Bob Tamasy: If ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Right, We All Should Be Canceled

Thursday, September 16, 2021 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Cancel. It used to be when we canceled things, it was postage stamps, or reservations, or subscriptions, or appointments, or TV shows. But now we can cancel…people. Who knew?

I’m not sure when the “cancel culture” mania began, but it stood up, front and center, during the confirmation hearings for then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Adversarial members of the Senate committee kept bringing up allegations from Kavanaugh’s past, hoping those could “cancel” his appointment to the nation’s highest court. But since then, canceling people has turned into a virtual national pastime.

 

Seems like almost every day we’re hearing about notables becoming discredited for things they have done or said, whether recently or in the past, sometimes distant past.

 Entertainers, politicians, business leaders, pro athletes and folks from many other walks of life can suddenly be “canceled” because of some seemingly offensive behaviors in their past.

 

I find this troublesome on several levels, but I’ll look at only two. First of all, the unvarnished truth is that everyone of us deserves to be “canceled.” As Romans 3:10-12 unequivocally declares, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God…there is no one who does good, not even one.” And just verses later the writer, the apostle Paul, perhaps for emphasis, asserts, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

 

We might not be guilty of the same sins as another person, but each one of us – if we’re honest enough to admit it – has done enough wrong to disqualify us from assessing what others have done or said. In reformed theology, it’s called “total depravity,” meaning even our best efforts are tainted by sin.

 

In his little devotional book, Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen, Charles Ringma observes, “We all have blind spots…we often see quite clearly what others are doing wrong, but fail to acknowledge our own struggles or our own complicity. We talk about ‘them’ failing to do this or wrongly doing ‘that’…. But we fail to acknowledge what lurks in our own hearts and fail to see how we often contribute to the problem…. So much of what is wrong with our world, church, and workplace is what is also wrong with us.”

 

It's like looking in a mirror and accusing others of the flaws we see in ourselves. In fact, the Scriptures offer a similar description: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his fact in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he sees” (James 1:22-24).

 

Would you be willing, as Israel’s King David was, to invite God to “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High” (Psalm 7:8)? How do you think you’d measure up?

 

Apparently throughout history, humankind has demonstrated a proclivity for passing judgment on others, “canceling” them, we might say. Because many times the Bible warns against appointing ourselves as judge and jury over others. In James 4:12, for instance, we’re told, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, he one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?”

 

During His “sermon on the mount,” Jesus Christ gave perhaps the clearest reason for avoiding our tendency to quickly pass judgment on others. He said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?... You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

 

The other day, a college football coach made a derogatory comment about his team in jest, but many who heard it took immediate offense. If it were up to them, this well-known coach would already be “canceled.” But if we’re honest, we can all look back over the course of our lives and remember things we did and things we said that, if they were to come to light today, would make us “cancel culture” targets.

 

One time, recounted in John 8:3-9, self-righteous Jewish leaders – “teachers of the law and Pharisees” – brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. (Curiously, they did not also bring the man.) They demanded that He tell them what should be done with her, since the Old Testament law called for stoning. Jesus’ response was to bend down and write something on the ground with His finger. No one knows what it was. Perhaps He was jotting down some of the sins the leaders had committed.

 

But when He was done, Jesus stood up and said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Their reaction was priceless – one by one they went away, without saying another word.

 

Perhaps there’s an important lesson here for all of us. While we’re not told to overlook, ignore – or even condone – the wrongdoing of others, neither are we authorized to “cancel” others, especially when we’re probably guilty of similar misdeeds, or even worse. As the adage goes, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.


"Space Invaders" Is Topic At Metro Tab Church Sunday

Bob Tamasy: The Curious Concern About The Color Of Jesus

"Do We Really Believe What We Preach" Is Topic Sunday At Middle Valley Church Of God


Metropolitan Tabernacle Church Senior Pastor Reita Ball will speak on "Space Invaders" Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Praise and Worship will be led by Pastors Adam and Olivia Aziz and Metro Praise ... (click for more)

Everyone seems fixated on color these days. If you’re a college football fan, it’s orange if you follow the Tennessee Vols, crimson if you root for mighty Alabama, or in my case, scarlet and ... (click for more)

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will continue preaching on the theme 'The Church Is Pretty Important' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Pastor McClure's sermon title will ... (click for more)



Church

"Space Invaders" Is Topic At Metro Tab Church Sunday

Metropolitan Tabernacle Church Senior Pastor Reita Ball will speak on "Space Invaders" Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Praise and Worship will be led by Pastors Adam and Olivia Aziz and Metro Praise and Band. The middle and high school students meet every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with Youth Pastor Travis Kiger and the Merge Youth Staff leading the way. The Metro Kidz Church with ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: The Curious Concern About The Color Of Jesus

Everyone seems fixated on color these days. If you’re a college football fan, it’s orange if you follow the Tennessee Vols, crimson if you root for mighty Alabama, or in my case, scarlet and gray for the Ohio State Buckeyes. If you ever watch home improvement shows, you discover one of the key design factors is color. And I must admit, the fixer-upper folks are expert on how ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Police Said Woman Who Struck Motorcyclists Appeared To Be Heavily Intoxicated

Chattanooga Police said a woman who struck four motorcyclists on Bonny Oaks Drive late Saturday night appeared to be extremely intoxicated. Police also said that 59-year-old Angela Daniels Mason (Watson) had to be removed from the scene because of hostility toward her. Police said the motorcyclists were trying to turn into 4278 Bonny Oaks and Jefferson Marley got off his motorcycle ... (click for more)

2 Shot And Killed Saturday Afternoon And Night In Chattanooga

Two men were shot in separate incidents Saturday afternoon and night. Tawon Billups, 21, was shot and killed on North Germantown Road Saturday afternoon. At approximately 4:54 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the 700 block of North Germantown Road on a report of a person shot. Upon arrival, officers located a man suffering from a gunshot wound and secured the scene. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Pretending Is Dangerous

I’ve ‘seen some stuff’ in my time. I have followed politics for many years. I’m retired, I’m a realist and a Vietnam veteran, pretty much in that order. I’m not an alarmist or a conspiracy theorist. That said, I have never in my life been so concerned about the future of this Republic. Politics was once a legitimate contest of ideas, put forth by political figures who were sincere, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Picciola,’ At Age 185

I came in touch with a man named James Baldwin last week and he’s a man I really like. Oh, I never met him in person … no, he was born in 1841 and died 96 years ago so I have only become a recent admirer through his books. A self-educated man, he became the Superintendent of Schools in Indiana at the age of 24 for 18 years. Then, not so curiously, he worried that children were missing ... (click for more)