/ Nathan Eshelman

The Myth of Multiculturalism

Celebrate diversity!

Embrace multiculturalism!

These are two of the tag lines in our culture. Americans loves multiculturalism and all things diverse. Have you ever noticed this? At offices across the country Human Resource Departments want to instruct employees on how to co-exist. Nurses and other medical professionals take classes on how to interpret communication from diverse cultural experiences. Public schools make sure to spend important instruction time teaching about various cultures. We love this stuff! We eat it up!

May I let you in on a little secret? Multiculturalism is a lie.

Now, I don’t mean that multiculturalism is a lie in a descriptive sense. It’s clear that many cultures co-exist within our country. This is seen even as we look at the South, East Coast, Midwest, and Left Coast. We have Asians, South Americans, Europeans, Africans, and Oceanians (is that a word?) that co-exist in the USA. There are cultural differences with which you could fill the comment section of this post. Multiculturalism is a lie in a normative sense. Kevin Bloor, in his book, The Definitive Guide to Political Ideologies defines normative multiculturalism as a culture “at ease with the rich tapestry of human life and the desire amongst people to express their own identity in the manner they see fit.”

Multiculturalism, in a normative sense, is a lie.

I have experienced this lie first hand. This summer my family and I spent six weeks traveling across this great country. We spent time in over a dozen states and saw some incredible places. Diversity in the USA is in the landscape, not in the culture. You can get Starbucks from California to Pennsylvania (with the exception of the I-80 in Nebraska) as you travel  on the interstate. You can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same handful of restaurants. You can purchase gasoline from the same few oil giants. Hipsters look the same in California as they do in Indiana (there are less of them in Indiana). Teens wear the same style of pants, sunglasses, tee-shirts, and accessories. Even the font of the freeways and interstate signs are the same (Highway Gothic)... the font even!

Multiculturalism in our country is a myth. Monoculturalism abounds. There are different colors of people, different languages, some variations on things, and pockets of the truly diverse. But let’s face it... We are monocultural and we like it that way. Multiculturalism may be the desire of our secular culture, but that desire is losing to our consumer-driven monoculture.

Why is multi-culturalism failing? Violating the tenth commandment (thou shalt not covet) and “celebrating” diversity don’t go well together.

There will come a day when we will truly see multiculturalism and it will be free from all of the Christless diversity promoted by our country.

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)

The Book of Revelation assures us that there will be a time when Christians will be able to celebrate multiculturalism. (Take a deep breath, Christian. Now breathe out slowly. That last statement does not make me a liberal.) Let me say it one more time, “The Book of Revelation assures us that there will be a time when Christians will be able to celebrate multiculturalism. The Lord Jesus Christ is building a Kingdom from every tongue, tribe, and nation of the world, and those distinctions will continue and be perfected in heaven. We will not be enfolded into some vanilla, wool-suit-wearing, beige culture. Cultural distinctions will continue and will add to our understanding of the glory of God!

So as you drive across the I-70 or the I-80 take some time to think about how beautiful our country is and give thanks. But also take some time to lament the same old green signs and Highway Gothic font that you will see for all 2500 miles. Take some time to sorrow over  the fact that you can get a Caramel Macchiato in Nevada and in Illinois. Let it pain your soul that you can eat at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and Panera Bread Company for lunch your whole way across the nation.

We don’t celebrate multiculturalism. We give it lip-service. We celebrate monoculturalism in our country driven by violating the 10th commandment. Christian, look forward to the day when you can truly celebrate diversity. Our King is building a Kingdom that will eternally be multicultural. Worshipers from every tongue, tribe, and nation will be there! For this we can give praise... in any language.

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in Orlando, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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