Political Correctness

There are times when is it correct to be politically incorrect. If we maintain that absolute truth exists (see What is Truth?) then sometimes an ethic, or statement, or situation has to be challenged if it is perceived as conflicting with the truth. If the challenge is against the norm of society then it could be seen as being politically incorrect, whilst the challenger could see political correctness as blurring or conceiling the truth.

Equality & Anti-discrimination Law

The European Union Article 13 Race & Employment Directives require EU member states to introduce legislation to outlaw unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. This applies in the fields of employment and training, and in the provision of goods and services. Such law is based upon Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, and complements Article 12 of the EC Treaty which prohibits discrimination on grounds of nationality. EU Equality Directives are now embedded in the UK Equality Act 2010.

Clearly, discrimination against anyone on the grounds of race is unacceptable, but should equality law apply in the moral/ethical realm? After all, morality and ethics vary significantly between individuals and between organisations, and can be the bedrock of a good society. Are we in danger of equalising moral and ethical peaks to a flood plain in the name of equality? In particular, is it right to accept all sexual persuasions in all circumstances? The politically correct answer is 'yes'. But take the case of a Christian (or Muslim or Jewish) printer who is asked to print leaflets advertising a gay parade. The request is really asking the printer to help promote a lifestyle (sexual acts) that are specifically outlawed in the Bible (see Homosexuality below). Under UK law, the printer would be breaking the law if he refused the request on the grounds of his religious belief. Since he is providing a service, he cannot refuse on the grounds that the act of homosexuality conflicts with his faith.

This is a good example of humanistic law trumping God's moral law for mankind. With some exemptions for churches, such law generally undermines any right of an individual or organisation to publicly hold a specific religious ethos and to act upon it. The loss or privatisation of moral ethos is societyís loss, and Christian, Jew and Muslim alike would be justified on moral grounds in taking a politically incorrect stance against such law. They would then be obeying God rather than men (Acts 4.19, 5.29). Anti-discrimination law also appears to conflict with human rights law (Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights). This essentially states that "everyone has the right to manifest their religion or belief in practice" e.g. as a Christian printer. But under so-called Equality and Anti-discrimination law, the human rights of one sector of society trump the human rights of another sector of society. This is hardly 'equality'.

Multifaith, Ecumenism and Rome

Multifaith (or interfaith) gatherings are a prime example and should be challenged by those who take the Bible seriously. Jesus made it quite clear that He was the only way to God (Jn 14.6), and that those who do not honour the Son (as God) do not honour the Father either (Jn 5.23). So whilst dialogue with other faiths can be constructive, church leaders should not pretend that a multifaith worship meeting is worshipping God. Who are they collectively worshipping if many present do not honour Jesus Christ as part of the Deity? The concept of 'God' will also vary within such a group.

A similar argument can be used for ecumenical gatherings. The objective of the ecumenical movement is to bring all churches and denominations together in a one world communion (and ultimately to bring all religions together). But if the biblical doctrine of Christ as mediator and great high priest is compromised, then so is truth. The Bible says:

"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2.5)
"We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God" (Heb 4.14)

Truth is also blurred and altered by Roman Catholicism. According to Rome, justification by faith in Christ alone is insufficient for salvation and it is necessary to perform further works, such as penance. In fact, the Second Vatican Council confirmed the long standing stance that "it is through the Catholic Church alone that the fullness of salvation can be obtained". In contrast the Bible says:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith ... it is the gift of God" (Eph 2.8)

Social, political and media pressures often force Christians (and especially church leaders) to be politically correct on these issues. They fail to uphold biblical principles when confronted with multifaith and ecumenical concepts, or with Roman Catholic dogma. The casualty is absolute truth, the bedrock of mainstream Christianity.


Homosexuality is another example. The traditional Christian viewpoint here is that the Bible gives absolute truth, and that it makes clear statements on the subject. Both Old and New Testaments teach that, in the sight of God, the act of homosexuality is wrong. It is an abomination (Lev 18.22, 20.13; Deut 23.18; Mat 5.17-19; Rom 1.24-27; 1 Cor 6.9; Rev 21.27). Some argue that the OT law on homosexuality is outdated, just as we no longer stone people to death, have slaves, or offer a ram for guilt offering. But they fail to distinguish between civil, ceremonial, and moral law. Whilst civil law changes with time, and the law requiring ceremonial sacrifice was abolished by the sacrificial death of Jesus, God's 'moral' law is timeless. The UK 'Sexual Orientation Regulations' (SORs) now force individual Christians and Christian organizations who offer 'goods and services' to compromise their Christian ethos in favour of activities violating Godís timeless moral law! In contrast to the UK government, Jesus upheld the OT moral law and did not abolish it (Mat 5.17), and the Bible holds this view of homosexuality right up to the book of Revelation.

For a deeper study on homosexuality, see homosexuality.

The Christian Response to Political Correctness

So what should the Church do in a post-Christian society? Clearly, Christians should emphasise the mediation and priestly role of Jesus Christ when we come to God. And since Christians are commanded to be salt and light in society (Mat 5.13-16), it is their duty to state God's moral law on homosexual acts, and other ethical and moral issues. But this must be done in the context of a loving, caring, non-judgemental way - Jesus always gave the truth in love. Of course, statements to this effect are now perceived as being against the norm and hence politically incorrect. Allegations of 'bigot' and 'intolerant' are frequently made, but they are unjustified. The usual definition of a bigot is that the person holds a particular view 'irrespective of reason', and 'attaches disproportionate weight' to it. Such allegations are not justified against those who hold a reasoned and researched viewpoint backed by clear statements on morality in the Bible.

Summarising, the real issue regarding political correctness is whether it is right to obey men or God. When the ethics (or even laws) of society start to conflict with biblical principles then it is the duty of a Christian to obey God rather than man. When instructed by Jewish leaders not to publicly teach about Jesus, the response of Christ's disciples was:

"We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5.29)

Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible

Related topics: Ethics and Morality ; Apologetics