Written by Evi Idoghor
If there is a topic that has caused me a great deal of uneasiness lately, it is the topic of cancel culture. I have mulled over this in the past months, pondering—aren’t people allowed to have differing opinions any longer? Does someone have to agree with everything someone else has to say, so as not to be publicly lynched by strangers, and even friends?
Famed actor and stand up comedian, Kevin Hart had to step down from hosting the Oscars a few years ago because he was tired of apologizing for some tweets that resurfaced many years after the fact. Every media outlet wanted to speak with him about the issue, but it got to a point when he became sick of addressing the same issue several times and chose to stop speaking on it—that outraged those who called for his cancellation.
Renowned author, Chimamanda also came under fire because she made a statement that angered a certain community of people, as such, the social media streets also called for her cancellation. They desired for her to be de-platformed, and silenced because no one has the right to free will anymore—a gift freely given to us by God. We now live in a time where if a person’s opinion doesn’t sit well with the status quo, that is, what is supposed to be “generally acceptable,” then an outcry will erupt from the bellies of the woke police, calling for their cancellation—just what has the world become?
Nonetheless, the idea of canceling people did not begin with the 21st century. Humans have always been notorious for wanting to attack those who either told them the truth or held a different belief system. Thus, the idea of cancellation can be dated to as far back as when Jesus physically walked this planet.
Now, if you are familiar with Jesus’ story, you can quickly agree that His ways were completely different when compared to the general public. He was often challenged for His opinions and the work He did. Although, countlessly He revealed to His critics that the message He carried wasn’t even His, but was of God, the God they claimed to believe in. Yet, they strongly refuted Him, which eventually led to His crucifixion.
The account in this scripture (Matthew 27:22) paints a perfect picture of what we now experience on the streets of social media—“Crucify Him!” the crowd chanted, I imagine, with their fists held high! “Why, what evil has He done?” The governor asked, in a bid to calm the growing rage of the people, but to no avail.
If one had the privilege to listen to the thoughts which plagued their heart, it will be discovered that they demanded His cancellation, because His ways and (or) opinions differed from theirs. They wanted a savior they could control and dominate, but Jesus was not a puppet to be swayed. He was audacious and unapologetically about His Father’s business. They desired a savior to give them a pat on the back, whilst they enjoyed their hypocritical gatherings; rather Jesus called them out for their hidden sins. As such, they envied Him, hated Him, and wanted Him silenced forever.
Whilst many people might not wish death on those they disagree with, yet, they carry the same mob mentality the crowd in front of Pilate did on the day they decided to crucify Jesus. If a person doesn’t support a certain community of people, for whatever reason, that automatically is equated to them being intolerant.
As such, people are forced into supporting causes they don’t believe in or possess a complete understanding about. People are led to stand in solidarity with others, out of the fear of being canceled.
So, they raise their fists, update their profiles with whatever is trending at the moment, and march in parades replete with multiple colors, all in solidarity for causes that don’t sit well with their spirits.
Chimamanda puts it this way in her latest piece about the obscenity of cancel culture: “And so we have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and to learn and to grow.
“I have spoken to young people who tell me they are terrified to tweet anything, that they read and re-read their tweets because they fear they will be attacked by their own.”
Another example of people calling for someone’s cancellation can be found in John 8. This was the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. The crowd dragged her to Jesus, demanding her execution. They did not care at all if she had a family and what her execution will do to them; her back story meant naught. All they cared about was the fulfillment of the law —“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”
However, Jesus showed them in that scenario that only a righteous judge could pronounce such a steep punishment. He did so by speaking these profound words—“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” As such, the mobsters shamefully eliminated themselves, one after the other, from the oldest to the youngest, the Bible recounts. Then Jesus tells the woman to no longer indulge in sin.
Often, people who possess this mob mentality are unhappy in their lives and want to make others as miserable as they are. If a person disagrees with you, that doesn’t mean that they hate you, it just means that they disagree (or perhaps even love you), and that should be okay, so people can live peaceably even if they hold different views.
I believe that it is safe to say that cancel culture is prideful—it fails to show you that you are just as sinful as the person you seek to cancel. Cancel culture is judgmental—it places harsh judgment above love and forgiveness. Cancel culture is merciless—it fails to give people a second chance, whilst negating the fact that everyone is in dire need of Christ’s mercy on a daily basis.
Whilst people should be held accountable for certain actions (crimes), no one should be forced or coerced into holding the same beliefs as others—thus, abolishing the act of cancel culture.
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