I try to be politically correct. And I’m Mormon.

Politically-Correct

Full disclosure: I stole this image from a blog post attacking the concept. Then I saw they stole it from somewhere else and the origins are lost to space and time.

Or, how to stick up for political correctness when it gets ridiculed at church.

A few weeks ago in Sunday school I was chided for suggesting that Christopher Columbus didn’t merit our unalloyed appreciation. I did it with as much diplomacy as I could muster, making sure to emphasize everyone was entitled to their own opinion. My observation was dismissed as the product of too much “political correctness” in the world. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard “PC” being spoken of disparagingly at church—even some general authorities have spoken of it as something to be lamented if not rejected. But it was the first time my own observation directly provoked the disparagement. And it felt terrible. In the current political climate of the United States we’re seeing compelling evidence that dismissing the idea of political correctness wholesale is a huge mistake.

I’m not debating the merits of the idea here. This post is for you if you find yourself in a class discussion where fellow sisters and brothers in the gospel ridicule the “PC Police” and you want to offer a different perspective without tanking all your social capital. Here’s an example (with my commentary included) of how you might steer the discussion in a better direction:

 

  • “I apologize in advance for lingering on this point a little longer since it’s a bit of a sidetrack [This windup helps alleviate the teacher’s and class’s anxiety that a rant is on the way], but I’m interested in what it means to be ‘politically correct,’ because sometimes we talk about it like it’s a bad thing [Using more neutral language like being “interested” establishes a better tone than “I really don’t like when people talk about PC like this,” etc.]. I’ll be very brief. According to Webster’s Dictionary [Mormons gonna Morm!], political correctness means ‘agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.’ I like that definition. Don’t we all do that sometimes? When’s the last time you heard someone say a word like ‘bullcrap’ in a sacrament meeting talk? [Provide an example people can relate to.] Sure, political correctness can be taken to an extreme [anticipate/circumvent reasonable objections]. But I think most of the time it just means we try to show respect and love for other people in what we say and do. I believe political correctness is just another way of showing charity for others [testify!].”

Try it out. Craft your own statement using some of those bracketed principles and post it in the comments. Did I miss anything?

Of course, fellow church members might push back on this comment by observing that sometimes truth can be offensive: “The guilty taketh the truth to be hard” (1 Nephi 16.2). A person could invoke this scripture while making a judgment they aren’t qualified to make: that an offended person must be the guilty party. The attitude is like this: We have to “tell it like it is,” and if they don’t like it we can assume they take the truth to be hard.

But what if the offender is the one who can’t accept the hard commandment to love one another? It’s possible that the truth of political correctness is too hard for the person guilty of breaching it to take.

 

Here are few additional resources you might use because sometimes you’ll need some scriptural or General Authority backup:

“The voice that bears profound testimony, utters fervent prayer, and sings the hymns of Zion can be the same voice that berates and criticizes, embarrasses and demeans, inflicts pain and destroys the spirit of oneself and of others in the process. ‘Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing,’ James grieves. ‘My brethren [and sisters], these things ought not so to be.’ (James 3:2–10). … So, brothers and sisters, in this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be “perfect” men and women in at least this one way now—by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today.”

[This example is especially strong because it exemplifies the principle it is trying to teach. Note how Elder Holland inserts “sisters” into the KJV text, evincing his desire to employ more inclusive language. In other words, being politically correct.]

And Aaron answered [the king] and said unto him: “Believest thou that there is a God?” And the king said, “I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe.” And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said, “Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God.” And the king said, “Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?” And Aaron said unto him, “Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?” And he said “Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.”

Both figures in this passage sort of exemplify political correctness. The king grants his subjects the right to assemble and worship even though he doesn’t exactly share their religious views. As for Aaron, he could have responded to the king’s question about the Great Spirit by saying something like “the Great Spirit is an apostate idea; I’m talking about the true God.” Instead, he’s perfectly willing to adjust his vocabulary with the king when speaking of God/the Great Spirit. He’s being politically correct.

Again, feel free to write your own hypothetical classroom response in the comments and/or add your own favorite scriptures and quotes about the importance of reflecting love in our language.

 

Comments

  1. I had a somewhat different experience. When I pointed out to my Sunday school class that Christopher Columbus was actually a horrible man who killed and enslaved thousands (being wrought upon by the spirit of the Lord notwithstanding), some class members actually kind of defended him by talking about how none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. I was a bit surprised at that, but not for long, as I think most church members are afraid to even consider views that might possibly border on being somewhat outside the common wisdom of the herd.

  2. This is marvelous, BHodges. Thank you.

  3. Yet another example of why I’m glad I haven’t been regularly able to attend Gospel Doctrine for 9 years.

  4. When people say, often with marked pride, “I’m not politically correct,” what they usually mean by that is “I don’t think it’s actually important to be charitable or kind, except maybe to people that agree with me.”

  5. I understand (I think) where some of the anti-PC backlash comes from, because there are some times where it really can look like people are trying to be offended, or things blow up out of context. Thing is, many of those same people that decry political correctness are often very quick to express outrage over something [insert probably liberal person here] said that wasn’t deferential enough to [insert shining bastion of truth and civil society here]. And don’t even begin to criticize a religious group from the approved list (Scientologists are free game, though), which we as Mormons really hope we’re on. I think the default is that we all implicitly assume that what offends us is most likely the real limits of proper being offended, and those who go beyond that are just big babies. We forget that that not how being offended works- it’s an emotional response based on personal circumstances, as ridiculous to circumscribe in this way as happiness would be. It’s hard to remember this when we’re certain we’re right and that those who disagree are wrong.

    I guess I’m rambling, but the short answer is this- I think an empathetic approach to other people leads us to being at least somewhat “PC,” because we’ll treat people how they would like to be treated and we’ll try to understand why they feel that way. If Willard Romney were an acquaintance of mine and he kept insisting I call him “Mitt” and I kept calling him by his “real name,” I would be a jerk. I figure I should extend the same courtesy to groups of people as I would to Mitt.

  6. Thank you for sharing – P.C. is being POLITE. Nothing wrong with that.

  7. I think Hope W’s comment illustrates my thoughts about PC, which are that we don’t have a common definition. I’ve never thought of PC as being polite. If you have 5 people either decrying or supporting political correctness you probably have 5 different definitions of what it is.

  8. Christopher J. says:

    Good stuff, Blair. Thanks.

  9. Observer says:

    In general, my issues with the PC movement are in the attempts to enforce political correctness on others. It is one thing for an individual to try not to offend others in his or her speech. It’s another thing entirely to attack or criticize others because they were not “politically correct” enough.

    Political correctness is fine when you enforce it against yourself, but it is highly problematic when it becomes an excuse to silence others.

  10. I always think of a quote from the Bible Dictionary definition of ‘Election’ when people question people like Columbus: “Although the Lord uses certain individuals to accomplish His purposes, it does not necessarily follow that these persons will automatically receive a fulness of salvation thereby. For instance, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus fulfilled certain purposes in the economy of God, they apparently did it for their own reasons and not as conscious acts of faith and righteousness. On the other hand, salvation of one’s soul comes only by personal integrity and willing obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” I think that’s a sufficiently PC statement, though it’s also pretty straightforward. Even if Columbus fulfilled certain purposes in the economy of God, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he was a good person or even did a good job.

  11. Come on, nobody gets silenced by political correctness. At most, they get criticized or ridiculed for saying stupid and offensive things, and other people stop paying attention to them. I agree that we shouldn’t be hypersensitive, and even in criticism we should be charitable and kind, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with calling somebody out for being a jerk, or better yet, educating somebody that the way they are speaking is hurtful.

  12. JKC,

    I attended a liberal state university within the last 10 years. People like me are certainly silenced by political correctness. Frankly, I am amazed that you could suggest that it doesn’t happen.

    Ideally, political correctness covers politeness and encourages us to think about the perspective of others and speak with charity like the OP suggests. But in my experience, it is often deployed to prevent people from stating opinions that the majority doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want to hear.

  13. I’m a big believer (having been converted by experience) that how I start off my comment is the single most important part of it. So I loved your opening line in your dialogue: “I apologize in advance for lingering on this point a little longer since it’s a bit of a sidetrack…”

  14. Yes, there’s no doubt that PC culture silences people. In many environments there are just certain opinions that are off limits — to speak them out loud means certain ostracization (and in some contexts, that ostracization can affect employment, etc…)

    And FWIW, any liberal mormon has experienced this. Mormonism has its own version of PC silencing — certain opinions (general left-leaning opinions) are off limits, not to be spoken out loud in SS. To verbalize your support for female ordination/SSM/etc… in many congregations necessarily leads to significant negative consequences. That’s what silencing is.

  15. JKC,

    Doesn’t “being silenced” mean getting “criticized or ridiculed”?

  16. Carey, no I don’t think it does. Having the right and ability to speak your mind doesn’t include immunity from how others react to what you say.

    Jay and ABM, along those same lines, the fact that an environment exists where certain views are unpopular, which might lead people to self-censor, in order to avoid the social consequences of unpopular ideas, doesn’t, to my view, equate to being silenced by others. There are always social consequences for expressing just about any opinion.

    But that’s getting pretty far afield from the “political correctness” that I think Blair was talking about in the OP, which is simply the idea that in general, we should try not to offend others, and if we get called out for it, we should be willing to adjust our vocabulary to find a way of saying what it is we want to say without being offensive.

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    I was interested in this because I made a similar comment about Columbus in my GD class earlier this year. I was curious what would happen, but I got no pushback whatsoever. The guy who is not a big fan of my “intellectual” approach and would prefer a more slavish manual-based approach seemed to take my comment with significant approval–probably because he has long been heavily involved with the native American community in our area, attending pow wows and such, so the comment was I suspect one he happened to agree with whole heartedly.

    Your Alma example about the “Great Spirit” is a good example of something Ben S. talked about at the BYU NT Commentary Conference last July, called “accommodation” or “condescension.” Basically, God is justified in meeting us where we happen to be; he doesn’t have to teach ancient Israelites about quantum mechanics, and allows them to have simplistic views of things such as creation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accommodation_(religion)

  18. The only problem I see with the hypothetical Sunday School defense of political correctness outlined here is I think it misunderstands the pushback against PCness. I don’t think most people want to use words or labels that offend someone. It’s that they don’t understand how (usually) accurate words could be offensive, and see the alternative language as something that promotes a political agenda. I think a more effective approach would explain why a particular word or label is offensive or insensitive and what it triggers in the offended party. I know I’m much more likely to change my language if I understand that it causes pain in someone else, even in cases when I think when I think the offended person is being overly sensitive.

  19. Suggest reading book “Unprotected”by Miriam Grossman, a campus psychiatrist reveals how political correctness in her profession endangers every student.

  20. Political correctness is fine when you enforce it against yourself, but it is highly problematic when it becomes an excuse to silence others.

    What’s interesting is that it was the brother who accused me of political correctness who was trying to silence others. What are people trying to enforce when they attack political correctness? You raise the spectre of enforcement. People who criticise political correctness seem very concerned about power and control. Instead of worrying about whether we can feel free to say whatever the heck we want to say, we should be more concerned about how our words might be received. More concern with persuasion and long-suffering rather than coercion and control.

  21. Rob: I’m not suggesting anyone go out of their way to introduce the term political correctness into their lessons and classes. This post is for times when someone else brings it up in a disparaging way. And my suggested discourse seems to abide by the charitable approach you recommend.

  22. Srw: of course you may suggest it. It would be more helpful if you took time to explain how your author understands PC and how that understanding intersects with what I’ve laid out here, noting that I already acknowledged there can be negative side effects of political correctness depending on how it is deployed.

  23. Rob: “It’s that they don’t understand how (usually) accurate words could be offensive, and see the alternative language as something that promotes a political agenda.”

    I would add, they don’t recognize their own political agenda as contestable or limited. The attitude is: It’s the other person who’s being political, not me.

  24. Jared vdH says:

    JKC, the definition of silencing in most social science circles is when “individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude members due to the members’ opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_of_silence)

    A black person self-censoring themselves during a discussion of slavery, reparations, or other social justice issues to avoid the social consequences of unpopular ideas is widely considered silencing of the black community. I can certainly see how some people could feel silenced in an environment where opinion policing occurs where people use mantle of “political correctness” inappropriately

    However, I agree with you that political correctness, especially of the type espoused in the OP, does not generally fall under the umbrella of “silencing”.

  25. Sorry in advance for the sidetrack, but. . .
    From my experience, a lot of the people I run into who are anti-PC are just confused about what free speech means.For example, I recently came across a facebook conversation where a friend of mine had posted a pro gun rights video. Another friend commented stating that he thought the video did not help the cause because it made pro gun rights folks seem uneducated and it didn’t address the real concerns of people who would like stricter gun laws. It was a well thought out response to the video but it did contain the words, “I find this offensive.” The poster of the video responded with a rant on people being overly sensitive and concluded with, “I have the right to say and post what I think without anyone getting all offended.” There were a few other commenters who backed up this statement.
    It is bizarre to me that people think they have the right to say whatever they want and no one else is allowed to find it offensive. How is this a right? It makes absolutely no sense. I don’t think everyone who has issues with PC feels this way, but I have found that those who hate it most believe it is their right to never be called out on anything they say.

  26. (I hope those who still feel to criticize political correctness can appreciate how I tried to embody the spirit of my post in the suggested response I wrote in it. It’s not really “politically correct” to defend political correctness in the American church, so I tried to be politically correct, that is sensitive to the views and hearts of my fellow congregants, in my politically incorrect defense of political correctness.)

  27. Here’s my two cents on the whole Columbus thing which I had a lengthy discussion with a couple of years ago with some other people: 1 Nephi 13 states that Columbus was inspired ONLY in the discovering of America. It says nothing about his other actions being divinely sanctioned. While the Lamanites/Native Americans were being punished by God for their wickedness, the scriptures state nothing about the righteousness of those driving the Lamanites. So what happened was foretold but not divinely approved.

  28. John Mansfield says:

    I never imagined in 1991 that the phrase “politically correct” would have a permanent place in the cultural landscape. It seemed deliberately ephemeral, like Wayne and Garth’s “Not!” or Schwarzkopf’s Desert Storm fame. Do people attacking political correctness still feel like they are making a little derisive joke about the concept by sticking old Marxist jargon on it, like Hoyle did when he coined “Big Bang”? Do those defending political correctness today feel like they are being forced to own an insult, like those who were first called “Mormons”? Or are they invoking the old hard-left vocabulary that had limited circulation and repurposing it? Has “politically correct” slipped loose of its origins, as it seems to have since it remains a current phrase and concern in 2016?

  29. Observer says:

    BHodges,

    My comments really were directed at both sides. The man accusing you of political correctness was crossing a line just as much as the stereotypical “PC police” cross the same line.

    I have long been a big advocate of free speech, even in private settings. If people are not free to accurately state their opinions, then we are all worse off as a society. I generally try not to offend others in what I say not because it’s “politically correct”, but because it’s poor communication in general. It’s hard to insult someone into agreeing with you.

    And yet, political correctness is used not just to attack the manner in which people express themselves, but to attack the substance of their expression as well. That is a very dangerous road to go down. A true statement doesn’t become false just because some people find it offensive (think Laman and Lemuel’s reaction to Nephi’s teachings). Similarly, a false statement doesn’t become true just because it is couched in non-offensive terms.

    It is the latter that I have issues with (as well as the corresponding behavior policing the “PC police”). The former, while problematic, is generally more a case of a person shooting themselves in the foot.

  30. JKC, I do believe one has the right not to be ridiculed for expressing a view that is considered objectionable by others – not a right in the a constituional sense, but more as an expectation that the group they communicate will behave civily toward them. Of course there are also varying degrees of ridicule, but some where along the continuum I think the term “being silenced” aptly applies.

  31. BHodges says:

    Observer: we share pretty much the same goal. We want people to feel comfortable expressing their views, beating their testimony, however we want to classify it. Anti-PC rants or jokes actually create a atmosphere where some of our fellow saints (myself included) have difficulty breathing. And it’s hard to talk when you can’t breathe. We could certainly attend better to the less obvious ways we collectively diminish people’s ability to speak in church.

  32. BHodges says:

    Bearing, not beating

  33. BHodges says:

    Bryce: the Book of Mormon uses the name of Mary long before she was born. But it doesn’t use the name of Columbus. I think we’d be better off thinking of that figure as someone besides CC because the text doesn’t require us to believe it was him.

  34. Darren Jolley says:

    Two tidbits on Columbus. Wilford Woodruf when doing his temple work ordained him to the office of High Priest instead of an Elder which is peculiar. Considering what that ordinance allows on the other side of the Vail.
    Many of the attrocities that often are attributed to Columbus were committed by men who turned against him. There is a recent book at Deseret Book that is available on Columbus that goes thru his history. Much of the current PC info being taught is not backed up with the facts of his life.

  35. I see your point, Carey. But I also think that some things are truly ridiculous and ridicule may be the appropriate response. And some things truly are offensive, and taking offense is an appropriate response. Though much depends on the setting, too. In a sunday school class, I don’t think ridicule is really ever the right response. On the campaign trail, in letters to the editor, or another more public forum, I wouldn’t rule it out. But if it is employed, it should be employed like the word of wisdom says to employ tobacco, “with judgment and skill,” not as a knee-jerk response.

  36. Mary Lythgoe Bradford says:

    Blair you are brilliant!

  37. BHodges says:

    Darren: that Deseret Book title is, unfortunately, not sound history.

    John: haha I was 9 in 1991. Tubular!

  38. I don’t think it’s politically correct to make the rest of us feel old, Blair.

  39. I think we’d be better off thinking of that figure as someone besides CC because the text doesn’t require us to believe it was him.

    I don’t think my attempt was very successful, but this is the tack I took when teaching that SS lesson. I tried to get my class to consider whether the text actually required us to identify that figure as Columbus, or whether — perhaps — we assumed it was Columbus because we had always heard teachers tell us it was Columbus. I gave a couple of reasons for considering alternatives. I didn’t say anything one way or another about either Columbus the man or his New World history, and emphasized that I wasn’t claiming Columbus was not the man referred to … but mostly I got only blank stares followed, finally, by somebody repeating the standard assumption that it was Columbus. Way, way too often we’re content — eager, insistent — to repeat what we heard back in the day, rather than consider a new idea, or reason through whether “what we heard” is required by the text, or even why we make the assumptions we do.

    But unless somebody was moved to think about it quietly and privately, I failed.

  40. Darren Jolley says:

    The book is well referenced. So I can’t fault the book. I doubt you have better sources than those cited so you should not just dismiss the work. I would not dismiss those references.

    The second point in would like to make is when you contradict teachings that are long held in the church by modern prophets and that fit historical fact you need to proposed you feel that man among gentiles is. Otherwise your arguments dont hold water.

  41. Geoff - Aus says:

    I assume there is not hate speak legislation in the US. There is in much of the first world. We still have degrees of PC but hate speak laws give a floor under expression below which they may not go.
    They are in most states civil law, not criminal, so you have to take a complaint to the “Human rights commission” who will try to mediate it, if not a judge can decide.
    The laws make it an offence to; incite hatred for, serious contempt for, or severely ridicule, a person or group, on grounds of race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

    Because of this in the background Mr Trump may not have said some of the things he does, it could be a problem to say there are no aborigines in Australia, or no gays in the church, or there was not a holocost.

    We do not have marriage equality here yet and the ruling conservative party is talking of a plebiscite (non binding vote) on it. The Christian lobby (I think we are part) has asked that the hate speak legislation be suspended, so they can say what they think of gays in the lead up to the plebiscite. Many think that says enough about their input.

    I think it is good to be PC (take into account the feelings of others) on the basis of the Golden rule. The world is a nicer place without extreme language especially hate speak.

  42. Like most things in life, it’s a balance. On the one side you have a society full of jerks, on the other side a society ruled by whoever has the thinnest skin. When I think of “politically correct” in that context, I think of someone who is way too far on the “thin skin” side of the scale.

    But, FWIW, the common usage of “politically correct” on lds.org that a quick search reveals is not so much talking about causing offense as it’s talking about being “socially acceptable”:

    “It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is always the right thing to do.”
    “To further complicate matters, others try to persuade us that our decisions must be socially acceptable and politically correct.”
    “Some people are so anxious to be politically correct and to conform to the fashions of the world!”
    “We see a few around us who simply can’t stand to be separated from the ‘politically correct’ multitudes in the great and spacious building.”
    “They may be politically correct, but they are spiritually lost.”

  43. Darren Jolley, by “well referenced” do you mean “has lots of references”? As an expert in an entirely different academic field, I can share my experience that unless you’re an expert who is actually conversant with the content of the references being made, it’s very difficult to know whether the citations are meaningful. You’ll find from the bio of the author of that book that he’s a banker, not a professional historian. That doesn’t mean he can’t be right, but it should engender significant reservations, especially since the book is being sold by Deseret Book rather than an academic press. I’m sure one of the historians who comments here can give us the real scoop on this book.

  44. Mark B. says:

    There is of course no reason whatsoever that Christopher Columbus might have been used by God in accomplishing his purposes even if he was a thoroughly vile human being. See, e.g., the king of Assyria. (Isaiah 10) And if the Spirit did move Columbus to sail west, as to which I express no opinion, that does not mean that Columbus had to be a proto-Mormon, worthy to hear the promptings of the Spirit and inclined to follow them in his treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas or in his desire to gain wealth or power for himself or the king and queen of Spain.

  45. The politically correct way of describing Joseph Smith is: Inspired but deeply flawed. Surely we can do the same for Columbus.

  46. CSS,

    If the church is considered a separate world itself with its own culture and its own set of political correctness and pretty much conforming is expected, we can see all the points in your quote applied:

    “It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is always the right thing to do.”
    “To further complicate matters, others try to persuade us that our decisions must be socially acceptable and politically correct.”
    “Some people are so anxious to be politically correct and to conform to the fashions of the world!”
    “We see a few around us who simply can’t stand to be separated from the ‘politically correct’ multitudes in the great and spacious building.”
    “They may be politically correct, but they are spiritually lost.”

    Unfortunately, these things happen in the church frequently…

  47. I don’t like the term; it’s fuzzy and carries baggage. No one would object to a rephrase like “we need to be both polite and sensitive (not in the sense of avoiding things but in how we phrase them), as well as historically and contextually accurate in our proposed interpretations.”

    The larger problem, I think, is the force of tradition. We’ve heard it’s Columbus for so long that we have trouble conceptualizing why someone might *not* think it’s Columbus. I object more to the idea that “God chose Columbus and therefore Columbus was a swell guy and a great Christian” than the idea that it actually *was* Columbus. I tried to lay some groundwork about the nature of LDS tradition in my post on those chapters, but I don’t think Gospel Doctrine really affords the time to do such guidance.

  48. BHodges says:

    Darren, the Columbus example is peripheral to the main point of my post and others here have said what I was going to say I response.

    Ardis: maybe just trying signaled success.

    Ben:

    CSS: I think those references are a caricature of political correctness. Most people stopped using the N weird because they realized it is an offensive term with a terrible history behind it. Not because they’re afraid someone else might judge them if they use it. (Though there may be a few who don’t use it for that reason. Does that mean people are just ashamed of what “the world” would think of them?)

  49. Frank W. Hays says:

    Thank You, wonderful article. I sure hope Elder Bednar reads this one. It will help him to understand why Gay Latter-day Saints, SSA, SGA, Two Spirit etc.would be offended despite his attempt to use such a statement as ” We have no Gay Mormons”…I suppose he expected the worlds response, but I don’t think he releases how it shames LDS Gay Mormons. We will continue to have more gay suicides young and old…It is now 16 years since Stuart Matis taking his life. As a Gay Latter-day Saint, he is one of my heros. But I think he would be disappointed in the progress in the church.

  50. “Ben: ”
    Was there a response for me, or did I leave you speechless? ;)

  51. Darren Jolley says:

    I am that. I have published in several professional journals and know what the term well referenced is. I don’t believe in people who just dismiss the scholarly work of others without backing it up. Sorry. This is the typical thing that the PC try to do. So I find your arguments just a bit wanting for substance.

  52. anon nona says:

    Observer is absolutely right.
    Educate yourselves on history. Use unbiased sources.

    The examples given in this article have nothing to do with the political correctness that is going on in society. Your way of framing your argument and examples is typical of marxism or the Alinsky method.

    Political correctness is being used by the liberal progressives /social justice warriors to shame and bully and cause loss of employment to people who do not hold a liberal progressive facist marxist viewpoint.
    It is the first step to totalitarianism.
    Our whole Constitution is under attack right now. Look at what is happening on college campuses. Ridiculous.

    The days of agreeing to disagree are long gone. The Golden Rule is gone.
    How sad that so many LDS are embracing the abusing PC culture. It is draconian and wrong.

  53. ‘liberal progressive marxist fascist’

    Make up your mind! Pick one.

  54. “So I find your arguments just a bit wanting for substance.” See the discussion here , where Clark Hinckley shows up in the comments to defend his thesis.

  55. As soon as my husband understood that 1 Nephi 13:12 itself doesn’t require an interpretation of Columbus (took all of about 30 seconds), he (recently reading Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico) argued that a good, perhaps a better, case can be made for the “man among the Gentiles” being Hernán Cortés. (Prescott’s works are great classics, worth reading in any case, so read him, followed by some modern scholarship if you care, before dismissing this alternate theory out of hand. In other words, Wikipedia will not suffice.)

    Problem is, this alternate interpretation would require people to grapple with questions of Book of Mormon geography and American exceptionalism, and the American exceptionalist readings of the Book of Mormon have become so entrenched that trying to bring any of this up in Sunday School may set off a battle between the “PC” and “anti-PC” crowds, and before you know it people are drawing swords in the hallway after Sunday School.

  56. Anon I agree with you completely. The culture of acceptance and tolerance claiming PC standards is anything but tolerant of anyone who differs in opinion….and that is exactly what tolerance is based on…opinion.

  57. Darren, this is not the typical thing the PC try to do.

  58. There’s a big difference between disagreeing about something and not tolerating something. Since my post is presented from the perspective of someone who values what I understand to be political correctness can you help me understand how it enforces intolerance?

  59. Good job bringing up how we shouldn’t praise Columbus so much. This reminds me of a time before my mission when I heard someone in church say the same thing and I was shocked and appalled. Now I understand.

  60. After perusing through some of the comments, it should be pointed out that Mormons very often demand political correctness when it comes to outsiders talking about Mormonism. So it would seem to a be double-standard for Mormons to dismiss the idea that they should try to be politically correct when they talk of other ethnic, racial, sexual orientation, gender, and religious groups, especially white male Mormons (which I am one), many of whom are unfortunately aware of persistent racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and homophobia in today’s discourse.

  61. Brad L, I respectfully disagree, and my disagreement stands on the premise that Mormons are benevolent and hold the absolute universal truth when it comes to all things. So, if we see political correctness of the world is wrong then it is wrong, if we demand political correctness from others than Mormon then we deserve it…

  62. B hodges some examples:

    1. Colorado cake owners sued by gays for not making their wedding cake
    2. LGBT attempted boycott of Chick Fil A for holding a differing opinion
    3. Univision pulling the Miss America pageant over Trumps opinion
    4. Macy boycott of Trump….there’s a lot more as well

  63. FWIW: Columbus was not only a vile human, he was a fool, but a lucky fool at that. The reason why no sensible person thought to go to the Indies by sailing west was that every good seaman knew they were 15,000 miles away, much too far to reasonably sail by conventional means. One would run out of supplies, sink in storms, take many years for the round trip. Everyone knew that the overland route and sailing around Africa was much simpler and safer. Columbus was, it appears, a flim flam artist who did not know what he was getting into, saved by incredible luck. Thank God Americus named the new continents instead of Columbus.

    But, and I am late to the party, the anti-PC people accuse PC of hiding the “truth.” The anti-PC people claim that one should be able to make fallacious claims about others without the target of the claims being offended, or without being called on it.

    The Church wants is to be able to call SSM a sin and the participants sinners without the Church being reviled. They want gay sexual attraction to be labeled a perversion and to be able to say that out loud without the Church being thought of as hateful. This is the problem the Church has with PC. They want to be able to state their opposition to SSM without being called unloving or uncaring. The Church wants permission to say whatever unfounded thing they want without being called on it. Or to think any fallacious mischief without consequence.

  64. An example of being able to shout out loud a false premise, look up William Shockley, Nobel prize winner, as an example.

  65. RW,

    “The Church wants is to be able to call SSM a sin and the participants sinners without the Church being reviled. They want gay sexual attraction to be labeled a perversion and to be able to say that out loud without the Church being thought of as hateful. This is the problem the Church has with PC. They want to be able to state their opposition to SSM without being called unloving or uncaring. The Church wants permission to say whatever unfounded thing they want without being called on it. Or to think any fallacious mischief without consequence.”

    Ouch! Shush…. You need not speak so loud…

  66. BHodges says:

    Rask: None of your examples have anything to do with what I expressed in the blog post. I asked you to explain how my blog post was intolerant of other members of the church.

  67. Rask, all of these examples are reactions to intolerance. These are instances of people refusing to tolerate intolerance of gays and Mexican immigrants.

    1. Business owners shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against people because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. Imagine if a photography business refused to take your wedding pictures because you were Mormon. You could say, “OK, I’ll take my business elsewhere.” What if it so happened that a culture of intolerance prevailed among wedding photographers for a 100+-mile radius from where you lived? That’s not right now, is it? Wedding photographers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against you simply because of your religion.

    2. People should be allowed to boycott whatever business they please for whatever reason. No one should be forced to patronize a business.

    3. Is Univision forced to run the Miss America pageant? Again, this is a reaction to the anti-immigrant paranoia of Mr. Trump, who is a public figure.

    We should be correcting racist, homophobic, sexist speech and other forms of bigotry against people’s cultures and religions. Let’s boycott the businesses of racists and homophobes. It’s the moral thing to do.

  68. I feel like “political correctness” has become a straw man argument in conservative circles. It’s a lot easier to dismiss something as “PC bullcrap” than it is to actually consider and disagree with any given statement on its own merits.

    If someone is taking political correctness to an extreme, it shouldn’t be too difficult to point out why the person is being unreasonable without reflexively saying “political correctness!” and thinking that’s sufficient.

    I feel like our entire culture is becoming so polarized, and people are missing out on nuance. Some political correctness can be ridiculous without all of it being ridiculous.

  69. Clark Goble says:

    Brad, I believe discrimination for religion is typically legal for business. (Not an attorney) The difficulty of course is dealing with conflicting religious standards. This has been well debated in the past though. The question is whether something like an orthodox Jew could ever open an orthodox only restaurant for instance. (For those familiar with the religious requirements) I think that because most people are of religions that are pretty pluralistic these issues seem alien.

    Overall I tend to agree with you but just think there are some cases that make me pause more.

    Also if we are boycotting those who we consider racists and homophobes because of some behavior that tends to mean we’ll be boycotting many religious people. Again, that may not be clear to some why, but there are lots of groups who might be perfectly tolerant to some in certain conditions but feel religious conditions that make them unable to be in other conditions. Not to state the obvious but there are lots of people who consider Mormons homophobes because we don’t have gay marriage. Should those people boycott Mormon businesses?

  70. Clark Goble says:

    Jaclyn, I think “PC language” is often uses as a strawman to cut off debate and impose social limits without allowing them to be discussed. Both sides do it. For instance conservative opposition to certain art like the infamous “piss Christ” is an example of speech codes just as PC as the ones they condemn.

    Ideally we’d just focus on being nice. But when various groups are agitating for boundaries without really feeling like they can make a case for them in the public arena of discussion then PC is an obvious approach. It enables them to police boundaries in a way they couldn’t otherwise. So conservative speakers are shouted down or eliminated from acceptance on college campuses by appeal to speech codes (or safe spaces) in a way that they really couldn’t justify otherwise.

    The problem with such speech codes is that of course it doesn’t stop people from feeling what they are feeling. Being able to express fears (whether of conservative populists or Islamic immigrants) should be part of our discourse even when those fears are illegitimate and ungrounded. Otherwise all that happens is resentment is fostered that then builds up causing other problems.

  71. Clark, you’re right. There may be exceptions for some religious businesses to allow clients only from that particular religion. This allows LDS-owned businesses to require proof of a temple recommend to purchase garments. But as for for-profit wedding businesses, I have a hard time seeing how they could legally or constitutionally justify discrimination against someone based on sexual orientation, even citing their own religious beliefs as a reason to do so. Imagine if they claimed to have religious beliefs that miscegenation was sinful and refused business to an interracial couple seeking a wedding photographer?

    On boycotting, my point is that anyone should be free to boycott any business they please. If someone wants to call for a boycott of a Mormon-owned business because they’re unhappy with the LDS church’s stance on gay marriage, they should be free to do that and that action shouldn’t be labelled “forcing your opinion on someone else.”