Thick Skin, Political Correctness, and the 1st Amendment

For those of you who may need a refresher course in Government and US History, as US citizens our first amendment right is Freedom of Speech.

Tonight I watched part of a documentary, of sorts, on HBO dedicated to our freedom(s) of speech, and it resonated loudly with stirrings in my own spirit.

To some I profess my political liberalism loudly, because I do lean toward liberalism as a general political policy. I believe in democracy, and in order for democracy to work, we–the American people–must have the right to express ourselves and our beliefs whether they jive with others or not. The moment we are censored, we are no longer free.

Democracy guarantees offense.

In a true democratic society people will be offended; it is price we pay in order to speak up, be heard, and represent ourselves. It means that some groups will speak very loudly and very often and might get more press coverage. It means that I won’t agree with everything that others have to say, but they get to say it. Likewise for me, I’m sure to say things that people will disagree with, but I will not be criminally charged and punished for “peaceably” expressing myself. This is the benefit of my first amendment right.

In my opinion, political correctness has done a lot to stifle our freedom to speak freely. Political correctness plays into the hands of a society bent on law suits and on a multitude of on-edge people that derive great pleasure from seeking revenge because it CHOOSES offense over grace, freedom, and forgiveness.

Political correctness says, “You can’t say ___(fill in the blank)___ because it is offensive to them.”

Political correctness tells us, “That is inappropriate to express because by doing so, you leave them out and that’s not fair in a society of equality and inclusion.”

Political correctness seeks to make everyone happy in a society built on democracy which guarantees offense. Political correctness and democracy, a very unhappy union they make.

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16, NIV

Political correctness, in my opinion makes us “room temperature.” Not very appealing when you reach for a cup of coffee and find that it’s tepid. Hardly refreshing, like warm tap water on a hot day. No thanks.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I should say whatever I want, whenever I want, to whomever I want with no regard for anyone else. On the contrary, it is right and good to always consider those on the receiving end the message. It is good to be tactful, respectful, understanding, loving and kind. It is a good policy to edit expression before actually expressing, in any situation or conversation. But it does not mean we should repress or fail to speak out for fear that someone may take up offense.

I am absolutely okay with the GLBT community marching down the street, waving rainbows, and holding public demonstrations about legal recognition of homosexual unions. I am fine with “feminist” supporters standing up, holding signs, and shouting their support for legalized abortion. I’m also totally okay with groups of people publicly demonstrating for the legalization of marijuana in this country. . .

so long as I am not prohibited from speaking my mind when it comes to my faith in Christ, public prayer, and stewardship of the earth’s resources–people, money, trees, oil, animals, etc!

Though I may be liberal when it comes to political policies and the democratic process, I choose for myself to be on the conservative side of things. This, too, is my right as an American citizen.

“Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Luke 20:25

Jesus certainly didn’t agree with everything that was going on around Him during His stay on earth, but He recognized that governments and laws exist. He also knew that if He wanted to make an impact–which He did–it was best to work within those structures rather than buck the “world” system. He disagreed most with those who were religious, not those who weren’t affiliated with the Jewish order of things. Instead, He chose to affect the non-Jewish, worldly people by healing them, eating with them, reaching out to them PERSONALLY, not through political means. And He wasn’t very politically correct as I can tell.

So many Christians I have met want to have prayer reintroduced in schools, have the 10 Commandments posted in public places, and be able to proudly display crosses and religious symbols in their work places. These are good things to desire (and probably are true freedoms of speech that have been censored). But let’s be sure that if we count ourselves among them, we aren’t also trying to censor others because we find their messages offensive. Christians should be the most unoffendable people on the face of the earth.

How thick is your skin?

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