Is Christianity compatible with Britain? Can you be Christian and British? Are the questions we should be asking after Tim Farron’s resignation as the leader of the Liberal Democrats. After years of being browbeaten and hounded by the both secular liberal left and right, Muslims in Britain are the only ones who have their Britishness questioned for holding firm to principles that are shared by other faith communities. I agree with Farron when he says we should not force our positions and opinions on others and we don’t begrudge others rights that we enjoy.
I firmly believe that attacks on Islam and Muslims are as much to do with the hatred of the other as they are to do with hatred of religion in general. Looks like the liberal and tolerant society we live in no longer tolerates people of religion.
“Islamist”, “Islamism”, it doesn’t matter, average Joe public and bigots don’t care, they see it only as Islam. They are not informed enough to make the distinction and don’t care to either. Ordinary Muslims are stuck between the devilish dogs of the Khawariji Daesh and pig ignorant bigoted Muslim haters. You can reason with neither one of them. I am at a loss for what the rest of us can do to stem this tide of hatred and division that has been unleashed. It is a pernicious poison, it infects and spreads quietly through suspicion and innuendo and it is taking hold of ordinary people who before would normally have no issue with Islam and Muslims, and would generally be immune to the bullshit pumped out by the Muslim haters and their media. Just how much worse can it get for us in the West?
ISIS/Daesh are winning, they are fuelling hatred and alienation of Muslims and pushing western governments into compromising their democratic ideals.
Whilst visiting the UAE with my father, I had a two hour bus journey from Al Ain to Sharjah so I decided to peruse my e-books on my iPhone. Some time ago, I downloaded The Works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Philosophy of Furniture is an essay in which Poe slates the nouveau riche of his country, America, as being tasteless in their choice of room and home decor whilst extolling the virtues of the English in this regard, saying “In the internal decoration, if not in the external architecture of their residences, the English are supreme.” He argues that Americans have no aristocracy of blood and this is then replaced by an aristocracy of the dollar and an ostentatious show of wealth, which he further argues is natural and inevitable. He also talks about how true nobility avoids “parvenu rivalry” and this urge of the nouveau riche to out do one another in extravagance transgresses the boundaries of taste.
He seemed to have a soft spot for the Turks though, but describes them as “in the dying agonies of taste” and he was clearly a fan of arabesque and abstract designs. In this short work many a nation is not spared his ferocious and pointed critique of their taste.
It’s a short essay well worth a read because his points and objections are extremely poignant.
And I’ll leave you with another quote to ponder: “It is an evil growing out of our republican institutions, that here a man of large purse has usually a very little soul which he keeps in it.”
The essay is available from Amazon: