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How can I be a faithful Christian in such a “politically correct” society?

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November 15, 2017

How can I be a faithful Christian in such a “politically correct” society?

How can I be a faithful Christian in such a politically correct society? It is clear to most of us that we now, more than ever, live in a world filled with hypocrisy and contradiction. All those around us will boldly express what seems at first glance to be righteous. However, we later on discover that it is all lies and corruption. We hear of what is “good” and “honourable,” only to discover that these are all simply mechanisms to divide and control the masses. North America prides itself on freedom, yet many feel tied down to unwritten standards of life. Moreover, more than any other time in history, there is a movement that fuels much of this confusion: political correctness. Today, being politically correct, or PC, is understood as adopting language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. Again, taking this definition at face value almost seems to be in line with the message of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, between what is written on paper, what is said publicly, and what is actually observed in society, there is evidently a huge discrepancy that demands an explanation.

In a 2016, according to survey from the University of Virginia and Gallup, an American-based analytics and research company, 73% of US respondents believed that political correctness is a serious problem. In other surveys done in the US, around 60% say that Americans need to be able to speak frankly about controversial issues and problems even if it may come across as offensive.[1] The real dilemma is that, according to the new standard of political correctness, everyone should refrain from communicating anything that can potentially hurt a person’s feelings, cause distress, or in any way, offend them. This is especially true when dealing with issues on sex, gender, race, and religion. The real question is, “What are we called to do as Christians when dealing with issues that are taboo and provocative, especially when our Christian stance on certain topics may make some people uncomfortable?” Should we refrain from preaching the gospel? Should we not speak what we know to be true? Ought we even keep silent when we, as Christians, are offended and disturbed by all that is taught and preached around us?

Interestingly enough, political correctness began as a means to protect people from being hurt. Nonetheless, it seems more and more like what was meant to be a defense has now become a weapon. Political correctness has somehow become an excuse to silence people who have something to say and many are afraid to speak up in fear of being tagged as politically incorrect.

As Christians, we must be reminded of what Our Lord taught His disciples and how that teaching applies more than ever to us today. Towards to end of His ministry, the Lord explained to the disciples that the world was going to hate them because they belonged to God. Just as the world had rejected Christ and His message, so also they would reject the disciples and their message! This threat of being unpopular or even persecuted never stopped the apostles or the early Church from spreading the gospel. Saint Paul, when addressing the people of Corinth, explains that Christ, who is seen as foolish to some, is truly the wisdom of God that sets the standard of all Truth!

 

 “20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1: 20-25).”

How important is this message to be heard and understood! The standard of wisdom, truth and righteousness has been, is, and always will be God. Now, if all that is honourable is found in God, how is it that we as Christians can possibly remain silent to the foolishness of the world? The real challenge then is not whether or not we ought to speak the truth – since the Gospel clearly compels us to do so with confidence – but rather the challenge is to know HOW we ought to speak the truth?

In the eyes of the world, Christianity has become a sort of exclusive club for people who claim to be self-righteous. People often see so-called-Christians who judge others and hold signs up in public squares that condemn groups of people for what they do and for whom they associate with. Because of this Christianity is often perceived as being bigoted and intolerant, and yet, this could not be any further from the truth of what our Faith calls Christians to be. Saint Paul says, in Ephesians 4:15, that we ought to “speak the truth in love.” He is calling us to the same standard that Christ himself set! Our Lord was sympathetic to sinners and outcasts. He loved in ways Humanity had never known and He extended His compassion to those that the world hated. And yet always while loving the sinner, He also clearly condemned the sin. His message to all was “be healed, receive the gift that I want to offer you.” He always commanded those He loved to “sin no more.” Christ’s message to the broken world was never “I accept you as you are – no need for change,” but rather, “I love you, I will heal you, and in the process, I will transform you.” A real change! A turning around from sin to righteousness, a true repentance!

We therefore ought to have the same message of love, change, and hope for the world, but all this should be done with love! Speaking the truth in love is not just about what we speak, but also how we speak it! It is not enough to spread the message of the Gospel; we must also be an incarnate image of Him who gave the world that very message of salvation. If our message rubs people the wrong way, although it is spoken in wisdom, humility, and love, then our conscience ought to be clear and at peace. We have done what is requested of us from our God.

Saint Anthony the Great, once said, while speaking to his disciples, prophesied of a dark time when all wisdom in this world would be turned upside down, that “a time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us’ (St. Anthony the Great, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers).”

We are truly living in those times of wisdom being up for redefinition, of common sense unfortunately being not as common as we would like it to be, and of personal agenda driving the motives of many who claim to be defending what is honourable. As Christians, let us be reminded that we do not seek to be identified as politically correct, but rather, as loving, compassionate, wise, and honest. We seek to be called CHRISTIANS!

Remember, know your faith, live your faith, and teach your faith.

 

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