Updated: Dec 3, 2020
On March 3rd, 1991 a man was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol for speeding and trying to elude the police. He would later admit that the reason he did this was because he had been drinking and was on probation for a prior felony. When the LAPD arrived at the scene, they took over the traffic stop. Across the street in an apartment, a man pulled out his video camera and began to record the traffic stop. The footage was one of the first viral videos. It showed more than ten police officers stand around as a few others beat the driver, Rodney King, to a pulp.
The officers involved were charged with use of excessive force, and the footage seemed to show an open and shut case. However, on April 29. 1992 the officers were acquitted most of the charges. That acquittal spawned the 1992 Los Angeles riots in which 64 people would lose their lives, and over 1 billion dollars worth of damage would be done.
It was during these riots, that Mr. King held a press conference and asked the famous question “can we all get along?”
That question seems extremely relevant today. The world is as divided as it ever has been. It seems that when you turn on the TV what you see is real hatred. I think we all can feel it and see it in various ways.
The answer to the question of Mr. King can be simply answered with a “yes”. We can get along. It is possible. But we have to be willing to sacrifice for it.
What we really desire is peace and unity. We don’t just want to be able to walk past one another without wanting to fight, we want the issues to be settled and we want to have a bond of brotherhood with one another.
One of the greatest hindrances to peace and unity is political correctness. That is a broad term, that means you try to say something in such a way that it does not cause offense to anyone. The major problem with political correctness is that it puts a muzzle on truth. Those who stand behind the badge of political correctness know this and use it as a weapon to combat truth.
Take for example the issue of gay marriage. It is frightening how quickly it became the norm of our society. This was accomplished by political correctness. Instead of making an argument based on truth, those who desired to make it legal, used two words to silence all opposition. “Bigot” and “homophobe”. That is an argument not on truth, but based on political correctness.
For the past four years we are watched as Donald Trump’s policies were argued against, not from opposing ideas, but from political correctness. His immigration policies were argued against from him being a “racist”. In fact, it seemed like every single accomplishment that President Trump had is minimized by deeming him as racist. I would say that Donald Trump’s greatest opponent in the 2020 election was not Joe Biden’s ideas, but the left’s weapon of political correctness. Which is really just a way to never have to address any truth of a policy or proposition.
The first amendment of the constitution is a protection of free speech. This is because the founders valued truth. The only way to come to the truth is to have it taught or spoken to you. If people cannot speak freely, they will never be able to listen freely. Political correctness takes away the possibility for someone to hear the truth by silencing those who would speak it. In order to find truth, one must open up themselves to having their views challenged and being offended. In the Bible Stephen was killed in large part because what he said was not politically correct. Those in the crowd “stopped their ears” (Acts 7:57). Political correctness is ultimately what killed Stephen and it is the same weapon being used today.
Of course, I am not saying people should be rude and shocking for the sake of shock. The Bible says to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15). We need to be kind, a decent, and gracious in the way we talk. But we must also realize that there is a command is to speak the truth. No matter how loving we can make it, it is often times going to offend. Someone being offended does not necessarily mean one spoke in an unloving way.
If we ever want to get along with one another we have to openly exchange our differences without fear of being silenced with insults and smears. The truth is way too valuable to keep it inside because we are afraid of being called a name.
If we want peace we have to believe in truth. So many people are like Pilate was in John 18:32 asking “what is truth?”. We have a post-modernist society that finds value in every persons “individual truth” and perspective. There will never be peace as long as we do not have a belief in absolute truth. Jesus tells us in John 17:17 that God’s word is truth. It is the absolute standard.
It is described as being sharper than a two-edge sword that can cut deep into the heart of man (Heb 4:12). Hearing and studying it may cause a sting from time to time. The truth of God’s word is offensive. That’s because it will expose things that are false in our lives. But it is responsible for more peace than any other document. It brought peace to Jew’s and Gentiles, masters and slaves, families, political disagreements, fights on morality, religious division, and most importantly it brings peace between God and man.
If we truly want to truly get along, we have to allow our hearts to be open to being offended by the truth. We must love truth so much that we will listen to it even if it hurts us.