Have you ever been caught off-guard by a new meaning for a long recognized word in the English language?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #79 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Words are how human beings communicate. A gift from God, the power to speak using words, sets human beings apart from animals. But if words do not possess established, recognized shared meanings, they can be manipulated and therefore people can be manipulated.
Words are hijacked, which is to say, unilaterally repurposed at the expense of normality, reality, and truth, so a given group can control the narrative.
In the postmodern 21st Century landscape in which we live, confusion reigns supreme. And confusion creates division.
Division, which then leads to power, is the goal of the secular progressive left. A way to do this is to distort language, turn discourse upside down or make it impossible by constantly redefining words.
In the 1990s, President Clinton famously defended his conduct with Monica Lewinski by stating "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
“Language provides an avenue to express shared meaning so humans can relate to one another. On college campuses, social media, and in the courts, this shared meaning is being destroyed. Through linguistic activism, (the secular progressive Left has) begun a full-scale war on language, playing by their own set of constantly shifting rules.
Words can now literally be defined with their antonym. We are a hair’s width and an ounce of stupidity away from (George Orwell’s frightening phrases in his book 1984), ‘war is peace, freedom is slavery.’ This isn’t innocent linguistic drift or slang; it is a conscious effort to reshape society.
(For example,) consider “the phrase ‘undocumented immigrant’ in place of ‘illegal alien.’ The rallying cry is that ‘no person is illegal.’ But of course, ‘illegal’ refers to the action and status, not the personhood of the individual, and ‘alien’ is the technical term for a foreign citizen.”
The term ‘illegal immigration’ is no longer politically acceptable because it might reflect negatively upon some poor, misunderstood ‘migrant’ who entered the United States illegally seeking a better life. The (secular progressive Left) now identifies them as ‘undocumented immigrants.’
“By separating gender from sex, linguistic activists tore the very fabric of mutual understanding, and created a new class of victims, and by definition, a new class of offenders. Pronouns, the simplest way to identify another party, are now subject to feelings.” Dozens of nonsensical new pronouns sprang into existence.
“Controlling how people speak is the implicit goal of this movement, which combined with anti-hate-speech activism seeks to empower the Left as the arbiters of morality and to punish those who wrongfully use language—ironically, achieved by abusing language themselves.”
“Racism is no longer based on religion, color, creed but on political orientation, and anyone who challenges the (secular progressive) Left's agenda is branded a ‘racist.’”
“Creating new definitions for existing words helps (the secular) progressive (Left) redefine society into newly created classifications of perceived disenfranchised individuals they promise to protect, while fundamentally changing America.”
Another example: various efforts have been made to remove “husband” and “wife” from federal law, replacing them with gender neutral terms like married couple, spouse, etc. “The current social engineering requires leftists to continually change public perception of reality.”
“Phobia” is now an all-purpose word used to condemn anyone who does not agree with the Left, as in homophobia, transphobia.
The list of hijacked words is now almost endless, including, gay, assault rifle, equity, progressive, pro-choice to replace pro-abortion, Holiday to replace Christmas, and sex, meaning one’s biological physicality at birth, now replaced by the word gender, meaning a changing or fluid condition one feels psychologically or socially.
Same-sex marriage changed the meaning of marriage. Now it’s about something call “marriage equality.”
In many public schools, there are no longer boys or girls but simply “students.”
Global warming is now “climate change”, and since the weather is forever changing, the idea of climate change is impossible to disprove.
Young criminals are now in some localities referred to as “justice-involved youth.”
Tolerance is used to censor opposing views, and any non-leftist views, are ipso facto, hate speech. Justice is now increasingly displaced by “social justice,” something depending not on right or wrong but upon one’s politics.
There’s a “challenge” at the southern border, not a “crisis.” Migrant children are being held in “reception centers” not “cages.” Instead of “border security,” it’s “border safety.”
In fall 2020 during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, “then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett was criticized for using the term ‘sexual preference,’ in responding to a question about legal protections for the LGBT community during her confirmation hearing? ‘Sexual preference’ was weaponized by the (secular progressive Left) for being a homophobic slur. The correct term is ‘sexual orientation.’ Most alarming in Justice Barrett’s case is after she uttered the term,
Merriam-Webster updated its definition of ‘preference’ to include the word’s usage in certain contexts may be ‘offensive.’”
In spring 2022, during “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., asked the Supreme Court nominee: “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” Jackson responded, ‘I’m not a biologist.’”
Science, which used to be defined as conclusions based upon tested evidence gleaned from the natural world, is now something based upon feeling or politics.
Biblical images like the rainbow, meaning God’s “covenant with (humanity), that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:8-16), has now been hijacked as a symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement, adopted in 1978 as its flag.
Diversity now means difference of appearance, not differences in thought, leading to conformity of thought.
Education at one time meant teaching independent, critical thinking, knowledge, and wisdom, but now it means indoctrination in moral relativism, globalism, and historical revisionism.
Freedom once meant personal liberty but now it means rejection of the burden of being, no stress, and economic dependence on government.
Climate change is not about environmental stewardship and conservation of resources but really is about redistribution of wealth, replacement of free enterprise capitalism by socialism, and minimizing humanity.
If the Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr returned today, his vocabulary would not fit today’s landscape. In fact, many of his goals, like attaining a colorblind society, are now considered racist. Yes, like Abraham Lincoln, in our Orwellian society, Martin Luther King, Jr. is now a racist.
Witness this quote from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Aug. 28, 1963, wherein he expresses optimism and patriotism, concepts now rejected by the secular progressive Left:
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Scripture reminds us God’s Word is truth. It never changes, and we must live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). We are, in turn, to engage in “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). To do this, in an age of prevarication and division, we must remember: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Our spiritual and perhaps our social/political well-being depends on it.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
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