When I was a kid, I'd often sit with my father watching the old TV series The Untouchables. It starred Robert Stack as Elliott Ness, the leader of a group of FBI G-men who fought organized crime. Seems like most of the bad guys had names similar to mine—they all ended in a vowel, and they spoke the same language of my family. I'm a first generation Italian-American ...both my parents were born in Italy. My paternal grandparents lived with us, as well. So, we were very Italian, complete with a chicken coop my grandfather built, the wine cellar, and the all-day family fests that regular people called Sunday lunch.
Anyway, during this one episode that introduced yet another criminal to the story line with an Italian surname, my father loudly proclaimed his displeasure as to why everyone had to be of Italian origin. To which I replied once, "Dad, probably because they were."
What can you say to that?
Today's "bad guys" are radical Islamic terrorists, and they can be of any nationality. It's now more about ideology than ethnicity. Radical Islam has been "sold" to many around the globe, so you can be homegrown citizens from France or the United States and still be subject to their recruitment strategies and warped ideology. Which makes it even more dangerous.
Not too long ago, when certain law enforcement authorities were found to be infiltrating extremist Islamic groups that may have potential ties to terrorist activity, the outcry of profiling was heard nationwide.
So, the politically correct police reacted like my father, who felt offended because people were simply stating the obvious—most of the organized crime bosses were Italian. Those names weren't made up. There was no plot to defame those of Italian heritage.
But, in our current PC world, we are told to stay away from offending anyone, regardless of what is obvious or even true. We are now hearing that this may be the case in which neighbors of the husband-wife terrorist team in San Bernardino did not contact authorities about their suspicious behavior for fear of being called racists. Or intolerant.
That's called "tolerance." But is it really tolerance? Is denying what is obvious tolerance? Or is it what I call "intellectual dishonesty."
And here is what has been so disastrous about political correctness. Tolerance is no longer two sides of a coin. It's been redefined and turned into the suppression of opinion or even stating what is obvious by the ones who seem to hold the politically correct power. Now, what good does that do? Who does that protect?
In light of current events, that mindset protects no one.
And now, in light of the rash of recent acts of terrorism here and abroad by individuals with ties to radical Islam, government surveillance of these groups may increase. I mean, where else are you going to look first?
When all the Mafia family bosses were being targeted for surveillance, the FBI was not wiretapping local hangouts of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I suspect there may be some of you who are not familiar with this unique sorority of flag- waving, mom and apple-pie descendants of those who fought in the Revolutionary War, and who could not be further from the stereotypical Mafiosi persona.
Just as most of the members of the Mafia are Italian, and members of the Russian mob are, well, Russian, most of the Islamic extremists are Muslims. You cannot escape the obvious. But political correctness has preferred to turn a blind eye toward the obvious for fear of "offending" people.
An unfortunate result of malevolent behavior of those from various ethnic backgrounds can often lead to stereotypes. And those stereotypes lead to other unfortunate incidents, sometimes at the expense of the innocent.
In my book, The Politically Incorrect Jesus, I use the example of how Jesus dealt with the politically correct police and mindsets of his day when He encountered similar politically correct situations. He would state the obvious all the time. Like when He confronted the Pharisees and said that they were like whitewashed tombs because their words sounded high and mighty but they had no love inside of them for the people (Matthew 23:27-28).
Or when He healed individuals on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14), He was going against the PC status of His day. Those in power could not allow those kinds of comments from Jesus to be promulgated among the people, regardless if they were true. Why? Simply put....
The truth is dangerous because it is contagious.
And that's why we must do away with pc mindsets that would prevent stating the obvious and what is true. Just as those of Italian heritage comprised most of who was in the mafia, so we must be as forthright about the truth of radical Islam and who comprises that group.
We must state it truthfully, and it must be discussed in the public square. Regardless of whether it contradicts some of the politically correct positions we are admonished to hold.
So, let the obvious be obvious, but let the intent in stating it be rooted in God's grace and peace. Let truth stand on own and it will infect everyone who would listen. And when that happens, it will separate the good guys from the bad guys.