The term “cancel culture” has become a new title for progressives in our country. It is starting plauge every aspect of our society and in more ways than I thought I could imagine. In politics, a progressive Christian group, Faithful America, is trying to make US Attorney General William Barr apologize for a speech at Notre Dame University Law School. What was the crime comitted? He said that country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. Faithful America argues that he was spreading “toxic Christian nationalism.”
You might say that this is to be expected in politics. Fine, let’s turn to the entertainment industry. Michael Che, a Saturday Night Live writer and host of the re-occuring sketch “Weekend News Update,” was blasted on Twitter by leftists for reffereing to Caitlyn Jenner as his former name, Bruce Jenner, and using masculine pronouns to describe him. The criticism grew worse last week when he made what the Twitter universe called a misogynistic joke about the pains of childbirth.
It wasn’t always this way. I’m sure some can remember a time when somone said something stupid and the response was “Wow, that was dumb.” But it later evolved into “call out culture,” with the idea that we need to call out every slip of the tounge or crass joke against the things we hold dear. Call-out culture quickly became “outrage culture” which saw giant tempertantrums over jokes or sayings we didn’t like. And now it has turned into cancel culture. This evolving beast has seeped into every aspect of our society.
I would love to be able to say that this is only an American problem. Unfortunately, protests over Chick-fil-a’s Christian values managed to make the fast food chain leave the United Kingdom. Ok, so maybe it is a “western” problem. Well, when the French magazine Charlie Hebdo published a satirical article about the prophet Muhammad, the world saw a major outburst from a few Muslim extremists.
If anything, I think this is an opportunity for the world to cancel culture. Let me define my terms first. Culture is the world around us, how our fellow humans behave towards others, what is acceptable, what is unacctable, etc. To a certain extent, it plays into the creation of culture itself, that is music, films, and art. When the entertainment industry creates something it seems to usually become acceptable. The films and music drips down into every day life from the radio or the television and things become acceptable in peoples minds.
Keep in mind, I’m not blaming the consumer here. When I say that we should cancel culture, I’m aruging for cancelling the culture, which is a “cancel culture.” “Matthew aren’t you arguing for what you say your arguing against?” No, in fact, I’m not. The cancel culture we are seeing now is attacking the rights of people on a number of different fronts. The easiest to point out is the attack on free speech. Faithful America is upset that the Attorney General William Barr was allowed to say what he said at Notre Dame. They hate it so much, they want the speech removed from the Department of Justice website and for Barr to make new speeches about how the alt-right has attacked Muslims, American Indians, and everyone else that meets the intersectionality requirement, as Fox News reported. This is an attack on Barr’s free speech rights.
You may not like what someone has to say. They may be factually wrong in their statement. But nonetheless, they have the right to say what they want (with the exception of explicitly calling for violence). If you’re offened by what someone has to say, who cares? I’m offened by what some Catholics say here at Aquinas College. But I don’t turn myself into a victim all the time and demand that they aren’t allowed to speak.
Myself and other pro-lifers could make the argument that abortion is an off shoot of our cancel culture. A man and a woman had sex and don’t want to accept the consequence of that. They don’t want to accept the responsiblity for their actions, so they’ll just get rid of the “problem.”
I mentioned Charlie Hebdo above. I know some of you are thinking, “Matthew, you wouldn’t like it someone made jokes about Christianity like that.” Well, first, I love articles from the Babylon Bee, a satiricle news website. I particulaly like the ones about God fretting about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. I think they are funny and I think we should be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time. I should note though, that the Babylon Bee is produced and run by Christians and it is all in good fun. Secondly, God and Christianity are mocked from every side in our culture (and not in a humorous way like the Babylon Bee) and I see and understand that just as much as the next person. But, I’m not planning on or thinking about walking into newspaper rooms and killing people there because I don’t like what they say.
So, let’s stand together and cancel cancel culture; in a sense let’s cancel culture. Let’s stand against this idea that we can shut other people down or take away their rights because they disagree with us. It goes against who we are as Americans, and more importantly it goes against who we are as Christians. After all, if politics is downstream from culture, what could it mean for us and our rights in the future when the government doesn’t agree with our beliefs?
EPIC Radio 103.5FM and the EPIC Radio Network are about to start running some PSA’s for the 2020 election cycle that are based around the new USCCB’s CivilizeIt! campaign. This ecumenical, non-partison campaign is a call to engage others with civilized discussion and to make room in our hearts for those with whom we disagree. We here at EPIC Radio firmly believe that we should pray for those who persecute us and engage with each other so that we can understand rather than to try and constantly be undertood.
Matthew Handley is the executive director of EPIC Radio and is the host of Last Week with Matthew Handley on the EPIC Radio Network.