Although I have lived and worked in a number of regions in the world my home is Ulster.  My homeland has had its share of problems (which is well documented) but in reality our shared cultural and religious history is Judeo-Christian.
I am an Ulster Scot and I love my cultural and religious historical roots.  Although I am unashamedly an Ulster Scot I recognise that our cultural identity has been molded by our history and that this history is not always what we would have wanted it to be.  Yet at the same time the history of the Ulster Scots is one that has made a great (positive) impact on the development of Western culture and all that is good within our culture.  This is because we were, and are, from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Western culture is not perfect by any means but our overriding belief and commitment to individual freedoms underpins how we think and live and is the basis of democracy.  Although many commentators describe Western culture as post Christian our culture has been molded by Christianity.  It does not matter whether you are a Christian in the classical or traditional sense, whether you believe in God or do not believe in God, Western society and culture allows the individual the freedom to live their lives as they see fit under the law.

The Express quotes a Home Office strategy document :

“Many people in this country of different faiths follow religious codes and practices and benefit from the guidance they offer.“The overriding principle is these rules, practices and bodies must operate within the rule of law in the UK.Western culture is a combination of many cultures and nationalities (but a common factor is that it has its modern roots in European Judeo-Christian culture) and the Ulster Scots had a significant role to play in the development of modern Western civilisation.  This can be seen in their contribution to the formation of the United States of America and its subsequent development.  We can see from our history that Ulster Scots have been immigrants many times.  We immigrated to Ulster and from there we spread across the globe.  The Ulster Scots Community Network puts it well: Mined in Scotland – Forged in Ulster – Exported Worldwide

So the Ulster Scot community knows what it means to be immigrants and I am married to a first generation immigrant to the UK, and my children are the children of an immigrant.  Our family is a mixed race family and I would say we are a perfect example of what multiculturalism should be.  We both love our cultures but we both understand that culture is mutable and has changed over time and will continue to change.

There is value in every culture but there are also parts of culture (every culture) that may not be desirous.  Cultural norms can clash and each cultural norm may not, and does not, have equal merit.  For example the practice of Suttee or SatiThis was the practice of a widow throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre or committing suicide in another way after her husband’s death.  The British administration in India made a value judgment and made the practice illegal.  Did this make the law a racist law?  Of course not.  Was it interference in the cultural norms of the day?  Of course it was.  Were they right in doing this?  Yes.  A more modern example is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  Where cultures meet there is going to be clashes between the different life and world views.  It is unavoidable.

What Western culture and practice dictates is that everyone has freedom to practice their own culture and religion within the law and that compulsion (especially with religious belief) is unacceptable.  Discrimination towards an individual, or group of individuals, because they are different in belief or practice is wrong and we have protection under the law.  We are free to disagree in any sphere of life, and practice our beliefs within the law.  Western society (culture) has made value judgments – just like the one above – and we should not be ashamed of these value judgments.  We need to be tolerant and welcoming, an inclusive society, to those that come and live among us; but this needs to be within our common value system (which has developed over thousands of years).  Rather than being ashamed of our cultural identity we should rejoice in it (after all it makes us who we are).

Originally posted 2016-06-22 20:13:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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