Politically incorrect

Politically Incorrect

Two weeks ago I wrote about being charitable. Far too often people confuse this with “being nice” or even silence. What to say, when to say it and how to say it are interior arguments we have with ourselves. There can also be powerful external forces pushing on us too.

The external forces I am thinking of have the goal of imposing self-censorship upon others. The hoped for calculus is this: “if I say anything, I might be condemned for what I say and be liked less, so it is safer to say nothing.” There is a powerful list of tools in the arsenal of those who hope to control others speech and the truth they may proclaim:

Political incorrectness – speaking against popularly accepted secular “values” even when they are wrong. For example, supporting a male-only priesthood over false arguments such as equal rights or sexism.

Being non-charitable – taking exception to positions or actions which are morally wrong, contrary to the truth taught by Holy Mother Church and endanger the eternal soul of another. For example, telling a woman considering an abortion that it is wrong – regardless of her preferences, perceived choice, mistake or life situation.

Being judgmental – objectively judging right from wrong actions, especially when the facts are not in dispute. For example, judging the acts of the Governor of New York – a professed Catholic – who divorced and “remarried” (a woman who is also divorced) and who often scandalizes the Church through his strong support of abortion (as a well known Catholic figure).

Being intolerant – refusing to accept the free-will choices of others, even when they (at least superficially) “don’t affect you.” For example, refusing to embrace the attack against families led by those seeking acceptance and approval of immoral sexual relationships.

In many ways, these classifications are somewhat arbitrary but the effect is the same. Ironically, those who most vocally accuse another of fitting one of these labels are themselves often non-charitable, judgmental, and/or intolerant.

Speaking of irony, one of the most ironic responses I have seen is when people are accused of being “unchristian” for speaking up. This accusation may be followed by sanctimonious comments on what Jesus would have done. Baloney! Jesus was often politically incorrect, judgmental and intolerant out of His love for us!

The question for us is do we value being accepted by others more than our obligation to live as Christians and help others to do likewise? Are we trying to get to heaven AND take as many others along with us as we can? OR…   are we trying to be liked and be as popular as possible? If it is the later, we may be building our treasures on earth at at the expense of those in heaven.

Please understand that I am not suggesting (in most circumstances) that we be confrontational. That is rarely a good strategy. Much can be accomplished by speaking softly but firmly. Sometimes just saying “that is wrong,” spoken out of love, is enough. I often remember one time, as an adult, that I suggested something wrong to my father. He responded “that is wrong” and not a word more. We did not speak of it further, but I sure thought about it a lot later, re-evaluated and corrected my erroneous viewpoint.

I am not sure it is ever “wrong” to be politically incorrect. Like Christ, from whom it is inseparable, the Catholic Church itself is politically incorrect. Our excellent shepherds and other faithful Catholics are often accused by those opposed to the truth, inside and outside of the Church, of being non-charitable, judgmental and intolerant.

Do not fear these labels. Do not accept a negative spin upon someone’s words because another (boldly) labeled them this way. Consider only the truth and intention. Of course, sometimes people really are non-charitable (“Joe did that to hurt John”), judgmental (“Sue is going to hell”), and intolerant (“I don’t like how {group of people} do {something cultural}”). In those cases, the words are said not out of love and are of themselves often sinful.

Sometimes, a thoughtful conversation may result from speaking up. The person may have their eyes opened and be grateful. Far more likely, the person will be annoyed that they were challenged and maybe like you a little less at that moment. Have patience. The small seed that you plant today may eventually bear great fruit.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers.” Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

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