Each week brings more bad news on “cancel culture”—primarily individuals losing their jobs for one alleged offensive statement. Cancel culture is about shutting people down based on passing, momentary ideological fads.
The communications director of Boeing was forced to abruptly resign because someone complained about an article he wrote in 1988 arguing against women serving in combat.
J.K. Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, is being attacked by cancel culture for her pointing out the obvious—men do not menstruate. Even if a man becomes a transgenderized “female,” he still will not menstruate. “Off with her head!” declare the snowflakes.
Professor Dr. Mike Adams was drummed out of the University of North Carolina because of a few politically incorrect tweets.
Cancel culture, which is political correctness on steroids, demands rigid conformity to a stifling, ever-changing set of rules, so that things that were uncontroversial a decade ago are now fireable offenses. It requires yesterday’s heroes to live up to today’s momentary standards–and if they don’t, we need to tear them down.
Have we now become a nation of what one judge called “eggshell plaintiffs”?
The phrase goes back to a case in the early 1990s, in Bloomingdale, Michigan, when a painting in a public school was removed. The painting was that of Christ, and it had been hanging in that high school since 1962, when the doors first opened.
An agnostic student claimed he suffered “psychological damage” by seeing the portrait. The ACLU sued on his behalf. The court agreed, even though one concurring judge in the case said it regrettably creates “a class of ‘eggshell’ plaintiffs”—-plaintiffs who get offended too easily. The painting came down.
Recently, a group of liberal writers and academics posted a now famous open letter on Harpers calling effectively for an end to cancel culture because it is stifling free speech and robust debate.
This letter signed by J. K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky, Salmon Rushdie, and nearly 200 other liberals, asseverates: “Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.”
Incredibly, this basic affirmation of free speech was viciously attacked by the cancel mob—thus proving the point of the authors.
The ultimate antidote to cancel culture gets back to one of the core messages of Jesus Christ: The Golden Rule.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ gave one of the greatest prescriptions for healthy living in one sentence: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He said this “sums up the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, the whole Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible can be summed up in the Golden Rule.
The cancel culture does the opposite. They tear down statues. They troll people on the internet, looking for ways to destroy reputations—and maybe even get people fired.
We live in God’s world, and He has designed things in such a way that we reap what we sow. If you engage in cancel culture, don’t be surprised if bad things you have done unto others will end up coming unto you.
The Bible also says: you may be sure that your sins will find you out. Even when people take to Twitter in a pseudonym, it will one day be found out. Again to quote Jesus: what you whisper today will one day be shouted from the housetops.
Secular people don’t like the idea of a God who will judge us, but there is a God who will one day judge us. And yet, even secular people speak of Karma. What is Karma, but the idea that we reap what we sow?
Dr. Walter Williams, a columnist and a professor at George Mason University, once told me in an interview that liberty is predicated on courage—even being courageous enough to be possibly offended.
Williams told me, “In order to be for liberty, you have to be a very, very brave person, that is, you have to trust that people will say and do voluntary things with which you disagree….The true test of one’s commitment to free speech doesn’t come when he allows people to be free to say the things that he agrees with; it comes when he allows people to be free to say those things that he finds offensive.”
The problem with snowflakes is that eventually they melt. So here’s a message to any part of the cancel culture: If you don’t want people to cancel you or your work, then stop cancelling the work of others.
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.