Monday, February 11, 2008

The Archbishop's comments and dangers of cultural relativism

The Archbishop of Canterbury's recent comments on Sharia illustrate just how extreme the creed of cultural relativism (or "cultural diversity" as it's better known) has become. We have now arrived at a point where the authorities turn a blind eye to "honour killings" and where a polygamist can claim benefits for his multiple wives despite polygamy being illegal. You could easily argue that we already have a parallel (albeit unofficial) legal system.

This is an appropriate time to honour the memory of a certain person called Sir Charles Napier. During the days of the British Empire, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" -- the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier responded to those who argued for their cultural customs:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
There was a time when we believed in having one law for everybody, but 60 years after the end of the Raj, we no longer believe in our own laws.