We live in a free country where certain rights are guaranteed—freedom of religion, the right to assemble and freedom of speech, for example. But a storm is brewing today that threatens to blow away those rights. We are experiencing "cancel culture."
In a cancel culture, you still have the right to say what you believe, but most people keep their mouths shut because an intolerant mob will attack you if you say something its members disagree with. The mob determines the acceptable way to think about a certain topic. If you dare to have a different view, you are a fair target to be shamed, vilified, fired from your job or kicked off of social media platforms.
British author J.K. Rowling is the latest example of a "canceled" celebrity. Even though she's considered leftist in her views, she recently dared to defy the official code of political correctness. She refused to agree with the statement "Trans women are women" because she feels men who undergo sex-change operations or take hormones don't share the same life experiences of women who are born female and live as women. For this, the transgender community hurled every nasty word in the book at Rowling when they attacked her on Twitter.
This form of militant intolerance isn't new. Remember King Nebuchadnezzar? He was the granddaddy of all thought control. He demanded that everyone in his kingdom bow to his golden idol. But Daniel's three brave friends—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego—refused to bow to the Babylon's cancel culture. The king threw them in his overheated furnace, but the three Hebrew boys miraculously emerged from the fire without even the smell of smoke (see Daniel 3).
Today a growing group of university professors, liberal journalists, Hollywood elites, government leaders and tech CEOs have created a new idol, and they want us all to worship it. They hate Christianity because of its moral boundaries. They reject the idea of an all-powerful God, and they want to replace Him with the all-powerful state. They don't want anyone speaking out of turn. You must agree with their narrative.
Cancel culture is intensifying today. The heat has been turned up in Nebuchadnezzar's oven. You will be tempted to keep your mouth shut because the intolerant mob will attack you if you talk about your faith (which they consider "narrow-minded") or your moral values (which they say are "hateful").
This shouldn't surprise us. Paul told Timothy: "Yes, and all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12, NASB). Whether we like it or not, persecution will become a reality for Christians living in a post-Christian era in America.
In recent years of writing this column I've noted that there are certain topics that always trigger the mob. If you say these six things on social media, in workplace conversations or even in a sermon, you may get verbally blasted, shamed, reported to the "thought police" or even fired.
- God created the world. Nobody on an American university campus today is allowed to question the official doctrine of evolution. Scoffers will laugh at you and cancel you if you believe in the fairy tale of a wise Creator.
- Marriage was created for one man and one woman. Ten years ago, a university in New England came close to canceling me as a speaker because I've defended traditional marriage in this column. If you don't believe God sanctions gay marriage, you will be labeled homophobic. Never mind if I love gay people as individuals. If I don't celebrate the gay lifestyle and promote it without question, I will be considered hateful.
- Sex is intended for marriage. When I was a kid, most families on network TV shows had a mother, a father and children. But the culture manipulators changed all that—and HBO and other big media companies made gratuitous sex the norm for most of their characters. We went from Father Knows Best to Californication in 50 years. I'm considered a self-righteous prude because I don't push the free-sex agenda.
- Abortion is the killing of an unborn child. The media is calling for racial justice, especially in relation to police reform. But "justice," according to today's groupthink, is selective. When African American, pro-life activist Alveda King reminds people that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger promoted abortion and sterilization to reduce the black population, her comments are ignored. In today's narrative, "Black lives matter" doesn't apply to Black babies.
- There are only two genders. Even though we are daily reminded to believe in science when it comes to the COVID-19 masks or global warming, science is thrown out the window when it comes to gender and biology. Today, we are expected to applaud when a person announces he is a she, or she is a he or when someone "feels" they have no gender at all. Never mind the DNA evidence.
- Jesus Christ is Lord. This is the phrase that got many Christians killed in the first century. Nero couldn't tolerate Christians because they wouldn't bow down to him. Yet in the face of persecution and death, the early apostles cared more about obeying God than pleasing people. They said, "For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20).
Don't bow to the idol. Ask God to give you a stronger spine so you can stand straight when cancel culture pressures you to conform.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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