Freedom is a double-edge sword. All perspectives have a voice, meaning we respect the rights of dissenting views. This freedom is being lost in America, not through a dictatorial regime, a politburo, Muslim extremists or a Third Reich. It is being lost through political correctness and fear of litigation.
Americans may no longer speak their minds without consequence; we are becoming afraid to even think unpopular thoughts. No, this is not a rerun from “The Twilight Zone.” It is an era we are entering.
Take Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” a man who believes what most Americans have believed since our nation was founded: that the practice of homosexuality is immoral. Back in the early 1970s, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Nowadays, refusing to endorse homosexuality is considered a mental illness. But doesn’t Phil have a right to express his opinion? By participating in an A&E program, has he lost his right to express his views without repercussion?
If A&E were a religious organization promoting the gay lifestyle, then it would be understandable to fire a man who was working against the purpose of the organization. If the network is about arts and entertainment, what difference does it make if its stars are conservative or liberal? Is it taboo to be a Christian and believe what Christians (and Jews) have generally believed for centuries? Does A&E own the souls of those with whom it contracts?
We witnessed something similar with the Food Network and Paula Deen. If Paula were an active racist and disrupting the other stars, releasing her would be necessary. But to admit she had been a racist — but has since seen the light — should be seen as a movement toward racial harmony. No one is as zealous for a cause as one won from the other side.
Powerful influences are pressuring the entertainment industry, the world of politics — indeed, our entire culture — to embrace its agenda or PAY. This is tyranny, not freedom.
America must live in light of her past. What Deen once believed was the norm in certain regions of the South. Kokomo was a northern hotbed for the Klu Klux Klan. Today’s views do not change what once was.
America was never a “Christian nation” in the strict evangelical sense of the word, but in the common use of the term, most Americans did profess some form of Christianity. Our morality was Judeo-Christian in nature, at least on paper. Many of us still embrace these ideals, such as: sex belongs in marriage, marriage is valid only between members of the opposite sex, and we can love and get along with people with whom we disagree. Although these standards were not always honored, they represented what we believed should be. If people want to refuse such morality, they are free to do so. But — like it or not — this is our heritage. We should not treat those who embrace traditional views as lepers. If folks want to reject traditional morality, they have that right; but to consider it “new” or “radical” is simply a lie.
The courts have stripped Americans of a lot of freedom, sometimes in an attempt to promote equality. Boys who use their fingers as a gun (considered the norm since guns were first invented) are now thought to need counseling. We have been intimidated from saying, “Merry Christmas!” The things Americans have done throughout our first two centuries are now illegal, immoral, or both. Someone is crazy; methinks the inmates are running the asylum.
Unlike political correctness in executive board rooms, most judges make an attempt (at least) to be fair. Reactionary executives who believe they must police the private views and lives of those with whom they contract — that’s frightening. Special interest groups are infusing our society with fear; they relish punishing those who dare to contradict their party line.
Are we moving toward a police state, influenced by unelected control freaks and social engineers? Are they bent on training us like dogs, with reward and punishment? I hope not, but the evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.
Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.