“You can’t judge me!”––People misusing Jesus own words “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1) in order to at least intimidate someone into silence. To be sure, the context (vs. 1-5) of Jesus’ statement is not about criticism of a person’s belief or behavior, but rather about being a hypocrite––criticizing someone while sinning in the same way. Making a judgment or condemning sin was not and is not prohibited by Jesus. The apostle Paul repeatedly made judgments about sin and sinners (e.g. 1 Corinthians 5). But have you ever wondered what gave rise to the popularity of “You can’t judge me,” or at least “Do not utter your judgment out loud?” Today, this accepted “silence” is couched in an all-too-familiar term.
How’s your P.C. working? No! Not your personal computer, but political correctness. Through several centuries P.C. has changed meanings. Further, most of us never heard of it until relatively recently. However, since 1991 the media have been bathing us in its current usage. Although tired of hearing the term, I am sorely saddened by its practice, even by Christians. A broad spectrum of American society has become one of cowardly and submissive robots following P.C.! Why? What has caused this un-American … even unChristian characteristic? Having an understanding of P.C. will lead serious Christians to an introspection of their beliefs and thereby prompt each to have the right attitude toward P.C. and be in harmony with God.
In his 1991 University of Michigan commencement address, President George H.W. Bush spoke against “… a movement that would declare certain topics ‘off-limits,’ certain expressions ‘off-limits,’ even certain gestures ‘off-limits’….” In effect, his statement announced that a cynical and tyrannical foe threatened to obliterate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is now having an impact on Christendom. The warning had come from the mouth of the highest and most powerful elected official in the world––the U.S. president.
P.C. has become the cultural standard of “redefined” tolerance. At one time tolerance was the respect of others’ beliefs and practices even though a person did not accept them as valid or right. For example, when I joined the U.S.A.F. in the mid 1960s, it was only a matter of days before we were asking about one another’s faith. All of us were open about it. We obviously did not agree with one another’s beliefs, but we respected one another and each’s right to hold his beliefs. No one ridiculed the Catholic for making the sign of the cross at the mess hall. More so, in the days of my childhood, we were taught to tolerate the unbearable person and his unmannerly, even disrespectful, behavior. However, in the last couple decades, P.C. has become the guideline, or rather the hammer and anvil, of what is narrowly defined as acceptable versus unacceptable speech in almost every sphere of life. In other words the new tolerance is dictatorial tyranny. And it is worse than just speech or gestures as President Bush warned.
Respecting a person, even one who is abhorrent in character or belief, did not arise from man, but from God. He created all of us with an eternal spirit. Out of His unfathomable love for all of us, let alone the most despicable, Jesus sacrificed Himself to provide a way of reconciliation with God (Romans 5:8-11). In societies where the Bible has had significant influence, it became a cultural norm to respect one another because of Jesus’ love, even though we disagreed. What would happen if Jesus, the knowledge of His love, and the Bible were removed from that society?
That sinister thought began to slowly infect mankind, especially the Western world, via the Renaissance that began in Italy in the 1300s. Certainly, great progress was made in literature, art, and architecture, but it was also a radical shift from glorifying God and living for Him to man’s self indulgence. Europe began the slow trek of depending upon themselves rather than God. The 1600s brought the Age of Enlightenment (Age of Reason) and the influence of Voltaire and Descartes who essentially proclaimed that although God created this universe, He no longer had any involvement with it—Deism. Man was now on his own. At the same time the Age of Reason spawned a movement to criticize the Bible. Exercising “higher criticism” essentially made man the judge, deciding whether the Bible was from God or man.
The technological progress of the Industrial revolution (1700s-1800s) made mankind more self sufficient, prompting him to depend less upon God, and more upon himself for the answers of life. The advent of Darwin’s Origin of the Species in 1859 took God out of the creator role and completely naturalized our existence. The supernatural, i.e., God, was no longer needed.
By the end of the 1800s, higher criticism had de-constructed the Bible so as to declare that neither Jesus nor His apostles ever existed, thus the New Testament is irrelevant. In effect, this endorsed the naturalist premise that man is his own god.
These premises developing through several centuries began to come together as a new religion in the first quarter of the 20th century. In 1918, Curtis Reese, a Unitarian minister, evolutionist and leader among the “no-God men,” stated at an annual Unitarian Conference that God was “philosophically possible, scientifically unproved, and religiously unnecessary.” In 1930 Charles Potter, also a Unitarian minister, wrote Humanism: A New Religion . He stated, “Humanism is not the abolition of religion, but the beginning of real religion. By freeing religion of supernaturalism, it will release tremendous reserves of hitherto thwarted power.” Although it was first called religious humanism, in time it was renamed secular humanism, attempting to hide the fact that it is a religion.
In 1933, the first Humanist Manifesto established the foundational beliefs. Humanism made man his own god, who could make his own ethics and morality. By the mid 1970s, it was being taught surreptitiously in the high schools. In 1982, I forbid my 7th grade son from participating in a series of values clarification classes (read that “undermining parental values” class) teaching the kids to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Today’s teachers were taught that as students in these public schools and later were taught in public universities to teach the Humanist doctrine. Humanism became America’s de facto state religion!
Humanism was spawned within the context of modernism which states real truth is determined by observation (scientific method, et al). Spiritual and philosophical truths were deemed as not absolute, but relative. Morals and ethics are not absolute but changing as the situation dictated. Since man is his own god, making his own rules, he can change them at any time on any occasion (situation ethics).
If man is his own god, there is no real sin, only choices. That being the reality, who could say any one is ever really wrong? “You can’t judge me.” Enter Political Correctness …
For over 20 years, the P.C. doctrine has been applied to ensure no one offends another. It is the watchdog guarding the humanist choices from being offended by others’ different choices or beliefs. P.C. tries to protect the masses from those who know God and His absolute ways.
At the same time postmodernism began its prominent rise. It has the sense of equality––everything must be equal and equally accepted. For example, the U.S.A.F. Academy has worship services for Wiccans in the chapel because it is an equally valid religion. This principle applied to the religious and moral realm is an anathema, especially for anyone who believes in Jesus.
Postmodernism not only dictates respect for the other person’s choice (e.g. immorality), but it must be considered as equally valid as yours. In practice, this means a Christian cannot say homosexuality is wrong. It must be considered as valid as heterosexuality. This explains why there is an increasing opposition to any semblance of God, Jesus, and the Bible in the public realm.
In 1993, Dr. Fredrick Hill, a school administrator, stated, “It is the mission of public schools not to tolerate intolerances.” The United Nations’ “Declaration of the Principles of Tolerance” states, “Tolerance … involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism.”
Since Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), Postmodernism judges Jesus as unacceptable because He is intolerant of all other faiths. There is nothing in Christianity that postmodernism will tolerate. It now uses government to force folks to be tolerant—celebrate everything as equal and valid. Examples: (1) In 1995, Samuel Kent, a U.S. District court judge threatened any student with six months in jail who would mention the name of Jesus in the graduation prayer. (2) In 2010 Augusta State University told Jennifer Keeton her belief that homosexuality is immoral is incompatible with the counseling profession. She was ordered to undergo diversity sensitivity training and write about its impact on her beliefs. Today’s P.C. would be better called P.C.P. (Postmodern Correctness Police). Postmodernism moved P.C. from silent disagreement to forced validation. P.C. is the silencer and P.C.P. is the handcuffs.
King Solomon wrote, “And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10). The principle that everything is equally valid is not new.
Judah’s King Manasseh brought wholesale idolatry, including homosexual religious rituals (2 Kings 23:7) into God’s temple. All religions were valid except God’s. The Scriptures were literally lost (reflecting the disrespect for God), only to be found by his grandson Josiah some 20 years later (2 Kings 21-23). Evidently, Judah had such a humanist attitude some 100 years earlier. God said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). There was no right or wrong.
Grandpa says, “Know the devil is sly and often works slowly. Thus to judge righteously, one must study the Bible to know real right and wrong. Pray for boldness (Acts 4:29). Parents, it’s your responsibility to ensure your children are being reared righteously and not postmodernly (Ephesians 6:4).”
By Jim Mettenbrink