It’s started to happen. Now the cancel culture mob are turning their poisonous fangs towards prominent figures whose only ‘crime’ is that they are Christians. This week, a social media campaign has erupted, calling on Hollywood to stop working with Chris Pratt. Why? Because they believe he is a “conservative Trumper” and a “Bible pusher”.
Apparently, it all began when Chris didn’t attend a Joe Biden fundraiser with his fellow Avengers cast members. The leftist cancel culture mob on Twitter then began piling on, claiming that his absence was “evidence of his secret support of President Donald Trump.” They mounted a scathing attack on him, taking particular offense at Chris’s Christian faith. They pointed to his membership of a conservative church which he attends regularly and began saying, “he’s got to go!”
But Chris has never voiced pro-Trump opinions. The cancel culture mob has simply assumed that he is a Republican based on his non-attendance at the fundraising event and his weekly attendance at his local church. Of course, even if Chris Pratt IS a Republican supporter, surely he is entitled to his political opinion. Is the leftist mob really proposing that anyone who openly supports Trump should have no place in the film industry?
The attacks on Chris Pratt quickly moved beyond political, however, to the issue of his faith. His recent tweet, “I love Jesus”, was further fuel for the cancel culture fire. Social media has now erupted in calls for people to stop attending Chris Pratt films and for Hollywood to ditch him as an actor.
Let’s be clear about what is happening here. Until now, the cancel culture and ‘woke’ movements have sought to censure people for either their racism, sexual abuse or their anti-LGBTQI views. But this is new territory. Chris Pratt has never been guilty of any of this. He has certainly never voiced any racist or anti-LGBTQI views. NEVER. (Scroll through his twitter feed if you don’t believe me.) Chris’s only ‘crime’ is that he is a sincere, Bible-believing, church-attending Christian. And for that, he is being flamed.
The cancel culture and woke movements have lost the plot! They have moved well beyond the calling-out of gross injustice, domestic violence, sexual abuse or racism. By all means, let us continue to call out crimes such as these and hold to account those are responsible. But the cancel culture movement has swiftly become a discriminatory, abusive movement itself. It is like a tornado that is feeding upon itself, increasingly intoxicated with its own power and looking for more people to devour. It has moved beyond merely shining the light of social conscience on despicable behaviour; now it has taken on the role of aggressively pushing a blatant, leftist agenda and destroying anyone whom it perceives as standing in its way.
Whatever happened to freedom of speech and diversity of opinion? Whatever happened to tolerance and respect? If the cancel culture gets its way, we will degenerate into a totalitarian mono-culture dominated by a narrow-minded, repressive ‘group-think’.
Fortunately, the current spate of senseless attacks by the cancel culture movement is starting to wear thin with the average person. People with more than a modicum of intelligence are beginning to see the cancel culture movement for what it really is – a naïve group of disaffected libertines, socialists and anarchists who believe they have the right to dictate to the rest of us what we should believe and do.
They are wrong. They don’t have that right. They have the same right as all of us. The right to have a voice in the national debate on issues of morality and values. The right to engage in respectful dialogue with those who hold divergent viewpoints. The right to have their opinions heard, as they give that same right to others.
That’s what it means to live in a mature, free society.
If they don’t like those adult ground rules, they can feel free to go somewhere else with their schoolyard bully tactics.
Kevin Simington (B.Th. Dip. Min.) is a theologian, apologist and social commentator. He spent 31 years in Christian ministry as a church pastor and a Christian educator. He is the author of Finding God When He Seems to be Hiding; No More Monkey Business: Evolution in Crisis; and Making Sense of the Bible. He has also written a best-selling series of science fiction books.