Jesus was not Politically Correct. . .

. . . and neither should we be this 9/11!

I was saddened but not surprised to read the news report that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had decided to exclude the clergy of all types from the 9/11 memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of that tragedy.  The Mayor’s rationalization for his decision is that there are just too many groups that want to be included and there just isn’t the time and space to accommodate everyone.

I call this rationalization but, frankly, the Mayor’s explanation is far from rational.

What it is, however, is the crassest form of political correctness.  Mayor Bloomberg is the guy who supported the building of a Mosque near the 9/11 site as reflecting the healing process.  Yet including religious expressions in the memorial service is inconvenient and somehow unnecessary. After all, we would not want to cut into the time of all the politicians the Mayor has lined up to speak.

We know from studying our lessons that Jesus often found himself in situations where it would have been much easier to go along and do the politically correct thing so the authorities did not hassle him as he ministered to his flock.  But Jesus taught us that sometimes we should break the rules for the sake of an even more important truth.

There are several important truths in this 9/11 memorial experience we should ponder in our hearts:

Religious Freedom also means “not prohibiting the free exercise thereof” We have permitted politicians and the courts to interpret the First Amendment to the Constitution which says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” to mean that they can ignore the part about “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in order to impose politically correct answers to awkward questions about “the establishment of religion”.  Perhaps it is time to start suing over the “free exercise thereof” clause as often as the ACLU does over the “establishment clause” so we balance out the case law on the subject instead of just rolling over and accepting such limitations to our freedom.

The 9/11 Memorial belongs to the Families, the First Responders and to the People, not Politicians.  But the only way to avoid the event being hijacked by politicians is to democratize it and see remembrances held in thousands of places large and small on the terms and conditions acceptable to those attending.  What would happen if the crowd went to the nearest church on 9/11 instead of going to listen to the politicians’ speeches?  What would happen if we all just stopped what we were doing for a moment of silence at the time each of the two planes hit the towers?  What would happen is each of us started to ring a bell in a flash mob frenzy of prayer and thanksgiving for all who gave so much.  What would happen if those who did attend the 9/11 Memorial stood up and spontaneously recited the Lord’s Prayer right before the Mayor started to speak—now that is the “free exercise thereof” kind of event worth attending.

Political Correctness is corroding our society and stealing our rights.  Jesus did not fall prey to the traps of political correctness and neither should we.  In ways small and profound our political freedoms and our right to the free exercise of our religious freedom is eroding day by day.  If we don’t name it, frame the threat that it is, and speak against it someday we won’t be permitted to speak, or pray, or assemble unless our thoughts and prayers are “appropriate”.

The answer to Mayor Bloomberg’s political correctness is not to participate in it but to go elsewhere and pray quietly, sing joyfully, and embrace each other as we remember the reason we showed up.  I suspect Jesus would be among us in each such gathering.


4 thoughts on “Jesus was not Politically Correct. . .

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