Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “maths”, came with a note:
This week’s comic was provoked by an article written by the Rev Giles Fraser. If you can bear it, here it is.
It’s a piece by Fraser in the Guardian, “Assimilation threatens the existence of other cultures,” that begins this way and then goes downhill:
This week a doctor from north London was telling me about one of his patients, a lad of 20 who has lived in the borough of Hackney all his life. He was born here and grew up here. And he’s a bright boy – yet he speaks only a few very rudimentary words of English. The language he speaks at home and at school is Yiddish. Some may be appalled by the insularity of the community in which this young man was raised. But I admire it. In particular, I admire the resilience of a community that seeks to maintain its distinctiveness and recognises, quite rightly, that assimilation into the broader culture would mean the gradual dilution, and the eventual extinction, of its own way of life. It is no surprise to me that the ultra orthodox are thriving, with high birth rates and predictions that they will be constitute a majority of the Jewish population within 20 years. They have refused assimilation.
It adds immeasurably to the richness and diversity of how life is apprehended that not everyone sees the world in the same way. It is mind-expanding to be challenged by those who commit to another way of life. What a miserably grey one-dimensional place it would be if the dominant model of middle-of-the-road liberal secular capitalism became the only acceptable way of living.
And Jesus’s point is right on the money. It goes without saying that plenty of people have partly assimilated, retaining good parts of their culture while abjuring the bad. Restricting Jewish kids from any exposure to secular culture, or even the secular world, does not increase the diversity of life; it restricts the exposure of kids to that diversity and narrows their choices in life.
What Fraser is really getting at, of course, is Islam, as is clear in his last paragraph:
Of course, the barely concealed target of Casey’s report is Muslims. They are serial offenders in their resistance to the hegemony of integration. They won’t allow the Borg-like values of secular liberalism to corrode their distinctiveness. They seek to maintain their religious convictions and way of life. They refuse all that nonsense about religion being a private matter. They stand strong against the elimination of diversity. And we are all immeasurably richer for their resistance.
“Borg-like values of secular liberalism”? What about the repressive values of Islam: its rejection of gays and apostates, and its pervasive oppression of women. Do we want that kind of diversity?
The Guardian is increasingly becoming a liberal defender of illiberalism. It is the Huffington Post of the UK.