Monday, March 28, 2016

In Support of Political Correctness

Political correctness frequently gets a bad rap, and this election season is no different. Supporters of some candidates love their celebrity politician because of their lack of political correctness because they just "say it like it is." I see comments like this on Facebook and elsewhere all the time related to politicians, pastors, businesses, etc.

The distaste for political correctness is valid in many ways. It can be frustrating to figure out how to say something so as not to offend anyone. And there's a point at which we just need to say what we need to say. If something needs to be said, sometimes people will be offended, and we can't always make everyone happy.

There's truth to a lot of this, but I think those who constantly advocate for the end of being "PC" are missing some significant things, particularly when those critics are Christians.

First of all, when I hear of people not being PC and instead "telling it like it is," almost every time what was said was just plain wrong. Sure, some people may think it, but the facts are false. If you need to be blunt and direct and step on people's toes, the facts need to be accurate.

More importantly, political correctness used properly is not about avoiding conflict or making people unhappy. Rather, it's fundamentally about loving our neighbor, recognizing that we don't always understand another person's perspective, and so we don't want to unintentionally offend someone else by violating their values. It's not about not having values and perspectives and strong beliefs, opinions, and stances of our own, but rather it's about not forcing that worldview on someone else.

Especially as Christians, our jobs are to put others before us and understand where they are coming from. We are not called to impose Christian values and particular denominational theology on others.

Good political correctness demonstrates values and particular perspectives without disregarding other values and perspectives. It's about being appropriately sensitive to know what other people might be thinking or feeling. It's about getting our facts straight and only stepping on toes when we really need to, not just when we're mad and having a temper tantrum.

Offending people unnecessarily while getting facts wrong isn't a virtue to extol, "telling it like it is" and being appropriately politically incorrect. It's just being a jerk.

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