In boot camp, you learn to carry a “weapon”. It’s not a “gun”, a term referencing large-bore or crew-served arms like a “machine gun” or “main gun”. It also carries the connotation of proficiency related to said weapon. In similar fashion, the progressive side of the culture war has trained its members in the proficient use of words as personal weapons. Words such as racism, racist, offensive, discrimination, intolerant, sexist, etc. have been separated from their roots and weaponized to destroy anyone deemed a threat.
Many words and phrases have been effectively redefined to mean something different than previously understood. For example, free speech once meant the fundamental right to speak one’s mind or propose challenging questions. Today, it means “free” within certain boundaries determined acceptable by progressive orthodoxy. Academic freedom once meant the liberty to publish research that genuinely followed the scientific method and rigor, but now predetermined outcomes define the limits and those who want to stay employed will honor them to the letter.
This new reality was recently illustrated when the president of Brown University sent a letter to “the Brown community” outlining the expectations of all staff and faculty to conform to the “company policy” as described by Dr. Glen Loury (Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2020). According to the WSJ article, Dr. Loury (who is black) considers it “the Black Lives Matter view of the world reflected from the Brown University college president’s office”. He wrote a formal rebuttal that was published in a regional newspaper. He expresses his concerns and feels that many of his peers are simply too afraid to resist or speak up. In a similar fashion, Dr. Hsu of Michigan State University was forced to resign because “he was also accused of supporting psychology research at MSU on the statistics of police shootings that didn’t clearly support claims of racial bias.” (Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2020).
In addition to Brown University and MSU, there are numerous stories of newspaper editors, professors, journalists, teachers, and others being marginalized, demoted, or fired for not “toeing the line”. One of the new fast selling books being used for diversity training in corporate America (according to Gerard Baker of the Wall Street Journal) is White Fragility which teaches that if you’re White, you are racist (revealing a purposed corruption of the word “racist”). Mr. Baker also points out the term “violence” which no longer means “smashing a statue or assaulting a police officer” but refers to the written words of an opinion piece written by a U.S. Senator in the New York Times calling for federal help for overwhelmed police. By the way, an editor was forced out over allowing such violent words to be printed in the NYT.
Then there is the much-publicized Black Lives Matter. A self-proclaimed Marxist organization who according to their own statement seeks to eliminate the nuclear family in black communities. Their redefining of words would have George Orwell feeling like a prophet with his Newspeak language of the Ministry of Truth in “1984”. Not only do they decide who exactly is “black”, but they also decide who “matters” because the phrase doesn’t mean what an elementary English class would understand it to mean. One would think corporate America to be led by those wise enough to discern the difference, but with hundreds of millions of dollars newly committed to BLM after the George Floyd tragedy and positive promotion to their employees and viewers, “wise” must not mean what is used to.
So where does this leave us? Are we to get depressed and throw in the towel? Absolutely not! Those of us who value scripture and personal liberty must be mindful of the misuse of terms, commit to the long haul of resisting the corruption of terms, use terms correctly and teach our children to as well. For example, consider the term “equality”. Paul wrote a beautiful passage about it:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-28 NKJV
Obviously, Paul was writing in the context of the body of Christ, but the principle of genuine equality is a Christian goal based on equal worth, not vengeful social justice. Or consider the term “gender” which now is being redefined as whatever a person identifies themselves to be. That premise is “hogwash” (a term probably offensive to pigs). We are born as one of two genders…period. To agree to a redefining of the term is to deny God’s created order. He created them “in His own image”, “male and female” and instituted marriage between a man and woman (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).
The bottom line is this, recent tactical success of the strategy will yield more of it. While it still means the obvious, the phrase “buckle up” may be in order. Words we understand to have significant meaning such as right, wrong, love, truth, forgiveness, acceptance, sin, redemption, and many, many more will not be immune. With all that being said, let’s not “grow weary while doing good” but prayerfully be ready:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” – II Corinthians 10:4-5a NKJV