Opposed to each other are the ideologies of multiculturalism and kinism (and suchlike). Yet neither is the way of Christ, and it is this way that must prevail in the law and government of nations.
A nation cannot survive that is no nation. There must be something to bind the people together as one nation. Multiculturalism can furnish nothing to supply this want, for several nations join together not through a common commitment to their several disintegration but through a common culture, patiently built. Such a culture will not erase the regional differences and loyalties but bind the several up in one. For the heavenly city, this one is Christ the King, who holds the authority of all and supplies the happiness of all, and in whom all the peoples and all creation hold together. Such a deep commonality transcends the things that distinguish one people from another; but the ideologies of the world are not such a commonality.
Indeed, not even a papacy, claiming the fullness of Christ’s authority on earth, can rule the world and unite its peoples. Nor does the Turkish sultan and his caliphate have the power and authority to hold universal imperium and dominium. The authority that Christ holds in heaven is held by him alone, and on earth he gives this power to no one man. He was never succeeded by one man, nor was his power ever given to one. His power has been vested in the entire Church, by the presence of the Holy Ghost, and no man has any authority at all in the Church except as representing the people. And as governors he first appointed twelve apostles, signifying the twelve tribes of Israel; and thereafter, through human constitutions, the bishops to defend the doctrine of the faith. This is a monarchy, whose only universal head is Christ himself. Under him to preach the faith are bishops, and to protect it with the sword are civil governors. He brooks no rivals: thou shalt have no other gods before me.
And yet the Jews and the Greeks were different. Had they any separate bishops? No, the locality principle was to testify to the one true Church in which all believers are in Christ in a heavenly manner, and to regard one another as brethren in their earthly dealings. So, though Jew and Gentile kept each his language and customs, Jew and Gentile had their wall of partition broken down between them. St Paul says the mystery, now revealed unto God’s holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, is this: that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. So a Chinese girl can marry into a French family and become French while using the gifts of her Chinese heritage; and a White American girl can marry into a Black American family and become Black while contributing the gifts of her White American heritage. Upon this God has placed the highest seal of approval for his Church:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
So a godly commonwealth will look, both within itself and (because it is not the whole Body of Christ) toward the other nations. But see, this is not what a multiculturalist envisions. When my aunt married a Frenchman, they would not have asked that she even try to learn French. No, she was every bit as French as those who were born French, and she should reject the imposture of the majority culture. Can such a thing be endured in a single household, let alone a republic? No, she learned to speak French with both her husband and her in-laws, and she took up French cooking as well as Chinese, and her children she brought up speaking French and some Chinese. Her husband, who loves her and her culture, is a Sinophile and occasionally makes jokes in Cantonese. My older cousin sees himself more simply as French, though he can speak some Cantonese; his sister, despite actually speaking less Cantonese, sees herself as Chinese as well.
So far, perhaps, a kinist will agree. Interethnic marriage, after all, is only the extension of new blood ties. But what applies to the family applies to the nation too. There are French cultural forms – such as the French language – that all must learn to be fully integrated into French society, but even regionally there are Bretons and Basques, each with their own ways of living and talking about life. To be received well, a Chinese immigrant needs to learn French as well as he can, and to adopt the civil customs that are used by the French; but the French need to show hospitality to a Chinese family whose expectations differ from their own. In time, even without losing its Chinese identity, that Chinese family can become French.
Still, the French will necessarily be insulted if a guest who hopes to be treated like a Frenchman hasn’t the slightest interest in French civilization. In France, moreover, fait comme chez toi is not the order of the day, and one does much better to show respect for the native customs and accept the kindness of the host. Is it White domination for a newcomer to learn and observe the ways of the host people? No. Until there was a recognizably French way to be Muslim, one might even refrain from building minarets. (Or, until there was a recognizably Chinese way to be Christian, one might refrain from building church bell towers with bells in them.) These are good manners: the one who settles in France must learn how to show respect.
In the United States, making oneself at home is somewhat more accepted. It is, perhaps, more American. Even so, one should not build a large Hindu temple complex right on the town square without regard for the integrity of the urban fabric that already exists. Making oneself at home in the American way tends to involve staying out of people’s way. Discreetly placed shrines inside the home would be much better received: they might appear unusual or even eccentric to most Americans, but not threatening to American cultural identity. So, though American society is more relaxed than French society, it has its own claims.
But the object of all this civility is the end to which God has ordered all civil constitutions: the honour of his holy Name. Multiculturalists worship at the altar of the modern (super)state; kinists fail to honour the mission of Christ to unite all peoples in his gospel. The former overestimate the breadth of their human selves, but the latter underestimate the breadth of their communion on earth with folk of other cultures. For nothing but Christ, the image of the invisible God, can bring the human race together at the basic level of its humanity; but the will of God the Father will be done in earth as it is in heaven. What is done in this life, in this age, will not be perfect; but the perfect virtues of Christ are infused by his Spirit into all who are in him by faith, that he may also be in them. So what we do on earth is a sign, and Christians who neglect it hide the gospel under a bushel.
In Europe the dynastic houses made alliances that drew their peoples together. King James I of England (and VI of Scotland) gave his daughter Elizabeth in marriage to Frederick V, Elector Palatine. To King James, says Kevin Curran, the marriage was ‘one step in a larger process of achieving domestic and European concord’. In fact, it so knit together two Reformed Christian realms that, when Frederick was attacked by the virulently anti-Protestant Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg for accepting the crown of Bohemia (which action started the Thirty Years’ War), many English Protestants were eager to fight on his behalf while King James preferred to negotiate to salvage what he could. The kinship between London and Heidelberg was based not on race but on religion: their common struggle was for the survival of the Protestant faith. Indeed, when King James’s royal House of Stuart eventually failed to produce any royal issue, the monarch who succeeded Queen Anne was George of Hanover, grandson of Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart. Necessarily I have related a simplified version of things, but I think it conveys the essence of the truth.
There is no principled end to the kinist notion of keeping to one’s own racial kind. In the end, marriage is the kind of thing that depends on building a common culture: neither similarity nor difference in themselves determine the will, nor is the blood of man to be reckoned greater than the blood of Christ. What would it ever matter for a Christian to marry someone who was of the same cultural heritage but denied the Christian faith? Such a marriage would be less happy than a marriage between two Protestants of otherwise very different cultures. The cultural differences are not something love and understanding cannot surmount by the power of the Holy Ghost. Likewise a commonwealth, like a family, can maintain a coherent identity without demanding that minority cultural practices be effaced or isolated.
I understand that some folk of European extraction feel culturally beleaguered. Sometimes I do, too, as I see self-hating Chinese Americans not knowing what to do with their Chinese heritage and, in their rush to apply their perception of biblical principles, viewing Chinese values and history with little sympathy. In fact, multicultural sometimes means the worst of pop White, ungrounded and bearing no relation to anyone’s father. But the way to strengthen the cultures of our fathers is not to keep ourselves neatly separate but to commit ourselves anew to handing down the knowledge we have received. To renew tradition and give it to Christ, we need not think ancestry and family are the sole or even the primary ground of our concentric circles of concern. No, the Body of Christ is an organism far more complex in its workings, and the Blood of Christ surprises us far more with the kinds of people it urges us to befriend. The honour claims of ancestry and the charity claims of adoption, both given by God, need a far more interesting harmony than either kinists or multiculturalists propose.
For the two differ, and yet Christ is not an anti-Adam but the Second Adam. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. So we, too, shall through suffering be perfected unto the glory of our rightful Head, the sovereign over the human race. Leave multiculturalism and kinism to pagans; Christians have a better city for all creation to glimpse in their works, a bit of heaven to glimpse on earth. And one day the glimpses will become the blazing glory of the new Jerusalem. Let us not diminish the vision of St Paul, the vision of the reigning Christ:
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
God has arisen and judges the earth: for, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels, he has inherited all nations. Veni creator Spiritus. Amen.