by Susan Russell
Since we are knee deep in the election cycle and “political correctness” is back in the news, I revisited a piece I wrote for the Huffington Post on the subject last year and found I wouldn’t change a word:
One of the things exit polls tell us is that candidates who attack “political correctness” appeal to some voters.
If you’re not familiar with the term “political correctness” here’s a definition from Wikipedia:
Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct, commonly abbreviated to PC) is a pejorative term used to criticize language, actions, or policies seen as being calculated to not offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society.
So basically if you’re against “political correctness” then you’re for language, actions or policies that offend or disadvantage a particular group of people in society. And Jesus actually had a few things to say about that.
Let’s start with Matthew 22: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Note there is no asterisk after neighbor that says *certain conditions apply.
There is no disclaimer that reads *unless your neighbor is a member of a particular group of people in society of which you disapprove, resent or are threatened by — then it’s cool to use language, actions or policies that offend or disadvantage them.
Nope. It’s “love your neighbor as yourself.” All of your neighbors. All of the time.
You do not love your neighbors as yourself when you deny them equal dignity, equal access or equal protection. And you do not love your neighbors as yourself when you use language, take actions or support policies that offend or disadvantage them.
For those of us who purport to be followers of Jesus, taking calculated steps to not offend or disadvantage our neighbor — any of our neighbors — has nothing to do with being politically correct and everything to do with being Gospel compliant.
And if we’re going to doers of the word and not just hearers, then we need to make a bolder more proactive case in tying our actions, policies and language to the one who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love one another.
Because when it comes down to it, political correctness is what people with power call it when people without power challenge them for abusing their power. And that — if you read the Gospels — is not only what Jesus would do — it’s what he did.
(I’m Susan Russell and I approved this message.)