Cancel Culture Comes for the Church


By Mia Gradick

There’s no denying it… we are in the crosshairs of one of the most tumultuous times in history.

The sacred gift of freedom has never felt as fragile as it has in this unprecedented season. 

George Washington once said, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty is staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

So, how will we, the American people, respond to these critical times while preserving this “sacred fire” that has been entrusted to us?

This task set before us is exceedingly difficult because religious freedom and houses of worship are in the crossfires of a rampant assault on faith. We knew it wouldn’t be long before “cancel culture” showed its ugly face by attacking the church brazenly.

For many in the cancel culture, the freedoms and values set forth by America’s Founders are boundaries to their own progressive agendas, responding by cancelling rights that no one should have the power to take away.

Don’t believe that cancel culture is a real thing? 

Recent data from the CATO Institute displays that 71% of people of faith say that the current political climate prevents them from expressing their religious beliefs. And if you thought it was just about silencing the religious, 56% of non-religious Americans agree that they cannot safely express their views because of the hostile cancel culture.

While cancel culture is a trend that is newly surfacing, its ideology and underlying philosophy is nothing new. 

In fact, throughout history, the most tyrannical regimes have used their versions of cancel culture to silence, censor and even imprison those who disagree with the state’s cultural orthodoxy.

And those same repressive dictators always target and destroy religious freedom first. Because with religious liberty, a nation is empowered with their knowledge that their rights come not from the dictator, but the Divine.

Cancel Culture Has Gone Too Far: We Don’t Want Religious Liberty Cancelled 

Together, let’s take a look at recent examples of cancellations of religious liberty that are resulting in the destruction of Americans’ livelihoods, careers, reputations and lives.

Air Force veteran Jay Lorenzen was slated to speak at an annual U.S. Marine Corps JAG training meeting, but was soon cancelled by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) for his background in Christianity.

Gail Blair, an elderly blind woman, was BANNED from a public park and local library for simply offering Gospel of John booklets to passersby. She is being represented by First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty law firm in Plano, Texas. 

Melissa Klein, a baker, was penalized $135,000 by the State of Oregon for refusing to abandon her religious convictions, effectively cancelling her from the marketplace as a result. She is also being represented by First Liberty Institute.

Governor Gavin Newson of California not only cancelled singing in church under the guise of the pandemic, but also cancelled religious services(including in private homes) indefinitely.

Paster John Macarthur, of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California, was recently BARRED from holding indoor worship services from a L.A. Superior Court judge granting a preliminary injunction.

A pastor in Mississippi was told by government officials “Your rights are suspended” for simply trying to hold a safe, social-distancing drive-in worship service in his church’s parking lot.

The U.S. Navy BANNED service members from attending any indoor religious services.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy admitted that he “wasn’t thinking of the Bill Of Rights” when he claimed the authority of closing down religious services.

The Florida State University student government voted overwhelmingly (38-3-3) to remove the senate president from his position for his religious beliefs, effectively cancelling him.

Two Georgia Gwinnett College students distributed leaflets sharing their Christian faith in the college’s free speech zone were told they couldn’t share their faith. In fact, the Supreme Court will hear thus case in its upcoming term. One of the students shared that:  

“College officials didn’t really care about where I was standing; they just didn’t like what I was saying. So, they invoked these policies to silence me”

Twitter, in July, CENSORED former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow for posting a Bible-centric video that implores Christians to hold fast to their faith in unprecedented times.

Churches and religious symbols across the United States continue to be ruthlessly ATTACKED in a string of rising vandalisms and arson cases.

The Foundational Freedom That Outshines the Cravenness of Cancel Culture

And it doesn’t stop there—the list goes on. You would have thought that these shocking events might have occurred in communist countries overseas. Unfortunately, this is the tipping point of where we are in America today.

When our religious freedom is devalued, next comes an attack on free speech—attacks that we are already witnessing. The bankrupt philosophy of cancel culture runs contrary to the two foundational freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment, the liberties that for over two centuries have fostered a nation of free and diverse expression.

Are we going to allow the radical cancel culture to infringe on the Freedom that has been essential for two thousand years because of our Savior’s sacrifice, or even down the road, potentially erase the First Freedom as a whole? 

As followers of a heavenly King, we have a unique opportunity. Earth is our temporal domain, and we have an obligation to protect religious freedom—something that is simply God-Given. No tyrant, culture or regime has the authority to take away what the Christ laid down His life for… living in Freedom through Him.  

These blatant attacks on the Christian faith are ceaseless, ruthless, and most importantly: oppressive. We must take these vicious attacks seriously. In light of recent cancellations, censorships and silencing imposed on people of faith in America, it is crucial that we return to our Christ-centered roots which began in 1776 when the first Americans journeyed to this country in search of religious liberty.

As the Scripture guides: 

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11)

The foundational ideals that originally formed America were not simply guidelines for a democratic republic. The Founders intentionally made Christ the cornerstone of society for all Americans to build upon. 

Religious liberty and all that it fosters in society, peace, morality and allegiance to something greater than government will always outshine the cravenness of emerging cancel culture.

Ultimately, Christian values inspired the construction of this great nation, and it is not up to our new radical, self-appointed censors to tear this God-made country apart and extinguish its freedom. 

Mia Gradick is a student at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Forward in Christ

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