Summary: This message examines the issues around being politically correct when it comes to public display of Christianity.
Politically Correct Christians
Scriptures: Matthew 5:14-16; 28:19-20
I was leaving a meeting recently and as I left I wished a fellow worker a very “Merry Christmas”. Immediately with the focus of being politically correct, I wondered if I may have offended him, especially if he was not a Christian. He responded by wishing me a Merry Christmas and my fears were eliminated. As I left that person, I began thinking and pondering over the whole issue as to why I was concerned about wishing him or anyone else a Merry Christmas. Isn’t that what we are celebrating? When people go shopping, do they not say “I’m going Christmas shopping”? Have you ever heard someone ask, “What are you getting for the holiday or what’s in your holiday stocking?” No, they ask about what someone is getting for Christmas. This whole issue of Christmas being a Christian holiday and therefore cannot be spoken about in schools or on the job is setting a precedent that I hope is making you nervous. Consider the following examples that I found while doing an internet search on the politically correct Christmas.
• In 2006, three out of four employers no longer put up Christmas decorations in the workplace for the fear of offending political correctness policing;
• In the UK, the Red Cross banned Christmas nativity decorations from its UK charity shops in case they offend customers of other faiths;
• Macy’s department store ran into trouble when they removed the “Merry Christmas” greetings from all of their stores and replaced them with a politically correct greeting. Remember this is the store that was immortalized in the 1947 Christmas movie “Miracle On 34th Street”;
• A first grade teacher in Sacramento CO., CA says her principal has prohibited instructors from uttering the word “Christmas” in class or in written material;
• A school superintendent in Yonkers, N.Y. banned and then un-banned holiday decorations that contained religious themes more than the generic “season’s greeting; and finally
• Atheists have increased their “opposition” to the name Christmas preferring the “politically correct” name of “Winter Solstice”. At the Wisconsin state Capitol, they have a sign that says the following: “At this season of The Winter Solstice” may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” There is no way the state of Wisconsin would allow Christians to place a sign right beside theirs that said “Jesus is real, whether you believe it or not, you will find out, but then it will be too late to realize how foolish you were for not believing when you had the chance.”
These are just a few examples of “issues” that have come up in recent years as it pertains to Christmas. But I want to share one final example with you. Please watch the following video clip. (For those of you reading this, the video clip shows presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in an ad where he wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. In the background there is a Christmas tree and what looks to be a floating cross. This caused a stir as some reported that it was a “religious message”. The second video showed him being interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the Today show where she questions him about the ad and its appropriateness.)
As you watched the video clips, did you feel that he was out of line with his comments? The supposedly “floating cross” was a book shelf and the lights just happened to hit the shelves to make it appear to be a cross. People found the “cross” to be very offensive and he was accused of doing it on purpose. Is the real issue about Christmas or could there be something far more dangerous underlying all of this? I believe that what we are witnessing with the politically correctness of Christmas is just a beginning of worse times to come for Christians. Before I explain, let me first share with our younger members what it means to be politically correct, especially since I struggle with this at times when being politically correct conflicts with telling the truth and nothing but the truth.
I. The History of Being Politically Correct
Political correctness is a term used to describe language, ideas, policies or behavior seen as seeking to minimize offense to racial, cultural, or other identity groups. Conversely, the term “politically incorrect” is used to refer to language or ideas that may cause offense or that are unconstrained by orthodoxy (conforming to the usual beliefs or doctrines). Some have argued that this term “political correctness” was invented by conservatives to discredit progressive social change, especially with respect to issues such as race, religion and gender. The term is not a new term and can be traced all the way back to 1700s in the United States and possibly even earlier than that in Europe. The whole premise around being politically correct is not to offend others by the things we say, the policies we put into place or the way we act. So those three covers a wide range of ideas and actions that would govern what we should and should not be doing. So here is the question that each of us should really begin thinking about, “How much of your “Christianity in practice” are you willing to give up in order to be politically correct?