Chances are you’ve never heard of Goldonna, Louisiana. Chances are you might not be able to pronounce the name of the Louisiana parish it’s in. But you can almost certainly believe they’ve felt the sting of political correctness in recent weeks.
GOLDONNA –The recent 10-day suspension of a Natchitoches Parish school principal because of a student-led prayer during a Christmas program was the catalyst for 200 or more people gathering here late Monday afternoon for a prayer rally.
Natchitoches Parish schools Superintendent Dale Skinner, interviewed separately earlier in the day, expressed support for the rally, but said he hoped everyone understood his decision to discipline the principal was not “personal.”
All Natchitoches Parish principals have been reminded on different occasions about the federal law that prohibits school officials from participating in or soliciting prayer at a school event. Skinner fell back on personal experience as the former principal of Natchitoches Central High when he was on the receiving end of a complaint of prayer there.
The issue at hand is a Christmas program held at the Goldonna school, in which a student-led prayer was held and items that are symbolic in Christianity were displayed. School administators have been told repeatedly what they can and can’t do with regard to prayer in school. The key rule is that prayer must not be “solicited.” According to Skinner, the prayer was listed in the school program, and therefore violates the rule.
See, these rules come up because groups who profoundly misunderstand the meaning of the First Amendment sue schools whenever a prayer is held. And they win. Under the banner of “Thou Shalt Not Offend,” these groups enforce their beliefs on those that they accuse of enforcing their beliefs on others. We have to be politically correct and not offend anyone, despite the overwhelming support for prayer in schools.
This brings me to the kids at Vox (trigger warning: actual text from a Vox article):
First things first: there’s no such thing as “political correctness.” The term’s in wide use, certainly, but has no actual fixed or specific meaning. What defines it is not what it describes but how it’s used: as a way to dismiss a concern or demand as a frivolous grievance rather than a real issue.
It’s understandable that Chait, and the many others who agree with him, find it so upsetting to be on the receiving end of what he refers to as “P.C.” criticism. These critiques basically accuse their targets of being oppressors, or perpetuating injustice, and that’s a deeply hurtful accusation. Indeed, that kind of criticism hurts most if you are someone who cares about social justice, or do think that discrimination is harmful when it’s implicit as well as when it’s explicit.
But avoiding that discomfort by dismissing criticism as mere “political correctness” is no way to protect the marketplace of ideas whose fate so concerns Chait. At best, it replaces a relatively weak burden on free speech (Jonathan Chait has to listen to people scolding him on Twitter) with a similarly weak one (other people have to listen to Chait and his supporters scolding them for their “political correctness”).
This writer, hilariously enough, proves Jonathan Chait’s point by shutting his argument down and claiming he is simply exercising privilege. Or, rather, in essence, she is doing exactly what Chait and others accuse the p.c. crowd of doing by claiming that there is “political correctness.” Fear of political correctness took a principal in Goldonna, Louisiana, out of her school for ten days because no one wanted a lawsuit. Goldonna is a town of around 450 people at any given point, and nearly half of them showed up to a prayer rally in support of this principal. A good deal of the rest of the parish supported her, as well. This isn’t the superintendent’s fault, but the fault of the groups who shut down a school system with a lawsuit as soon as a prayer begins.
The idea that there is no such thing as “political correctness” is laughable because we see debates either shut down or not even begin because someone seems to always be lurking in the shadows with an organization or a lawyer waiting to file a lawsuit and force their values on others, whether it be Goldonna, Louisiana, or New York City.
The principal will return to school and everything will go back to normal. Except a lot more people will be too afraid to mention “God” for fear of the politically correct boogeyman hiding just around the corner.