widely taken to mean he doesn't want Turkey to join because it is a majority Muslim country)
Europe's founders, like Adenauer, De Gaspari and Schuman, put their Christian [Catholic] faith at the centre of their political lives. How can we underestimate, for example, the fact that in 1951, before beginning the delicate negotiations which would lead to the adoption of the Treaty of Paris, they wished to meet in a Benedictine monastery on the Rhine for meditation and prayer? (Pope John Paul II, 7 November 2003, Audience with members of European Christian Democrat Foundation, appealing to have Christianity mentioned in the EU Constitution)
We will be joined to a Europe in which the Catholic religion will be the dominant faith, and in which the application of the Catholic Social Doctrine will be the major factor in everyday political and economic life. (Shirley Williams, British Labor Minister and later co-founder of Social Democrats)
Besides turning the Genesis on its head by attributing human Founders for Europe and besides giving short shrift to geography, the following ideas emerge unambiguously from these statements –
· The then Pope, the incumbent Pope and important political leaders in Europe declare firmly that Europe is Christian
· The bare-faced lie that Europe grew on the foundations of Christianity
· That Europe is not a geographic but a cultural entity and Europe’s Founders put their Christian faith at the centre of their political lives
· The Generic Church will not acknowledge, much less legitimise any pre-Christian past or roots for Europe
· The incumbent Pope and a former President of France (the spectre of Algeria was haunting France) do not want Muslim Turkey within the Christian European Union which would effectively make Turkey a European country
This is not the only instance when the Church has rejected multiculturalism on its turf. The Church closed ranks and rejected the Muslim demand to build a mosque adjacent to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth. The Basilica of Annunciation is built on the site where the Church claims Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus.
Muslims claim that the site is important to them too historically because it is the final resting place of Shahib-al-Din, nephew of Saladin who commanded the Jihadi army which defeated the Crusaders in 1187. The Israeli government at first permitted the Muslims to build the mosque and the marble cornerstone was unveiled with much fanfare on November 23, 1999.
The Christian world reacted with anger over the Muslim demand and over the Israeli government’s decision to allow the mosque to come up next to the Basilica. This notwithstanding the fact that Nazareth is important to both Christians and Muslims; that the site in question is historically important to both communities; most significantly, notwithstanding the fact that Muslims today constitute two-thirds of Nazareth’s population.
Considering the lectures on pluralism, freedom of religion and rights of minorities which the U.S and the Vatican have given to India’s Hindus, this makes interesting reading –
A special Israeli government committee is debating whether Nazareth officials should allow Muslims to continue building a mosque alongside the famous Basilica of the Annunciation.
Israeli officials created the committee in response to a new wave of international appeals. Israel decided in 1998 to allow the mosque's construction, despite protests from Nazareth's Christians. The Vatican, the White House, and an international coalition of Catholic and Protestant Christian church groups have opposed construction.
Critics have said that the new mosque could physically overwhelm the adjacent church site and threaten the delicate status quo between Nazareth's Muslim Arab majority and Christian Arab minority.
The mosque might contain multiple spires that would tower over the black-coned dome of the basilica, says Dave Parsons, a spokesman for the International Christian Embassy, one of the groups protesting the construction.
"It will demean the basilica and force Christians to run a gantlet from the main street to the church," Parsons said. "We want the city authorities to restore the public plaza and establish a buffer zone against any future encroachment attempts.” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/march11/27.33.html)
America fares no better than Europe at self-description and dealing with multiculturalism. Samuel Huntington, like President Kennedy before him described the United States of America as a Nation of Immigrants. For “an anguished, frantic, over-burdened academic producing scholarly works”, the description was a travesty of truth which condemned Native Americans and African Americans to non-existence by leaving them outside the pale of this popular description.
Native Americans were native or indigenous to the continent and Bering Strait theory notwithstanding cannot be termed immigrants; and the forcible transportation of Africans to the American continent can hardly be termed immigration. If we discount from Huntington’s description the blatant falsehood of calling European Christian genociders, invaders, freebooters, settlers-by-force, slave holders and slave traders as immigrants, what remains of the American populace – Germans, Irish, Scandinavians, Latin Americans and Asians - fits the description. America is a nation of immigrants.
America could not be described in terms of race, ethnicity or religion. Except for Native Americans who belonged to the soil, the rest of the populace was not bound to the nation by primordial, umbilical ties. Huntington and the White House had to confront the truth that there were powerful “sub-national, dual-national and transnational” identities which were always simmering at the top of the people’s consciousness.
That people feel a permanent sense of belonging to each other only when they share a common sense of belonging to the soil is a truth that is always fudged, swept under the carpet and rejected outright; but the truth keeps coming back as is the way of truth.
Faced by the sobering truth that there was nothing that could hold the artificial entity called United States of America together, the ruling elite was compelled to invent the onion called American Creed. When Huntington peeled the onion he was forced, like the Pope to conclude that America was white Christian!
The ‘American Creed’ as initially formulated by Thomas Jefferson and elaborated by many others, is widely viewed as the crucial defining element of American identity. The Creed, however, was the product of the distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers of America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Key elements of that culture include the English language; Christianity; religious commitment; English concepts of the rule of law, the responsibility of rulers, and the rights of individuals; and dissenting Protestant values of individualism, the work ethic, and the belief that humans have the ability and the duty to try to create a heaven on earth, a “city on a hill.” Historically, millions of immigrants were attracted to America because of this culture and the economic opportunities it helped to make possible. (Samuel Huntington, Who are We, pp xv-xvi)
Huntington admits –
· American Creed is the essence of American nationalism
· Nationalism is culture
· Culture derives from religion
· American Nationalism is a mixture of Anglo-Protestant cultural and political values like individualism and the religious commitment of the individual
· This cultural nationalism, if it finds no favour with non-Christians as it doesn’t, is made attractive with ‘economic opportunities’ seasoning
· America, like any other Christian country or society is only a sum total of individuals
White Christian America, after inventing the binding glue called American Creed realized that the glue did not always work and its populace kept looking back wistfully for the nation they had left behind for the American Dream. The American state needed something more than the voluntary code of the American Creed to survive; it crafted the Oath of Allegiance, which immigrants had to take when they opted for American citizenship; and the Pledge of Allegiance which adults and school children took every morning around the American flag.
The Oath of Allegiance is intended to make a new-convert-to-the-faith of the immigrant – reject all previous fidelity to previous gods, reject totally your previous gods and worship none but this one true god.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform non-combatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
So help me God! Which God?
The Pledge of Allegiance, which is an oath of loyalty to the American flag and the American Republic, composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally accepted by the American Congress in 1942, reads as follows –
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The American state is one state under god and indivisible! Considering the numbers of dictators America has supported, the violence it has triggered and sustained around the world, the separatist and secessionist movements and groups it has funded and encouraged, the nations it has torn apart and divided, the Oath and Pledge of Allegiance is a telling commentary on the Abrahamic monotheisms.
The words of the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance are perfect examples of monotheist intolerance which is the very antithesis of multiculturalism or pluralism. They also testify as nothing else can, that monotheist religions, ideologies and countries want for themselves what they deny to others.
Monotheist religions and political ideologies have brought the following conflicting dichotomies into political discourse –
Nation – State
Nationality – Citizenship
Nationalism – Patriotism
Multiculturalism/Pluralism – Diversity
These conflicting, warring dichotomies arose from the political objectives which lie at the core of all three Abrahamic religions; the Abrahamic religious objective to destroy all other ways of life, all other worldviews, all other religions and faiths, all other gods, all other objects of loyalty and reverence.
It is the Abrahamic politico-religious culture which has made possible what Hindu dharma rejects strongly –
· That the state does not derive from the nation
· That a person’s nationality can be different from one’s citizenship
· That nationalism and patriotism can be two entirely different things and
· That multiculturalism is the complete opposite of diversity.
(To be continued)