Over the last few years I’ve “marveled” (pun intended) at the number of superhero movies that have sprung up and risen to the top of ticket sales charts.
From Iron Man to Guardians of the Galaxy, from the Hulk to Dr. Strange, they just kept coming and coming without rest and I wondered why, because I’ve always believed that popular movies were a barometer of the mood of a nation or time.
Then there was the rise of John Wick, Jack Reacher and Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer all characters who simply wanted to be left alone but were “forced” to fight on the behalf of the oppressed.
Why the sudden and overwhelming desire to be rescued? And from what was the nation crying “HELP?” Except for our seemingly unending Middle East engagement and the usual daily onslaught of bad news, there was no great calamity gripping the nation like a depression or war or famine; or was there? I don’t believe it was a cry for physical rescue or help but a cry for freedom. Freedom from an unseen repression that has pressed down on our collective souls like a rainstorm at a picnic: the repression called politically correct speech.
The tension and fear of being unable to speak freely for so many years has created an almost prison like atmosphere within everyday discussions. News stories are numerous about people losing their jobs or being arrested simply for saying certain words. Corporations tremble in fear from the wrath of a Twitter cabal and have abandoned many of their long held beliefs and customs and even products to mollify the mob.
Enter Donald J. Trump. From the moment he entered the presidential race in 2015 he started chipping at the PC wall that was being built faster than the Hoover dam. With every syllable uttered he sent the genteel media, the self-pronounced arbiters of “proper” speech into a veritable tizzy. Many consider his utterances base and unbecoming; I found them refreshing and honest.
This was someone who was not afraid to be who he is. I’m not approving or disapproving of his words or motives, I am completely approving of his right to have spoken. As I read accounts of comedian Dave Chappel’s raunchy act that stabbed at PC taboos, it seems he has escaped unscathed because he refused to apologize for his freedom to speak his mind to a crowd that knew what it was paying for. Likewise, actor and comedian Ricky Gervais at this year’s Golden Globe awards before a live audience of uptight, high strung, ready to pounce PC panthers, took a sledgehammer to the wall of repression and let more freedom flow.
Do I care for either man’s acts? No. But I do appreciate and support their right to say whatever they choose without fear of nationwide condemnation or financial ruin. Why would I support the right of foul mouthed “entertainers” to spew their garbage? Because as a Christian I could be next in line for the punishment of the thought police. And thanks to President Trump and others convictions I have hope to escape.
The Holy Bible says in Psalm 119:134 “Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts”
Christians are under attack for not only their beliefs but the very utterance of those beliefs. Daring to proclaim the truths of the Bible before some people has become equal to hitting them in the face with a brick (and in many developed nations treated as equal under the law).
God’s name for the last decade has been repressed and hidden like an elderly relative in a care facility brought out only at Easter and Christmas.
I believe that Christ is like a mirror. He does not offer any hiding places, no soft lights to disguise pimples, moles and warts; no exotic backgrounds or dazzling clothes to distract from the truth of who we are. When we stand before Christ, we cannot see ourselves as a person worthy of love without lying to ourselves. But it is through Him that God sees our beauty. He speaks truth and it is His truth for as He told us “I am the way the truth and the life:” (John 14:6). With a confidence in how the Father sees me I should feel compelled to speak honestly and with love to a world that so desperately needs good news and the truth.
Freedom is infectious. History repeats over and over the yearning of mankind to speak freely to express its heart: It is why America’s founders enshrined freedom of speech into our Constitution so that no government body could take it away from us. But we must beware that we don’t take it away from ourselves through fear and intimidation.
I don’t need a superhero to rescue me. I need the supernatural hero who was considered pretty bold and brash in His time when He said; “If you abide in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”