At a Nazarene Church in Colorado, a woman taught about what she thinks is wrong with the church today. She used several examples that revealed her biases: the King James Version is the only real Bible, Republicans are the only real Christians, and women are, by nature, entirely inferior to men. Addressing the first two here would require quite a bit of extra print space and it was the last one that arose into conflict.
Another woman, who was sitting in the class, voiced her opposition to the speaker’s demeaning view of women by saying, “I don’t like the way you typify woman as inferior to men. It’s sexist and I don’t like it.” The woman teaching replied quite bluntly, “Thank you, I take that as a compliment.”
First and foremost, the lesson of this story is an example of the absolute wrong way to answer someone who is offended by what you have said. A person should never take pride in the fact that another person is affected negatively by their words.
The next lesson involves something known as “political correctness.” For whatever reason, it seems that a subgroup of people have taken a position against being politically correct. They value “telling it like it is,” regardless of how it makes people feel. The problem with this is that being politically incorrect is not really “telling it like it is.” Being politically incorrect should better be understood as being disrespectful. Two people can have the same opinion and one can be politically correct and the other not. Political correctness has much more to do with sensitivity to other people than with the substance of the opinion.
I understand that another person’s emotions should not dictate what I am allowed or not allowed to say. If I believe that gay marriage is in conflict with God’s intention for marriage, then it is not necessarily politically incorrect for me to say so. Political correctness has more to do with how I say so. For example, saying “God hates fags” and saying “The Bible defines marriage as between one man and one woman” expresses the same opinion in two very different ways. The first is extremely rude and emotionally charged, and for that reason the second is not only more politically correct but also more accurate.
Political correctness has nothing to do with opinions and everything to do with how those opinions are expressed. For that reason, some people have likened political correctness to censorship. They think that having to be politically correct means they cannot say what they mean or that they cannot “tell it like it is.” On the contrary, being politically correct allows people to express their differences of opinion with respect for each other. Censorships silences certain voices or ideas (words are ideas). The distinction may be a little unclear, so allow me to use another example.
Let’s say someone has done something that angered me. My initial, instinctive response might be to call them a butthole (or perhaps an equivalent choice word). Instead, if I used a replacement, perhaps an acronym like B.H., then I have censored myself. Although this individual may be able to infer what I meant, the actual idea was never truly expressed.
I would have another option, which would be to tell them that their behavior was frustrating or rude. In this way, I have still fully expressed my meaning (after all, I never truly meant that they were literally an anus). The second option, then, is closer to political correctness.
For whatever reason, being politically correct has been associated with liberalism. This simply is not the case and perhaps reflects a failure of conservatives to communicate their ideas with respect and showing all people the dignity they deserve. The truth of the matter is that all people are made in the image of God, and, therefore, a certain degree of reverence and respect is due to all people.
Please “tell it like it is” and express your ideas! The world is far better when everyone has a voice to share what they think. Just try to do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of other people.
— Evan Sherar, Staff Writer