Last week, it was announced that Kevin Hart would host the Academy Awards in February. But then some Tweets were unearthed that used the word “gay” in a negative light. The Tweets were several years old, but as a result of the backlash, Hart withdrew from hosting the awards show two days later.
I notice several theological themes in our current social discourse.
With modern political correctness, there are a dizzying amount of rules. And there is no consideration given to historical context or accepted norms. The rules are treated as universally binding. In June, an award named after famed writer Laura Ingalls Wilder was changed due to the fact that Wilder used terms for Native Americans that were common in her time and vernacular.
The modern PC movement reminds me of the Pharisees in the gospels. The Old Testament had laws, but then the Pharisees added laws on top of laws. So many rules and laws that it became impossible to follow. It was crushing. Jesus railed against the pharisees for placing crippling burdens upon people. Constantly changing language.
For someone like Kevin Hart, with what was unearthed last week, there is no forgiveness. People are constantly being torn down over things that they said years ago. In another story from this past weekend, just after University of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy, USA Today shared Tweets that Murray had shared six years ago (when he was 15 yeas old) where he referred to friends as “q—r.”
Is the issue the terms they use? I don’t endorse that language either.
However is it the words that draw ire? Or is it that people who do not wholeheartedly embrace and support the LGBT movement need to be reprimanded? A few years ago, Brendan Eich was forced to step down from Mozilla because he had given money to proposition 8 in California. He supported a law (as did most voters) which eliminated rights of same-sex marriage within California. Several years after the fact, he was pushed out.
If you transgress against the law of political correctness, the only way of redemption is doing an about face. In 2008, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton both opposed same-sex marriage when running against each other for president. But they flip-flopped and so they could be forgiven.
Kevin Hart (apparently) didn’t do enough penance for his PC law violations. And if you are called out for not being politically correct before doing acts of penance, there is no forgiveness or grace because any show of sorrow or remorse is “because he was caught.”
It’s interesting to me. The political correctness mafia is showing humanity’s need for the gospel. Our hyper-sensitive culture has its own moral law, and if you transgress against that, you’re a sinner.
Yet, people often hate the idea that God could be a righteous judge who would consider our lives and actions. And that’s what God is: righteous.
The rules that society and culture makes are a shadow of the righteousness of God. We’ve made a system of works based righteousness where you have to do the right things in order to be moral in the system.
But in reality, we cannot take away our own sins.
The good news of the gospel is that, while we do sin and while we are sinners, and while we cannot make things right with God on our own, God has made a way.
Jesus Christ came into the world. He lived a sinless life. He died at the hands of sinful men. And he died so that we could have life. He took the penalty so that we could have forgiveness. We are sinners, but we can be forgiven. We don’t deserve it, but God is good. He offers it anyway. All you have to do is to turn from your sin and turn to the grace that Jesus offers on the cross.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe!
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.