Letter: Repression is repression, whatever culture it comes from

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CATHERINE PEPINSTER ("Rid us of the canker of compromise", 9 August) criticises Bishop Jack Spong for saying, "I'm not going to cease to be a 20th-century person for fear of offending somebody in the Third World".

Bishop Spong is right to speak as he did. Great harm has been done by the well-intended but muddled liberalism that accepts all moral and cultural views as having equal worth. To condemn the African bishops for their backward-facing views on homosexuality is not cultural imperialism, it is simple common sense.

Try reversing the equation: would Ms Pepinster argue that an ethnic white community has the right to discriminate against Africans because racism is a part of its traditional culture? The fact that the UK has welcomed people of every colour and culture is in itself prima-facie evidence that our society is more progressive than most. People flock here from around the world precisely because Britain is a more tolerant and enlightened place than those they fled. We should not feel obliged to adjust our culture to the repressive and superstitious attitudes that are in large part responsible for the sorry state of the Third World.

LAWRENCE LIVERMORE

London W11

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