By P. Andrew Sandlin
Published October 2, 1992
By Andrew Sandlin
Almost everybody has heard about political correctness. It is the policy on numerous American campuses to stifle discussion deemed to threaten the sensitivity of “under-represented” groups: homosexuals, blacks, women, the handicapped, etc. The supposed liberal tenet of free speech must now yield if under its protection comments are made that might offend the easily offended “minorities.”
If, as Dinesh D’Souza asserts, the university in a democracy is a microcosm of the society surrounding it (a fairly tenable, common-sense assumption), we may be fairly certain that the current controversy raging over “political correct-ness” in the university is one of the early signs and harbingers of a monumental ideological and religious conflict potentially disrupting the present social order. Initially considered, this claim may seem exaggerated, but further thought should demonstrate its factuality.
The “PC” fracas has demonstrated that the rationalism which stands behind Western liberalism in the tradition of Enlightenment cannot survive indefinitely. The great irony is that while Western liberalism has always been the avowed enemy of conservatism, the former is discovering that its basic tenets of “free inquiry” and “objective appraisal” are not hardy enough to withstand the onslaught of vigorous leftist and radical views impatient with the inability of Western liberalism to make good on the cherished goals of liberal ideology: absolute autonomy and equality.
The forces of rationalism and the advocates of “PC” only appear to be arrayed against each other. They are both actually arrayed against biblical Christianity. Western liberalism embraces the primacy of reason; advocates of “political correctness” embrace the primacy of “equality.” Neither embraces the primacy of the God who revealed himself in Holy Scripture.
The disciples of “political correctness” argue against Western liberals that the professed neutrality of modern university liberalism is just a covert scheme to obscure presuppositions designed to maintain the status quo. Where they are wrong is in pinpointing that status quo. They say it is chauvinism, sexism, racism and Westernism. On that, I believe they are egregiously wrong.
The hidden presupposition the classical liberals are endeavoring to protect is the same that the salesmen of “political correctness” are trying to protect: the autonomy of man.
The Myth of Neutrality
Under the guise of free inquiry and objectivity, classical liberals idolatrously enthrone the human mind, just as “PCers” do under the guise of egalitarianism. The controversy demonstrates the futility of the pipe dream of Enlightenment liberalism: that where reason is employed, truth prevails. It does not account for the fact that (a) reason is never objective and that (b) reason can never answer the ultimate questions of life since it has no absolute standard by which to judge. Reason, for example, is no bulwark against tyranny, for according to some presuppositions, tyranny can be perfectly reasonable. Rationalism serves the purpose of depraved mankind in its rebellion against the Creator God.
The disciples of “political correctness” know that the supposed neutrality and objectivity of Western intellectuals is a farce, but they do not recognize that their own politically correct views are equally farcical. “PC” is breaking the back of the old utopian liberal intellectual faith in reason. Devotees of “political correctness” will not concede for one minute that neutral, objective reason should reign in the university because they recognize that the position of “objective” liberalism springs from subjective presuppositions. Of course, disciples of “political correctness” are mistaken in their insistence that radical feminism, Afro-centrism, and homosexuality should be exempted from criticism. All who embrace the truth as revealed by God in His Word will fervently oppose each of these deviations – as well as the others supported by the “politically correct.”
The point is that the controversy surrounding “political correctness” should force “neutral” liberal educators to concede that some ideology will govern the university (and every other sphere of society, for that matter). If men do not worship God, they will worship themselves and other created things (Rom. 1) and eventually Satan (Rev. 13). The “PC” controversy is a perfect example. The children of the intellectual liberals rebelling against their “reasonable” heritage (worship of the mind of man) now defy God by demanding that professors avoid any criticism, implied or expressed, of homosexuality (an abomination in God’s eyes according to Romans 1).
Because the course of idolatry is degradation (Rom. 1), if universities permit “political correctness” to dominate, they will become not only increasingly depraved but also increasingly mediocre and incompetent. When “PC” educators employ race rather than merit as a chief standard of enrollment policy, the result will be less knowledgeable and less equipped individuals to perform important functions as citizens of our society. When administrators block intelligent Asians in favor of incompetent blacks and whites, they are sealing the mediocrity of a country.
When they refuse to require courses in Western literature because it is dominated by white males, and require instead courses in Asian and African literature (most of which is abysmally inferior to that of Western culture) they slit their own throat – or, I should say, the throat of their students who must one day assist in sustaining a society whose glorious benefits derive directly from the ideas of white males, the validity of whose ideas has nothing to do with race.
If the old liberalism were to win this debate and reassert itself in American universities, the results would be only slightly more favorable; however, the classic liberal utopia of a “neutral creed” is doomed because its “neutrality” cannot forever withstand the onslaught of commitments like those of the “politically correct.” In the long run, pretended neutrality is no match for fervent ideology. The Weimer Republic’s pitiful collapse before the militant, though misguided and tyrannical force of National Socialism, is a striking example.
A Strategy for the Culture War
Epistemologically conscious Christians on campus should seize the initiative by demonstrating the bankruptcy of the old Enlightenment classical liberalism and the perversion of the “politically correct” corp. They must, further, press the claims of the authority of Christ in all spheres of life, including the life of the university. Nor will the commitment to historic Christianity jeopardize the free flow of ideas as the classical liberals charge and as the ideal of “political correctness” obviously does.
Rather, if the university is not to become a “multiversity,” it must embrace the epistemology of the Christian faith which, if properly practiced and understood, guarantees the free flow of ideas, precisely because as the only viable foundation of intellectual life, it can afford to confront the challenges posed by secularism, Marxism, materialism and all other ideological perversions. As long as the validity of the Christian faith is presupposed, all alternatives will be found wanting.
The battle on campus is merely the most visible dimension of the larger conflict in Western culture. The (rapidly diminishing) classical liberals wrongfully claiming neutrality, as well as the overt covenant-breakers of “political correctness” rightfully denying neutrality, are arrayed against the (rapidly diminishing) Christian pietists wrongfully claiming neutrality, as well as the overt covenant-keepers rightfully denying neutrality. The classical liberals, one will note, are analogous to the Christian pietists – both erroneously believe they can remain neutral in this conflict. The classical liberals are really on the side of the overt covenant-breakers, for Scripture claims all the unconverted suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18).
The Christian pietists are really on the side of the overt covenant-keepers, but they just have not become consistent with their presuppositions yet. The overt covenant-keepers and the overt covenant-breakers are actively locked into a life-and death struggle to the finish (literally so, at the doors of abortions clinics). These are two fundamentally irreconcilable, mutually exclusive presuppositions. They cannot simultaneously succeed, nor can they long simultaneously co-exist.
God created this conflict (Gen. 3:15): the seed of the serpent (Satan and his disciples) war against the seed of the woman (Christ and His disciples). God instituted this hostility. Christians must not retreat from or smooth over the differences. This conflict (Mt. 16:18), will be escalated not impeded. On campus, at the shop or office, at the polling booth, in every venture this conflict between God and Satan will escalate.
Andrew Sandlin is a staff member of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors. CEE sponsors Intensive Revival School, a two year discipleship training program designed to prepare students for the ministry. If you want more information from CEE, write:
CEE, 35155 Beachpark Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » On Campus
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)