In October last year (2022), my wife and I flew from Heathrow airport to Düsseldorf in Germany as part of our travel to the German Feast of Tabernacles site. When we were in the lounge at the airport, waiting for the call to go to the gate for the flight, I saw someone I recognised. As he passed me, he nodded, and I nodded back. I recognised him as a famous footballer (soccer player) who had played for two of the top teams in England and was an international player for his country of birth (he was not English). I had seen him play many times on television, and he was a top-class player.
I decided to engage him in conversation and found him very friendly, and he was happy to have a conversation about football that was interesting. He was going to Germany on a scouting mission as he had been appointed as the coach of a European team a few months previously, after coaching other teams since his retirement. I saw him again on board the aircraft and we again met up at the carousel waiting for our luggage to arrive. We had a further conversation that was very stimulating and one that we, in the Church of God, could relate to.
He was quite animated about how he found it difficult to communicate properly with his players because of political correctness. The gist of what he said was that, at times, he needed to get his message across when he could be straightforward with them but found that almost impossible because a wrong word here or there could be disastrous in the current climate. He felt that he had to really measure his words in a way that would not offend his charges and that that could and did present problems. In other words, the woke culture that society has been sleepwalking into has made his ability to coach the team properly, a real problem.
In the Church, we can sometimes think that we are the only ones who may struggle with the ridiculous suppression of freedom of speech that has engulfed society in the Western world. So many have become sensitive and super-sensitive to the point where it can be difficult to communicate with others. People can be “cancelled” if they disagree with the current societal ethos.
We know that if any of us state publicly that homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism and same-sex marriage are wrong according to the Bible, it can be construed as hate speech. The LGBTQ+ groupings are not so constrained in their propagation of such appalling behaviour which God, the Creator of all mankind, says is abominable.
A recent example (one of many) of this woke nonsense occurred recently, in May 2023, when a coffee shop manager in the UK was filmed screaming at a customer for being “transphobic” after she used the word “lady” to describe a non-binary member of staff. It ended up with the worker being filmed berating a woman and throwing her out of a branch of the chain, in footage which went viral.
We know from our recent Google advertising campaign that we have to be so careful, and inventive, to ensure that we can get our message across. Many years ago, Mr Herbert Armstrong used to meet many leaders, some of whom were not from “Christian” countries, and he had to frame his words carefully. We have to do the same today, without ever compromising or watering down the message, and much thought and work has to go into what and how we say things.
Nevertheless, we read in Isaiah 58:1: “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.” We continue to do that today whilst we keep in mind how organisations work and how they push their liberal agendas.
Perhaps, sometimes, we can think that we are the only ones who struggle with this paralysing effect of correct English pronouncements by the woke brigade, but there are many who may or may not be religious who see that such restrictions are the enemy of free speech. We are not the only ones, but we do have the most important task in the world today of announcing the soon-coming Kingdom of God when all of the nonsense we have to put up with today will become a thing of the past.
And it will be like that under perfect government for eternity!