Biblical worldview: Political correctness
Our mommas used to tell us that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” These days, as we live through the era of the “woke mind virus,” that maxim has morphed into something far more sinister.
Now, Big Brother government, corporate H.R. offices and Big Tech tell us that “If you don’t say exactly what we approve of, you won’t be able to say anything at all — because we will cancel you.”
While it’s an older term that has largely fallen out of circulation, there’s a name for this linguistic tyranny: Political correctness.
How should Christians think about political correctness? How does a biblical worldview help us understand, interpret and respond to the language games of the left? That’s what I want to address in this article.
First, what is political correctness (PC)? Charlton Heston, back in 1999, remarked that “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.” It’s an effort to “police the boundaries” of acceptable discourse and speech in our society — but according to rules and principles set by radical secularists and even Marxists.
In Well Versed: Biblical Answers To Today’s Tough Questions, pastor James Garlow explains how PC is used to silence and control people — primarily Christians. He writes:
“PC-ness is about control. Forcing people to use concocted terms defined by the political Left (progressives) obscures reality and purposefully creates confusion. It also puts people on the defensive by being constantly hyperconcerned about saying the wrong thing and being branded as a horrible, ignorant person. Terminology and perceived or imagined prejudice becomes the issue—not the subject at hand. That effect is intended to disarm any objective dealing with real issues, while making the problem the one who disagrees.”
Sound familiar? But where did this come from? This is no conspiracy theory; no, this is the truth — PC is a product of Marxism. Garlow goes on to explain the Marxist roots of modern-day PC like so:
“‘Political correctness’ has been in the making for about one hundred years thanks to Marxism, socialism, and secularism. In 1919, the Hungarian Marxist theoretician Georg Lukacs asked, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” Marxists across Europe responded with a determination to overcome traditional Christian morality that embraced patriotism, religion, and family values. What emerged was an ingenious plan to demonize and eventually deconstruct Western civilization through promotion of anti-moral behaviors and replace it with Marxism.”
As the Marxists transformed into “cultural Marxists” in America after World War II, they set out to destroy all of our traditional, Christian institutions — starting with the family. To do this, they took aim at Christian morals, values, and specifically sexual morality, pushing increasingly perverted and immoral understandings of sex and “love” and loudly demanding that society “accept” and “tolerate” these unbiblical views and expressions.
This demand for “tolerance” was really a demand for silence — silence from anyone who, according to their religious beliefs, refused to accept and celebrate abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, etc. The new tolerance was really intolerance.
Garlow explains that the “progressive Left would use the new ‘liberating tolerance’ to advance its own brand of intolerance … If you don’t think so, dare to say the wrong thing, and you could have your life destroyed by the PC police, even if what you are saying is demonstrably factual and true.”
As the decades have passed, political correctness and “tolerance” have been wielded as deadly weapons by the left to shut down anyone who disagrees with their radical agenda. If you dare defend traditional marriage, speak out against abortion, refuse to use “gender pronouns,” or even call a “trans woman” a “man” (which that is exactly what a “trans woman” is), they will attack you, fire you, cancel you, and use whatever means of power they have to force you to recant and repent for transgressing their speech codes.
That’s what political correctness is — a Marxist weapon to coerce Christians into silence and compliance. But what should Christians do about it?
Garlow provides some encouraging words of resolve and courage to help Christians steel their spines in response to these attacks. He writes:
“We can’t allow ourselves to be intimidated into saying and doing nothing. It would be easy to disengage from our culture and the issues of the day and live a life without controversy. But even that can’t happen. Cultural progressives will not be satisfied with silence; they want total and full acceptance from us. In other words, they want a complete and unconditional surrender. That is the nature of spiritual warfare; there is no peaceful coexistence. If we are followers of Christ, we had better prepare ourselves for the battle (Ephesians 6:10–19).”
Garlow is right in calling Christians to prepare for battle. The fight over political correctness is nothing less than a war for truth. And we dare not — we cannot — surrender the truth. Proverbs 23:23 instructs us to “Buy the truth and do not sell it — wisdom, instruction and insight as well.”
Because Christians serve the God of truth, we must always speak the truth. That’s why Christians can never consent to use “gender pronouns” that deny reality and tell a lie about someone’s biological sex, no matter what the PC police demand from us. That’s why Christians can’t call anything “marriage” unless it’s between one man and one woman. That’s why we can’t ever refer to abortion as a matter of “choice” — there is only one right choice and that’s refusing to murder preborn children.
Ephesians 4:25 also calls Christians to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor.” Sometimes — many times these days — speaking truthfully to our neighbors means calling sin sin, calling evil evil, and refusing to temper or change our speech for the sake of pleasing the culture or trying to preserve a “winsome witness.”
Thomas Sowell once said,
“In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities.”
What he means is that how we talk about reality matters — we can either use words to obscure, or to clarify, what’s really happening. Politically correct speech almost always obscures real evil and sin in our secularizing culture. Christians, of all people, must be willing to speak the truth instead, no matter who it might offend.
This, of course, does not mean that we intentionally give offense. Not at all. Colossians 4:6 tells us to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” But we balance that with the clear command from Ephesians 5:11 to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
Christians must ultimately reject political correctness and pursue the truth instead. We aim to please God, not man, with the words that come out of our mouths. Because we know that we answer to God, not the government, Big Tech, or woke H.R. offices. All men do. For in the final judgment, it won’t be the PC police who silence anyone, it will be God’s holiness — for “every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God” (Romans 3:19).
As Garlow puts it, “Political correctness is a weapon used to destroy the messenger of righteousness. We simply need God’s boldness and the perseverance to speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
So don’t be “politically correct” — be biblically correct. And trust God with the outcome.
Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center.
William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe