It usually provides a tremendous boon to the left, but why do moderates and even right-thinking people sometimes fall into this trap?
I’m talking about political correctness in publishing.
With the news that Zondervan is pulling a new release: “Deadly Viper Character Assassins – A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership,” it seems that even the “moderate” Zondervan finds some value in caving to pressure from certain advocacy groups.
The book has been out almost two months, long enough for Prof. Soong-Chan Rah of Chicago’s North Park Theological Seminary to find it offensive for allegedly promoting a stereotype against Asians.
Zondervan boss Moe Girkins pulled it and pulled it with determination:
“There is no need for debate on this subject,” he said. “We are pulling the book and the curriculum in their current forms from stores permanently.”
(I can see pulling the book because the title is bad on an epic level, but because it offended an Asian advocacy group?)
I’ve written before that Zondervan publishes Christian books and is famous for the New International Version of the Bible, a cash-cow for the imprint owned by the thoroughly secular HarperCollins.
But many of us also know that Zondervan is from the “moderate” camp of the Christian community, and here I’m being kind. Zondervan is really center-left. Ironically, North Park Theological Seminary is a hotbed of center-left thought, so obviously this is just a spat among friends. The publisher decided after a lengthy review, production and marketing process that in the end, they weren’t going David Carradine on Asians.
That of course is their right (no pun intended). What troubles me, though, is when conservative entities or individuals leap into political correctness. A Fletcher maxim is that a liberal will never move at all in the direction of conservative thought, while conservatives quite often move left, even a tiny bit, in a dumb bid to gain favor with the opposition.
It doesn’t work. Political correctness always weakens a republic.
The left constantly works its agenda, while the right at times can be deluded in thinking that accommodation can be reached on certain issues. In the publishing world, this always results in a loss for the general public. A needed book – let’s say one that reveals a dangerous truth about radical Islam – is quashed quietly during editorial board meetings all across America.
This happens at least weekly, if my conversations with heroic, patriotic authors are any indication. Their investigations turn up chilling facts about our enemies – information useful to regular citizens – but cowardly editorial boards and publishers refuse to disseminate the information.
And they aren’t always cowardly. Sometimes, I’m convinced, the Christian left is ideologically comfortable with certain goals of our enemies.
I remember an op-ed piece in Christianity Today years ago – between the Gulf Wars. The writer was lamenting U.S. policy in Iraq, pointing out among other things that Iraqi lackey Tariq Aziz was a Christian.
Now, look, Aziz was Christian in the sense that Hitler was a “Christian” – many of the highest-ranking Nazis were baptized in the Catholic and Lutheran churches. But Aziz was really a Marxist ideologue, along with his sadistic boss.
But Christianity Today’s editorial staff reminds me mostly of Walter Duranty, the writer who glorified Stalin’s Russia pre–World War II. His dispatches did much to sanitize reports of Uncle Joe’s brutality. That the CT staff shares much of the worldview that Zondervan’s staff does should come as no surprise; this is common knowledge in publishing.
So the left can compromise with itself all day long. But conservatives shouldn’t.
I remember back more than a decade when terrorism expert Steve Emerson had trouble getting published. The things he warned us about came true, but legions of gutless publishers would have none of it.
Emerson’s courageous reports on radical imams in the United States – inciting against this free nation – alerted the FBI at least. It’s too bad several publishers didn’t step up to the plate then and reveal through books just what Osama bin Laden had in mind for the United States of America.
Instead, we were treated to the claptrap that Tariq Aziz was really just one of us – kind of a cornbread-and-milk-eating Southern Baptist who was just a little misunderstood.
That CT piece is burned into my brain, because as an influential periodical within the Christian community, it did have some significant impact on thought among readers. It helped, even a little bit, to put many Americans to sleep.
And it’s a bit different subject, but when I see a small publisher like Lighthouse Trails publishing courageous Americans like Warren Smith and Roger Oakland, I realize that not every publisher of influence in our country today is a coward. Their authors’ alerts about what the left has in store for the church should be required reading.
At least someone somewhere is getting it “right.”
So on an overcast winter day, I think I’ll curl up this afternoon with a good book, say, “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran,” and tune in an old Charlie Chan movie.