Cancelling People

I don’t think it is any secret that I am a progressive person.  My theology, my politics, and my hopes for the future all lean to the left.  That’s generally because I view the role of the church and the role of government in much the same way: to uplift those who are disenfranchised for any number of reasons.

Consequently, when it comes to issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, climate change, etc., you can pretty much guess where I land.

That said, I have noticed an interesting and, I believe, dangerous phenomenon developing on social media among progressive people.  It is called “Cancel Culture” or “Call Out Culture” or “Outrage Culture”.

This refers to progressive people identifying someone online who expresses politically incorrect views and “calling them out” or “canceling them”.  Calling them out means what it sounds like: alerting the person and others to the inappropriateness of what has been said.

This often sparks outrage and leads quickly to “canceling” them which means that the person is boycotted, no longer acknowledged, no longer matters.  Any defense by the person only ups the ante and anyone questioning the wisdom of this approach is similarly labeled.

Now, I’m all for calling people to account for promoting ideologies that hold other people down.  The problem with cancel culture, however, is that it leads to crowd-sourced (read “mob”) bullying.  This can be directed at people who have made some rather innocuous statements; hardly worthy of this kind of rage-filled response.

And the consequences can be dramatic and include the loss of peoples’ livelihoods and even attempted suicides.

Recently, former President Barack Obama addressed this saying that being “woke” doesn’t give you a license “to be as judgmental as possible”.  Social change doesn’t happen that way.

Cancel culture does not allow for dialog, forgiveness, growth, or learning and smacks strongly of eliminating people with whom you disagree.  It sets the progressive community on the wrong track and only serves to further polarize our desperately divided world.

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic