Accountability for illegal and abusive behavior is necessary for a just society to survive. Corruption must be exposed and confronted by the laws of a nation. Punishments for prohibited actions should be swift and decisive. Cancel culture, however, reaches far beyond appropriate criminal and civil legal actions and establishes rules for retaliation. Cancel culture targets the disagreement of ideas, not the violation of legal standards. People who voice an opinion contrasting that of cancel culture activists find themselves alienated, their reputations tarnished, and their careers wrecked despite having done nothing illegal.
Cancel culture finds its impetus through political correctness. This ideology attempts to curtail social and institutional offenses by controlling speech and compelling the termination of particular words. Ironically, the postmodern assertion is that all truth claims are subjective. Truth is relegated to a position of preference, and tolerance is trumpeted as the highest good. The odd reality is that the more tolerant society supposedly becomes the more intolerant it grows of somebody whose views are considered prejudiced. It is a mammoth circle of contradictions and self-defeating arguments.
There are various problems associated with cancel culture. Among them is the idea of hastiness. There is no place for what the law would describe as due process. The individual's rights are circumvented by those who are intolerant of conflicting opinions. The victims of cancel culture are frequently subjected to social perjury, where those in disagreement misrepresent the person's opinion. Spontaneous outrage becomes the product of biased information, and irrational thinking foments a mob mentality.
There can be no question that cancel culture has a vindictive nature. Some of the ugliest disrespect imaginable erupts within the ranks of the cancel crowd. People are malicious and justify their aggression by declaring their cancellation of another human being as purging society from moral contamination. Selecting a person for "cancellation" is not synonymous with treating them as nonexistent. Rather it serves as the basis for treating an individual with intense hatred, accompanied by the slandering of their reputation. Cancellation is certainly not indifference but quite the opposite. Christians must be careful not to employ this type of strategy against those with whom they disagree, as Jesus clearly told His followers, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27, 28).
At the heart of cancel culture is judgmentalism. While all people make judgments daily regarding all sorts of things, how these determinations emerge needs careful consideration. Far too many are self-appointed judges with no credentials to occupy that position. Dredging up past indiscretions of those cancel culture disagrees with is unethical and classless. Adults have lost their jobs because of jokes they told as reckless teenagers. Others find themselves disqualified for political office because of an article they wrote decades earlier. Cancel culture leaves no space for individuality or free speech. Conformity is a mandate that, if not embraced, motivates severe social ostracization.
In the world of cancel culture, there are no grounds for forgiveness. Behaviors of the past that were offensive or inappropriate remain unpardoned in cancel culture. Even if the violator recognizes their former wrongs and accepts responsibility for previous misconduct, they are loathed to be accepted back into the good graces of those who cancel. The goal of cancel culture is not restoration from past wrongdoings but to defame and accuse anyone who disagrees with their established agenda. This hostility is designed to deter anyone who would daringly stand against the accepted social trend. Cancel culture judges individuals with whom various people disagree as unredeemable and deserving of vindictiveness. This behavior is a vastly different perspective from what Jesus taught when He said, "Make allowance for one another's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive other" (Colossians 3:13).
Cancel culture was conceived as an attempt to hold people responsible for wrong behaviors by de-platforming them and removing them from their positions of influence. Sometimes the plan worked. But in far too many cases, the effort devolved into unproductive shaming or mob-rule entertainment. In situations of that nature, the cancellation attempts only led to more attention on the negative act.
There are effective means of holding someone accountable without canceling them. Christian culture views no person as unredeemable.
Repentance and change are possible, and the forgiveness of God is readily available. Those who identify as Christians must express this truth to all cultures. Christ received the worst sinners into His presence but never embraced their behaviors. He demanded a change in how they lived and provided them the grace necessary for such a transformation.