Last week I wrote about Cancel Culture. Part of my point was that, while there are things that should be seriously and unequivocably addressed – racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ-ism, anti-Semitism (just a few examples) – canceling someone (without even trying) because they disagree with you is a sign of immaturity and intolerance. I got a variety of really interesting responses; some agreed and some didn’t – and everyone was respectful. Except for one person. This person (who I do not know) went off on a profanity-laced attack. He questioned my morals, my intelligence, and my understanding of the issues. And, in doing so, he proved my point. He supports cancel culture (at least, for his issue), and is willing to cancel anyone who disagrees on the processes we should use to address bigotry. Instead of responding with intelligence, he went low. Which, again, proves my point.
I think I am pretty clear that hatred and abuse (like the groups mentioned above often receive) is evil. I believe that if you think that your hate and violence are acceptable, you will probably receive what you deserve in the end. I don’t think that we should ever approve of this behavior – but we should attempt to bring change into people’s lives before we cancel them. My experience is that we learn how to hate. We are taught that someone or some idea is condemned by God, so we follow along and support canceling them. We legislate and criminalize based on religious and cultural bias. American history is full of examples like this.
The answer to bigotry is education, or, at least, the attempt to educate. I like the model Jesus presented to His disciples when He sent them out to spread the word about the kingdom of God being at hand. He told them to enter into homes and villages when invited, share the story, and then respond accordingly. If they listen, you have made a friend. If they don’t, knock the dust off your shoes and move on to try someplace else. To make an assumption that people cannot grow or change is to judge them in the same way they judge you. If we knew all we needed to know when we were born, we would have no need for school, religion, or the wisdom of others.
I did not respond to this person yet. My initial response would not have been the kind that might have achieved a positive result. I might never change his mind. When I try, it will be reasonable and calm, and if he refuses to listen, I will, sadly, knock the metaphorical dust off of my flip-flops and move on. We don’t have control over others – we can only control ourselves, and that can be a challenging job on its own. Maybe, someday, he will hear something that will change his mind. Until then, peace. We can only do what others will let us do. The rest is up to them.
Prayer – We remember the prayer that reminds us that we can only change some things, and we need the wisdom to know the difference between what we can and can’t do. We thank You, God, for the wisdom You give each one of us. Amen.
Today’s art is called “Anger” by Christopher Wilhelm (2010).