Political Correctness Hides the Truth

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Political Correctness Hides the Truth

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Many readers will be familiar with the old Hans Christian Andersen fable about the emperor's new clothes, which was turned into a popular song in the 1940s.

The story was told about a not very bright emperor in medieval times who was visited by a tailor. The tailor told the emperor about a new miracle cloth that was the most expensive and best quality cloth ever produced. The miracle was that only the wise could see it. The emperor asked to see the cloth. When the tailor pulled it out of his bag there was, of course, nothing there. But the emperor, not wanting to appear ignorant, professed his admiration for the cloth and ordered a new suit for himself.

Some time later the emperor "wore" his new suit as he went out in a procession. Everybody in the empire had been told about the new miracle cloth and all the crowds lining the route shouted out their approval. Except for one little boy. When the emperor and his entourage passed by, he exclaimed:

"The king doesn't have any clothes on!" Once the obvious was stated, the crowds saw the truth of the boy's remarks and the emperor was ridiculed.

Political correctness is like the emperor's new clothes. Not wanting to seem "un-wise," the vast majority of people go along with it, few ever actually thinking for themselves and questioning the prevailing "wisdom" of the age. As the apostle Paul wrote of a previous age, "Professing to be wise, they became fools..." (Romans 1:22). This was certainly the fate of the fabled emperor. For the rest of us, political correctness could prove fatal.

Historic continuum

The horrific terrorist attacks of September 11 were the worst single terrorist action against any nation in history, but they are part of a historic continuum. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has aptly described the goal of the forces of Islamic fundamentalism as "a war to reverse the triumph of the West" (quoted by George F. Will, Lansing State Journal, September 15, 2001). Herein lies a paradox. While Western culture and the Western economic system are both making inroads into even the remotest parts of the world, Western influence and power have been declining in another sense since World War II.

The dominant Western powers of the last two centuries have been the United Kingdom and the United States, fulfilling the prophecies in Genesis 48 and 49, which prophesied Joseph's supremacy "in the last days" (49:1, 22; 48:19). No other two nations have been so influential around the world in the last two centuries. Prior to World War II the British Empire was the pre-eminent power in the world; since World War II the United States has been. In 1945, following their triumph over the Axis powers, it seemed as if the two nations would remain the major powers for an indefinite period. But shortly after the end of the war the British started dismantling their empire. Within two decades almost all of it was gone.

Other empires were also coming to an end, as the European empires handed over political control of their former colonies to new indigenous leaders, most of whom rapidly became despotic tyrants. In some cases, terrorism was used against the ruling Western colonizers, forcing them into retreat. My wife and I lived through the terrorist war in Rhodesia, which resulted in Rhodesia's defeat and the birth of Zimbabwe. Political correctness saw this change as progressive, but it was another milestone in the "war to reverse the triumph of the West."

The West since 1945 has clearly been in political and military retreat. At the same time, Western culture has become more pervasive as world trade boomed and modern communications spread American influence into every region.

With the changing political climate after World War II, this period of decolonization was seen as progressive. Political correctness ridiculed the empire and applauded the newly independent nations that replaced it. This has obscured a significant reality that has a bearing on the events of September 11. The fact is that for the best part of two hundred years, the British kept the lid on some of the major tensions that have now come to the fore. Hindus and Muslims lived in comparative harmony on the Indian subcontinent during the time of the British Raj. Today Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan are enemies, armed with nuclear weapons that could be used in a future conflict.

Similarly the British Mandate of Palestine between the two world wars tried to keep the lid on Arab-Jewish tensions following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

American historian John Truslow Adams wrote a prophetic passage in his 1940 book, The British Empire (1784-1939). Writing at a time when the British Empire and Commonwealth were already at war with Nazi Germany while America remained neutral, he warned that "the possible overthrow of the British Empire would be a catastrophe scarcely thinkable. Not only would it leave a vacuum over a quarter of the globe into which all the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression would rush, but the strongest bulwark outside ourselves for our own safety and freedom would have been destroyed" (p. 358).

In answering the disciples' question "...when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3), Jesus prophesied an increased frequency of war between ethnic groups (verse 7) as "nation [would] rise against nation." The Greek word for nation here is ethnos. There has always been ethnic conflict, but in the past, large multinational empires largely subdued it. The end of these empires in the 20th century has led to a quadrupling in the number of nations and a proliferation in ethnic conflict. Interestingly, Luke 21:20 shows that Jerusalem will become a focal point of world conflict at the end, something that might not have been the case if the Ottoman Empire had continued to rule over the area.

Christ also warned of false religious leaders, saying that "many will come in My name, saying 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5). This is not only true of false Christianity. There have been secular leaders in the last few decades who claimed they were giving the people a millennial utopia-Hitler, Stalin and Mao, among others. Islam also has had its share of radical leaders claiming to speak for God.

The increased chaos and confusion of the last 50 years has largely resulted from the end of the empires that previously dominated the globe. As the West has retreated, ethnic and religious tensions have come to the fore.

This is a religious war

Osama bin Laden has called the current conflict a "war between Islam and atheism." Interestingly, 10 years ago Saddam Hussein described the Persian Gulf War as a conflict between "Islam and Christianity." Neither phrase is correct. The West can hardly be called Christian anymore, but neither is it atheist, as most people, in America at least, still hold to some religious beliefs. The present crisis could best be described as a war between militant Islam and secularism. It is, however, the continuation of a conflict that follows 14 centuries of on-again, off-again wars between Islam and Christianity.

As the West has secularized, it has become more tolerant of other religions. Changes to immigration laws have encouraged the immigration of millions of people from Islamic countries into the liberal Western democracies. Significantly, not one of the 56 countries that are members of the Islamic Conference allows Westerners to settle and become citizens, unless they marry a native Muslim and convert first. In their eyes, Christianity and Western secularism are not compatible with Islamic values. Could it be that the West has made a mistake in supposing that they are? Political correctness maintains that all peoples can be successfully brought together in the American melting pot. But what if this is wrong?

Columnist Cal Thomas writes: "One sees many white, Anglo-Saxon, mostly Protestant members of Congress and others on television today vouching for the 'peaceful' nature and intent of Islam. Oprah Winfrey has done a show on 'modern Muslim women'-none of whom would be allowed to dress in contemporary clothing, be educated, or even appear on television if they lived in radical Muslim states" ("Radical Islam Is a Real Threat," Lansing State Journal, October 28, 2001).

Thomas asked a Sudanese Episcopal bishop "what he believes about the nature and intent of contemporary Islam. 'It is a militant religion,' he tells me and laughs at those who serve as its character witnesses." Continuing, "Bishop Dolli was in Washington recently. He attempted to warn Congress and anyone else who would listen of the dangers posed by Islam, especially in its militant form."

Sudan is a front-line state in the present day conflict between Islam and Christianity. Others include Nigeria (where Muslim mobs burned down 12 churches in the city of Kano on one Sunday morning recently, killing hundreds of people), the Balkans, Chechnya, Indonesia and the Philippines. Pakistan's small Christian minority was attacked at the end of October when gunmen opened fire on a church service, killing 16 people.

Alarmingly, Pakistan's former intelligence chief Hamid Gul warned that if Taliban leader "Mullah Omar declares jihad, Muslim youths will again come to fight. The Americans will light a fire from Morocco to Mindanao" ("Blood and Fundamentalism" by Julian Manyon, The Spectator, September 22, 2001). Added to which we should bear in mind that in the Islamic world "most countries have a rapidly growing population, at least 60% of which is under 25" ("Damping Down the Haystack" by Bruce Anderson, The Spectator, September 22, 2001). Outside of the Gulf states, "this means that there is a large supply of young men with few career prospects, whose lives have no meaning except dreams, violence and religion" (ibid., Anderson).

In a column titled "This IS a Religious War," Andrew Sullivan warned, "Individual faith and pluralism were the targets Sept. 11th, and it was only the beginning of an epic battle" (September 17, 2001).

The Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel warns of a coming conflict between the "king of the South" (likely the Islamic nations) and the "king of the North" (some of the Western powers) (Daniel 11:40-44). It is a continuation of a historic struggle that has gone on for over two thousand years.

Changing demographics have been factors here. The West's decline reflects declining birth rates in Western nations, while the rise of Islam as a world force is partly due to a high population growth rate.

"In the long run...Mohammed wins out. Christianity spreads mainly by conversion, Islam by conversion and reproduction. The percentage of Christians in the world peaked at about 30% in the 1980s, leveled off and is now declining, and will probably approximate about 25% of the world's population by 2025. As a result of their extremely high rates of population growth, the proportion of Muslims in the world will continue to increase dramatically, amounting to 20% of the world's population about the turn of the century, surpassing the number of Christians some years later, and probably accounting for about 30% of the world's population by 2025" (Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, 1996, p. 65).

The changing world demographics that Huntington refers to are evidenced by internal changes in the demographics in Western countries. Falling birth rates since World War II led to significant and unprecedented changes to immigration law that have resulted in substantial numbers of people of other cultures being present in the West. Among others, tens of millions of Muslims have moved from high birthrate countries to the low birthrate nations of the Western world. This has compounded the West's problems in dealing with terrorism. Although the focus right now is on Afghanistan and the Taliban, the fact remains that the terrorists who were directly involved in the events of September 11 had all lived in the United States for some time.

Political correctness continually reassures the public that American Muslims are loyal Americans. But "Michigan State Police confirmed Monday [October 22] that many terrorist groups-including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network-have members and financial supporters in the state" (Lansing State Journal, October 23, 2001). With an estimated eight million Muslims in the United States, if only 1 percent are supporters of extremism, that's a potential 80,000 terrorists.

Disturbingly, "in the U.S., 80% of mosques are estimated by the Sufi Hisham al-Kabbani, born in Lebanon and now living in the U.S., to be under the control of Wahhabi imams, who preach extremism..." ("Ground Zero and the Saudi Connection" by Stephen Schwartz, The Spectator, September 22, 2001). This suggests that many in the next generation of followers in the United States are more likely to be extremists.

Political correctness assures us that the second generation of any immigrant group is fully assimilated even if the parents aren't, but Schwartz's article points out that this will not be the case with the next generation of Muslims in the United States.

"These Wahhabis...accuse their own fathers of heresy, sin and unbelief. And the young children of the immigrants, when they grow up in this country [the United States], get exposed only to this one-sided version of Islam and are led to think that this is the only Islam" (ibid.).

Explaining Wahhabism, the same article says it is "a strain of Islam that emerged...less than two centuries ago. It is violent, it is intolerant and it is fanatical beyond measure. It originated in Arabia, and it is the official theology of the Gulf states. Wahhabism is the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism, and its followers are called Wahhabis. Not all Muslims are suicide bombers, but all Muslim suicide bombers are Wahhabis." The sect was founded by Ibn Abdul Wahhab (1703-92). "From the beginning...his cult was associated with the mass murder of all who opposed it. For example, the Wahhabis fell upon the city of Qarbala in 1801 and killed 2,000 ordinary citizens in the streets and markets."

Continuing from the same article: "Bin Laden is a Wahhabi. So are the suicide bombers in Israel. So are his Egyptian allies, who exulted as they stabbed foreign tourists to death at Luxor not many years ago, bathing in blood up to their elbows and emitting blasphemous cries of ecstasy. So are the Algerian terrorists whose contribution to the purification of the world consisted of murdering people for such sins as running a movie projector or reading secular newspapers. So are the Taliban-style guerrillas in Kashmir who murder Hindus."

Interestingly, "Wahhabism is subsidized by Saudi Arabia," America's chief ally in the Gulf! They are motivated by a similar conviction as motivated the communists, who threatened the West during the Cold War: "the belief that the West was or is decadent and doomed."

So we see here a contradiction. The enemy is largely within, but political correctness cannot admit to that, for fear the emperor will be exposed. So, the pretense is maintained that the enemy is solely without.

Contribution of liberalism

Clearly, liberal thinking has been a contributory factor to the crisis in which the West now finds itself. Not only have the post-war "progressive" policies on decolonization, religion and immigration played a role, but major contributors also include the West's liberal moral laws, all dating back to the Sexual Revolution of the '60s.

"The belief that the West was or is decadent and doomed," quoted above, is a significant factor here. In spite of religious differences, there was a time when the rest of the world looked up to the United States, Britain and the European powers.

"Righteousness exalts a nation" we are told in Proverbs 14:34, "but sin is a reproach to any people." The rest of the world gets its impression of America from television, movies and music, all of which are heavily violent and sexual in content.

Our relations with the rest of the world will only be helped if we clean up our nation and become a godlier people. "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth" (Deuteronomy 28:1). WNP