Thursday, December 29, 2016
The problem of political correctness. . .
Okay. Who said that? I doubt that you can guess. Some of you may presume it is some icon of conservativism who complains about the problems with modern society. You would be wrong. It is the maven of political incorrectness. You know him. The guy whose classic routine, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” has become a standard, one honored even by the Library of Congress for its National Recordings Registry. Yup, George Carlin. The date is 2004. By then his seven words deemed too risque for TV had become the ordinary vocabulary of grandmas and spinster high school English teachers.
Carlin did hit the nail on the head, however. This is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. “Censorship from the right is to be expected,” he argued in 2002, “[but] censorship from the left took me by surprise. And I’m talking, of course, about what originated as campus speech codes at eastern universities and has come to be called politically correct language.” Our institutions of higher education not only tolerate this intolerance but foster and encourage it. What is even more shocking is that vulgarity that once was the domain of censorship is now fully embraced in nearly all quarters. Sure, you may not hear all Carlin's seven words on TV but they have lost their edge, their bite, and their surprise. They are normal. The new targets of the speech police on campuses and in the media are those voices that dare to speak against the sacred cows of modernity -- things like the GLBTQ agenda or abortion rights or the so-called sciences of pop culture or the kind of relative truth which makes nothing and everything true at the same time.
If Carlin really wanted to shock or surprise America today, he might just speak out for orthodox Christianity because this has become the message the makes liberality so illiberal. Dare to speak about a God who becomes incarnate or of a Virgin who consents to the Divine saving will and purpose to mother the Son of God or a Savior who dies to set free those who claim not to be captive or to pay the price of sin in blood for a people who are not so sure it is sin at all. Dare to speak of the exclusive Gospel which is inclusive for all who come in repentance and by the power of the Spirit believe (not of themselves but by His power and might). Dare to say that life is sacred and must be protected from womb to grave and no one allowed to decide whose and when life can be ended. Dare to say that somethings are always wrong and others are always right and that your conscience is the voice of God addressing these rights and wrongs. Dare to suggest that sin and death remain the chief problems of life that cannot be written off by simply refusing to call them sins or making peace with death by holding happy parties that celebrate the life of the dead by remembering their most embarrassing moments. That is the new shock and awe that tests the boundaries of acceptability. And we who call ourselves Christian speak this unacceptable speech to the world at God's own bidding. No wonder Jesus said "when" you are persecuted or offered up for His sake -- and not "if". Yup, one of the seven most dangerous words today is the name of Jesus, the one name under heaven and on earth by which any and all who will be saved shall be saved...