According to Dictionary.com: “Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (cancelling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.”
In other words, it is a form of extrajudicial punishment by the “mob” to exact vengeance on a person’s views.
There is nothing Christian about it; Christian character is about forgiveness, restoration, building and speaking life into others as opposed to shaming an enacting mob revenge.
There are, however, other problems with cancel culture that I will discuss later in the article.
The history of cancel culture
All throughout history humans have been cancelled for different reasons.
It’s been present on all sides of the political spectrum.
Many conservatives and Christians have also cancelled things that strike against their beliefs: Harry Potter for witchcraft, The Dixie Chicks for speaking out against Republican President George W Bush and Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.
There is nothing wrong with taking displeasure with a political statement.
Furthermore, we have seen progressives taking displeasure with statements President Trump has said as well as with British Journalist Piers Morgan and of course Israel Folau.
How we decide to conduct ourselves in polite society regarding these disagreements is another thing entirely
The estate of Dr Seuss decided that it will cease publishing six books by the beloved children’s author which contain offensive depictions of non-white characters.
Many of Dr Seuss’s books were published between the thirties and the seventies, they are not currently held viewpoints today.
Why are we going through old books, erasing history and allowing the mob to determine what we should be allowed to see?
How long will it be until the mob deems the Bible as offensive speech and needing to be cancelled?
Other problems with Cancel Culture?
Cancel culture gets problematic when we start to go through old books, old tweets, attacking comedians for making jokes or attacking a popstar for supporting the wrong political party.
Cancel culture and political correctness have much in common, the main one being they both stem from hostile viewpoints.
Political correctness, although it has been applied in a variety of ways, at its heart means to have “the correct political views”.
Professor Frank Ellis, noted historian of the University of Sheffield, noticed that when Vladimir Lenin began his rise to power, Marxist-Leninist placed a heavy prominence on being ideologically correct.
People of contrasting political views, even if they slightly deviated, were rooted out. If you were viewed in good social standing, people had to profess their allegiance to the cause. History was rewritten, we saw the same thing in the cultural revolution of Chairman Mao.
The suppression of certain thoughts and ideas is not necessarily to prevent offense but to forward an ultimate goal. The new social and political order is advanced by seeing the ideas and actions of one’s opponents to be unacceptable. It never holds the powerful to account, it has been used as a political tool to dominate and suppress dissent.
But the main problem is
Lies do not need censoring. They can be exposed by analysis.
The truth under analysis is exposed as the truth, therefore those who hate the truth must censor.
Cancel culture might sensor what is politically incorrect but let us decide what needs to be censored. No one has the right to decide what information should be withheld or what we can or can’t view.
Only the truth gets censored.
Ben Kruzins is the Campus Pastor of The Hub Baptist Church in Ocean Shores on the North Coast of New South Wales. He is also a Journalism graduate who has written articles in The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald.