Is the 'Western' way of life the only culture worthy of respect?

In recent commentary, columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. bemoans the triumph of multiculturalism, which he defines as a pernicious form of left-wing opposition to cultural assimilation and the erasure of cultural differences ("Multiculturalism is the enemy of democracy," June 2).

Pluralism, on the other hand, he defines as the benign adoption of American values, practices and perspectives by people and cultures everywhere.

One might argue with the condemnation of "multiculturalism" as Mr. Ehrlich defines it. But what caught my attention was the evidence he provides for his claim: a 2006 Pew poll in which a "shocking" 81 percent of British Muslims "viewed themselves as Muslims first and a citizen of their country second." Let the hand-wringing begin.

If American evangelical Christians were given the same poll, might not they too answer that they first identify themselves as Christian, and only second as American? In other words, for someone who is serious about their religion, doesn't God come first, with country a close second?

Mr. Ehrlich implies that to be a Muslim is to hold bad values that are inconsistent with a modern, Western way of life. No doubt, all sorts of objectionable acts have been committed in the name of Islam, but then, a good number of equally objectionable acts that are not consonant with a modern, Western way of life (such as persecuting gays, bombing abortion clinics) have also been perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

Elizabeth Fixsen, Savage