Reblogged from Father Hollywood, to encourage my readers to stand up and confront tyranny every moment, every day, everywhere.
Originally published on April 16, 2021 at https://fatherhollywood.blogspot.com/2021/04/jesus-doubles-down.html
Concerning political correctness, Jesus provides a strategy as to how to respond. Christians and non-Christians alike can look to such examples and learn from them, and Christians especially are on the hook to do as their Master does.
In the 1990s, some Evangelical Christians embraced the expression, “What Would Jesus Do?” and abbreviated it as WWJD, putting it on bracelets and other swag. Of course, we don’t have to make such speculations, because we have the Scriptures as a written record of what Jesus does – especially the Gospels. And in our current cultural malaise, it is typically the enemies of Christ that like to scold Christians with the WWJD theme, asserting that Jesus would behave like Marxists, and not like Christians do. In other words, to be Christlike is to be leftist. The answer to WWJD? is, to them, to simply defer to the enemies of Christ, those who denounce Him, and yet try to appropriate Him.
And it is clear that they have never actually read the Gospels. For their mental picture more closely resembles Mister Rogers than the actual Jesus of Nazareth. Their scolding of Christians and other non-conformists comes from a place of ignorance and perceived self-righteousness.
Jesus actually dealt with their type, and His shocking behavior toward them is repeatedly recorded in the Gospels. The Pharisees were the cultural standard-bearers of that time. They were the ultimate virtue-signalers, who would “[practice their] righteousness before other people to be seen by them,” even to the point of “[sounding] a trumpet… that they may be praised by others” (Matt 6:1-2). This was the first-century technological equivalent of posting to social media and using a border around one’s profile pic to announce how much the person “cares” or with whom they “stand,” or what medical procedures they have had in tribute to their virtuous estate.
The Pharisees played a “heads I win, tails you lose” game to inflate their egos and build themselves up by tearing others down. They created hundreds of rules, and then scolded others for not keeping those rules to which others never agreed to follow in the first place. It kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The Pharisees’ self-made game became a replacement religion, in which the Law was not the Law of Moses, but the Pharisees’ own spin on it that established arbitrary regulations that were not spelled out in the Scriptures. And Jesus came along and ignored them, broke them, and went on the offensive against their proponents.
In Luke 5:17-26, Jesus heals a paralytic, but before performing this miracle, He absolved the man of his sins (verse 20). The Pharisees started grumbling that this was “blasphemy.” Jesus “perceived their thoughts” and doubled down by miraculously healing the man. Jesus defied the social rule-makers. And the Pharisees had to acknowledge that they had seen “extraordinary things” (verses 21-26).
In Luke 6:1-5, we see a pattern that will be ongoing with the Pharisees. Jesus and His disciples broke one of their Sabbath rules by snacking on some grain while taking a walk. The Pharisees confront Jesus about breaking one of their own rules – a social contract that neither Jesus nor His disciples had agreed to. Jesus confronts them: “Have you not read…” – emphasizing that they should follow the Biblical faith and not their own religion of made-up rules – “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry…?” – calling to mind an incident in which David ate forbidden bread in a pressing situation.
What the Pharisees refused to acknowledge was that Jesus is God, and He invented the Sabbath in the first place. He knew its meaning far better than they did – they who made up rules in order to keep them and accuse others of breaking them. Jesus doubled down and said, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
In Luke 6:6-11, the Sabbath becomes a real sticking point for the Pharisees, and Jesus goes out of His way to be offensive to them (WWJD, anyone?). “On another Sabbath” He was preaching in the synagogue, and He was approached by a man “whose right hand was withered” (Luke 6:6). And mirroring the media and people with their cellphones out hoping to catch someone using the wrong word (like saying “sexual preference” instead of “sexual orientation” when until five minutes ago, the former was considered politically-correct), the Pharisees “watched Him to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so they might find a reason to accuse Him” (verse 7).
This describes our own “cancel culture” situation to a tee. And it is being carried out by leftists who make up arbitrary rules, signal their own virtue for keeping those rules, and try to destroy the lives of those who don’t follow them, who never agreed to them in the first place.
Jesus’ response is a lesson in how to deal with virtue-signaling “woke” types. He “knew their thoughts,” but rather than conform or run away, He openly and publicly doubles down. “He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’” He then puts the question to the virtue-signalers: “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” Jesus then “[looks] around at them all.” He did not apologize. He did not back down. He did not try to find common ground. He did not seek unity. He did not try to be polite. He did not accept their premises. Instead, he followed the advice of an old Virginia gentleman who once whispered to me: “Always look your enemy in the eye.”
Jesus then told the man to stretch out his hand, and He healed it in plain view of everyone. Instead of marveling at the miracle, instead of rejoicing that a man who was crippled had been cured – they were angry that Jesus did not do what they said, but instead mocked their virtue-signaling by doing the very thing they disapproved of. “But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:6-11). Cancel culture, anyone?
So we know what Jesus does with virtue signalers who think they have authority to make up rules and enforce them on those who do not agree. We know what Jesus does with those who turn legalism into a false God, who create arbitrary codes of behavior that serve like a loyalty oath to them, our putative masters and rule-makers. Jesus deliberately violates their rules in front of them and in front of everyone. He doubles down and does not apologize. He does not retool His beliefs to accommodate those who claim the power to invent new laws and rules and mores.
Today’s Pharisees are those who would impose new rules of speech and behavior upon us, who would once again claim to educate Jesus about what He and His disciples ought to be doing. We must do as our Lord did and double down, refuse to apologize, and look them right in the eyes as we defy them.
Today’s Pharisees push a worldview largely defined by politically-correct speech. They create rules concerning acceptable terms for ethnicities and sexualities – and they demand that we use their ever-changing Orwellian Newspeak. It becomes a loyalty oath, submission to a social contract and worldview of their making, and they are also “filled with fury” if someone doesn’t play along.
We Christians especially need to stop playing along.
When they tell us what words to use, we must look them in the eye and refuse. The examples are legion. We are told to use new made-up pronouns for people outside of the sexual normal range of the bell curve. And if we don’t participate in their Newspeak, their arbitrary new coded language that serves as a loyalty oath to them, they are filled with fury and try to destroy our lives. This is exactly what they did to Jesus. The Pharisees even cooperated with the hated Romans – the power of the State – to attempt to destroy Jesus by crucifying Him. And even that was appropriated by Jesus and used as a weapon against them and their evil. We should refuse to use their prattle and baby-talk, words such as “ze” and “zir.” We should also speak proper English by using “their” and “them” as plurals, not as singulars. And we should restore the ancient and universal practice of using “he” and “him” as gender-inclusive pronouns referring to a person of unspecified sex. And we need to say “sex” instead of “gender.” What does Jesus do? He doubles down.
Ethnic terms are often part of the “euphemism treadmill” in which acceptable terms become unacceptable, and then a few years later, the process is repeated, leaving people confused and off-balance in terms of what is now considered appropriate. The terms are arbitrary, and give language-Pharisees new rules to keep and impose on others – who never agreed to the contract in the first place. Nobody placed themselves under the power of a cabal of academicians and leftist activists. And so we should snack on our grain and ignore their rules.
I was amazed the first time I heard someone say “African-American” in normal conversation, as opposed to hearing it on language-policed TV or in a newspaper article. The term is not synonymous with “black.” If you see a black guy walk by your house, you can’t just call him an African-American. He might be Canadian. He might be Nigerian. Archaeologists can dig up a skeleton and determine that the person was black. Unless the bones can be specifically identified as a specific individual, one can’t say that the person was “American.” I recall watching the great Walter Williams double down like Jesus and become deliberately offensive to his fellow panelist Claude Lewis, a leftist journalist activist, on a local news program in Philadelphia back in the 1990s. Williams said that he was tired of the ever-changing labels: negro, colored, black, Afro-American, and African-American. With a dismissive chuckle, he told the scowling Lewis that he was not an African-American as he had decided to stop the merry-go-round at “black.”
There is nothing wrong with the terms “black” and “white.” And we should not cave in and capitalize “Black” and leave “white” in the lower case. Who made up that rule, and when did I ever agree to it? How can anyone not see that it is a sop to the ideology of black supremacy?
The same is true for words like “gender” (which is properly a grammatical term) and the prefix “cis-.” The only time I use “cis-” is in the technical term “cislunar” describing space between earth and the moon. A man who refers to himself as a man is simply, well, a man. He is “normal.” The powers-that-be demand that we refer to a man who calls himself a woman as “trans” or “transgender.” Again, we should not yield to their prattle, submit to their power, and concede their premises. Christians have a worldview established by the Word of God concerning male and female, and that premise is established early on (Gen 1:27) and was reiterated by Jesus (Matt 19:4ff). We Christians who see the Scripture as authoritative do not recognize same-sex sexual relationships as “marriage,” nor do men have “husbands”, nor do women have “wives.” Forcing us to use such language is to compel us to repudiate our faith and replace it with the worship of those who create new words and demand our fealty. Jesus looks his enemies in the eye and doubles down.
We should not use terms like LGBT or LGBTQ or any of the other incarnations of The Acronym. This too is pure power politics, new arbitrary rules that are imposed on those of us who never consented to them. There is no such thing as an LBGT person. This is a grouping of various types of people, a collectivized group of disparate traits designed to push a worldview. The “Q” in the other variant of The Acronym represents a word that I was taught in my youth to be offensive. And there are other politically-correct terms for sexual identities that include vulgarisms that no-one ought to be compelled to say.
There are other new made-up terms that similarly force disparate groups into a single Venn Diagram, such as BIPOC.
Political correctness is indeed arbitrary, as the scripted outrage that ensues if someone uses the term “Oriental.” It is apparently okay for rugs, but not for people. Salads are a gray area. Restaurants apparently may use the term if they choose to, creating a dilemma for a white or black person who would like to make lunch plans. The word “Oriental” is simply based on the Latin word for “East” – or more literally “towards the rising sun” – the opposite of Occidental. And has anyone noticed the flag of Japan, let alone asked what the Japanese call their country in their language? Similarly, Frenchman, Englishman, and Irishman are, at least for the present, within the boundaries of political correctness, but Chinaman is not. There is no reason for this. You’re just supposed to know. And if you are a professor who transgresses the arbitrary boundary and violates a contract you didn’t sign, count on your Pharisaical students to watch to see if you use a forbidden word so they might find a reason to accuse you – and destroy your life.
Of course, there will be hard decisions to be made. One may be so overpowered and marginalized by the establishment speech police that one may have to decide to submit in order to keep one’s job. People living under Communist/Socialist totalitarianism had, and have, to make such decisions all the time. It becomes a strategy for survival. But in free conversation that is truly voluntary, in private discourse, the healthy thing to do is to exercise one’s liberty and not willingly submit. There may come a time when we might need to publicly defy the Pharisees and bear the cross that comes to us as a result. But of course, Pharisees are cowards. When a critical mass of people stand up to them, their power dissipates like a bad stench in a warm summer breeze.
At any rate, what does Jesus do? He doubles down.