Vital Signs

Christophobia and Its Discontents

During Pope Benedict’s 2010 visit to Britain, the English philosopher Roger Scruton provided an apt description of the country’s true religion:

The official culture, represented by the BBC, the TV chat shows and the opinion pages of the quality press, is neither Christian nor English, but “multicultural”—and even Pope Benedict ended his visit with praise for the multicultural identity that has emerged in our country.  Nobody really knows what multiculturalism is, or how you belong to it or affirm it in your daily life.  But it is the official religion of the British Isles.  The main sign of this is that less and less people in public life bear witness to the Christian faith or express any opinion in matters of religion other than a vague hope that the many faiths will learn to live together peacefully.  You can be outspoken about religion, but only if you are an atheist, and only if your target is Christianity—the once official faith, whose loosened grip exposes it to assault from all who might once have been obliged to endorse its Credo.

The rise of multiculturalism and the rise of hostility to Christianity are related.  And while Scruton is correct that the precise contours of multiculturalism are ill defined, we do know that it involves an exaltation of non-Western culture and a diminishment of Western culture.  For this reason, we hear endlessly...

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