Does being politically correct require being dishonest? It seems like no matter where you go in today’s society that truth is at a premium. So called “reality TV” shows are often staged, with careful attention paid to casting the right people and even partially scripting certain pieces; advertisements show us unattainable photoshopped models wearing something we should purchase but will not look the same on our more round bodies. Just the term “politically correct” insinuates to people that what you are hearing is a watered down, polite version of the facts to the point that it may not be 100% true. If you don’t believe me, I simply ask “do you believe 100% of what politicians say?”
While I understand that being PC is standard operating procedure in modern culture, I’m not so sure that it should be for Christians. The majority of Christian faithful will agree that we should not water down the gospel in any way, but what about the rest of our lives? I recently encountered an employee who had met with her manager to discuss her recent performance and the possibility of promotion into a new position that had opened in the department. The employee was telling how encouraged she felt as she left the meeting where the manager told her that her performance was fantastic and that she should definitely apply to the position as interviews were starting soon for fair consideration of all candidates. However, what the employee didn’t know is that I was aware the manager had already made a selection for the position and we were simply working out the details. Was the manager simply being PC or more appropriately telling a convenient untruth to maintain the relationship with the employee? Is that any different from a doctor or nurse telling a patient “this will only hurt a little bit” all the while knowing it will be rather painful?
In his sermon on the mount, Jesus states that if you think about killing someone in your heart or lust after a woman in your heart, you have committed murder or adultery. Therefore couldn’t the same be said for the PC convenient untruth; the little white lies we allow ourselves to share? If adultery or murder done in our heart and bears no actual action is considered the same as acting out, shouldn’t the same be true for lying whether big or small?
Few will deny that Jesus came as a countercultural force. His actions in life called into question how and why things were done. He spoke plainly and challenged people to address issues in their own lives that prohibited them from living kingdom lives. If you ask practically any Christian to speak on a topic such as human trafficking or poverty they will gladly and boldly share his or her convictions. Ask the same individual if they will do the same on the issue of homosexuality, abortion, or women’s ordination and the response will be more nervous hesitation. Our culture has backed us into a corner of political correctness from which few people are willing to venture. As a result, I believe that we as Christians are no longer living the Christ centered life we claim. Not so long as we’re willing to tell convenient untruths and essentially lie to each other and ourselves.
Therefore, my question to you is, has political correctness led to the ineffectiveness of Christians in spreading the gospel message? Are we no longer the counter cultural force that spread like wildfire in the early centuries of the church? Should we as followers of Jesus follow his instructions of Matthew 18 in discussing tough topics with one another? Why are we so afraid to do so if we aren’t?
For the sake of argument compare the stories of Abram and Pharaoh (Gen 12) vs Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)