Evangelical author and evangelist Hal Lindsey is warning that political correctness is a growing threat to churches and individual Christians, and that it will ultimately lead to their civil and criminal prosecution.
In two recent programs on his syndicated television series, Lindsey defined political correctness and its origins, gave examples of how it is affecting society's institutions and warned of its potential harm to Christians, especially evangelicals.
The American pastor, now aged 83, is best known for his best-selling book "The Late Great Planet Earth".
"Political correctness is actually changing the way much of the world thinks, and it's changing it fast," said Lindsey.
He quoted an article by Fox Business reporter Steve Tobak, who defined political correctness as being pervasive and "collectivism, which destroys individualism.
"Competition is bad. Everyone's a winner. Everyone has to be included and treated the same. Singling out individuals as special or unique excludes others, so that's out.
"Everything has to be filtered to ensure no one is offended or gets into trouble."
Tobak wrote that "political correctness slows down information processing, waters down communication, strips out critical data, and dilutes meaning. As a result, it undermines genuine understanding and effective decision-making."
Lindsey called political correctness "contagion" that moves from mind to mind.
EFFECT ON UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOLS
In the classroom, he said that this contagion moved "from mind to minds."
"You would think our universities would be resistant to anything that restricts speech and thought, but in reality they are the creators and sustainers of it. From there it filters into our society into our schools."
He noted that the New York City Public Schools had banned such words as "death," "hunting," "homelessness," "poverty," "religion," "terrorism," "violence" and "weapons"on its standardized tests.
"According to a school spokesman, these words could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students," said Lindsey. "Perhaps a fitting motto for the New York City School system is 'ignorance is bliss'."
Lindsey told of how schools in the U.S. and the United Kingdom have been told that the use of a red pen can upset students. Some schools have even prohibited their use, he said.
In addition, Lindsey exemplified political correctness in education by noting how a California school sent five students home for wearing t-shirts that featured an American flag.
EFFECT ON THE WORKPLACE
"We understand that political correctness stifles speech and learning, not to mention fun and that it creates rigid, inflexible and intolerant patterns of thought," said Lindsey. "But sometimes it can also be physically dangerous.
"In Phoenix, Arizona if you are a person of color the city will hire you as a lifeguard even if you can't swim."
Lindsey told of how the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Pepsi for not hiring employees with arrest records.
"The EEOC said this disproportionately affects African Americans. Maybe the EEOC should sue itself for making such racist statements."
Lindsey said, "We understand that political correctness stifles speech and learning, not to mention fun and that it creates rigid, inflexible and intolerant patterns of thought. But sometimes it can also be physically dangerous."
EFFECT ON THE U.S. MILITARY
Lindsey referred to a widely publicized case earlier this year in which the Pentagon sought advice from atheist Mikey Weinstein that created an outcry from evangelicals.
He noted how Weinstein had called Christians "monsters of human degradation" and compared this statement to Roman emperor Nero calling Christians "enemies of the human race."
"Asking Weinstein to write guidelines on religious tolerance is like asking the fox to write a manual on the care and feeding of chickens," said Lindsey.
"Nowhere is the PC movement's ability to alter the environment than in the U.S. military.
"U.S. soldiers are now prohibited from criticizing pedophilia, making derogatory comments about the Taliban, advocating women's rights, or (saying) anything related to Islam."
Lindsey said that the goal of the U.S. Department of Defense is to "so oppress Christians in the military that they will either conform or leave."
EFFECT ON THE CHURCH
"We're only now beginning to feel the effects of this evil we call political correctness," he said.
"I believe we will soon experience its full weight and power. Already in Europe, ministers of the Gospel are sentenced to jail for simply preaching the Gospel because it does not agree with what society deems as acceptable thought."
Lindsey said he believes that political correctness "will yield disastrous and eternal consequences" for the Church.
"Do not underestimate the power and scope of political correctness," he said. "In fact, it is one of Satan's most ingenious and diabolical weapons.
"I have said before that the occasion for the persecution of the Church and individual Christians will come as a result of PC. I believe too that the justification for the civil or criminal prosecution of the Church and individual Christians will be our failure to follow the dictates of PC."
EXCLUSIVITY OF CHRIST
It is the claim by Christians that Jesus Christ is the only way to God which Lindsey says is the most abhorrent feature of Christianity to the politically correct.
In fact, Lindsey said that "PC propagandists" are now pushing a religion.
"The sometimes quirky ideas we laugh off as 'PC' are really a creed in embryonic form," he said. "This will be a religion of acceptance. It will welcome all other religions, rejecting all those that are in themselves exclusive."
Many churches today are arguing that Jesus was only a great teacher or prophet, according to Lindsey.
"That's the politically correct thing to say these days. But that's impossible. Jesus claimed to be God.
"With Jesus, it's either all or nothing. That's pretty exclusive. Jesus did not leave us the option of claiming that he was a good man and yet tell people that he is God if he is not. That's why Christians will not or cannot ever be politically correct."