Why in the world do we change what used to be considered “being polite” or “being respectful” to “being politically correct”? It’s a nonsense term that gets used as a pejorative or insult more often than not. This in and of itself explains why we might need to go back to having respect.
I grew up in the Boy Scout, well I was a Boy Scout while I grew up. Every week we would recite the “Law”. Thankfully this was not the Old Testament “Law” or Torah. Reading through Genesis to Deuteronomy every week would have been killer. Nope, we just had 12 little words after saying in unison, “A Scout is”.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Not bad as laws go. Truth be told it was more motivational than what we normally think of as law, but there in lies it’s power. We were told to be courteous and kind – it was just assumed we would be respectful. Regardless of who we were speaking to or what we were speaking about – we were told to be respectful.
It was part of the law to be courteous and kind primarily because we knew it wasn’t always easy or desirable. I’m sure I’m not alone in having to apologize more than once for being discourteous or unkind, but that’s why it was written up into the law and spoken aloud by boys who maybe later would come to appreciate these character traits more fully.
So, why the transition to “politically correct”. Frankly, it feels like we’ve done it because it’s easier to use derisively. It’s hard to be derisive about respect or courtesy or kindness. Switch over to political correctness, and it’s a lot easier.
Regardless of whether or not we agree with someone or disagree with them we should find our way to be respectful of them. I’m reminded of the most recent episode of Downton Abbey where a guest was considerably rude to her hosts, but the hosts responded with civility despite being put off by their guest’s demeanor.
Yet now, if someone disagrees with us a little politically or uses the wrong homophone on a hastily typed message on Facebook, people deride and demean one another. This spans the generation gap and is most wide spread among political rhetoric online. Christians and atheists alike, political advertisements, and “friendly” conversations all spout sheer orneriness.
Now I have no problem with satire or humorous teasing of one another, but why should we want to be genuinely hurtful to others over disagreements? I’m not asking for us to be politically correct, no I’m asking for something much more, I want us to be respectful.
Jesus said that whoever called someone a fool would be guilty before the judgement seat. I hope to avoid this in my own manner of speaking and to seek forgiveness when I fail, would you be willing to join me?