Cancel Culture Is Nothing New

Image result for cancelledI’ve noticed a bit of hand-wringing about cancel culture, as it works in most of the public eye today. Maybe conservatives are fussing a bit over their public stances on important issues. I know some writers and thinkers are concerned about the suppression of ideas and dialogue.

I think some people who practice cancelling are inexperienced or clumsy at it. It may be applied in circumstances that are more a misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

In Catholic circles, it’s nothing new. We used to go through regular rounds of speakers getting disinvited or fired or boycotted because they weren’t sufficiently “orthodox.” It still happens with my LGBTQ friends in ministry.

Cancellation is a pretty safe thing, but perhaps a bit cowardly, as I mentioned here some years ago. More than fifteen years ago (preWordPress, wow) I offered a canned speech for a bishop as an alternative to a disinvite. Here’s a rewrite for our times:

I trust so-and-so desires to be a basically good person for supporting (his or her cause). We want to be decent people too. But I wish she or he were joining us in (our cause). Rather than disinvite or doxx, I publicly urge all of us, especially our friend, to consider our stance on this issue and uncover specific ways in which we can work for the betterment of society. If our friend finds it in his or her heart to acknowledge our cause is a difficult issue, I would be pleased to match any contribution he or she might make to a worthy charity, either in terms of cash donation or volunteer time. We need to turn the tide for a better society. Why not start today and work together to make a small difference, each in our own way?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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