I never imagined that, in my lifetime, I would see a figurative (and sometimes literal) "Culture War" in the United States of America. But here we are. From my perspective, it's a war against freedom and liberty on three fronts, which at their core, are all different forms of bullying.
I've never minded a free exchange of ideas, whether I agree with those ideas or not. A healthy, peaceful discussion can lead to learning for everyone involved. Even a spirited debate can be productive, if both sides respect one another. But what we have seen over the last several years in the US is anything but peaceful, healthy or respectful.
Instead, we have seen strong emotions and political ideology override healthy discourse, becoming toxic. We have seen people with the same ideology form online mobs to cancel people and businesses. And we have seen people with the same ideology form real-life rioting mobs to destroy property while they intimidate, injure and even kill people.
And then there's the Big Tech companies who are actively censoring and banning anyone who says, writes or shares whatever doesn't jibe with their political worldview. There's an old saying by Dr. Stephen Franklin: "He who controls the information controls the world." Big Tech clearly ascribes to this philosophy, even though it runs contrary to the freedoms and liberties assured by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. But their actions have made it obvious what they think of that Constitution and the USA.
So, whether on the internet or in person, we have seen a refusal by individuals, groups and even companies to listen to other viewpoints or even negotiate. It is one side's position/perspective or you're wrong. No, not just wrong. You're everything that side despises because you don't see eye-to-eye with them.
That's mob mentality.
"Mob justice" is not justice at all. It is a form of terrorism. Bullies use terrorism, whether they are one person or in a group. And all bullies are cowards at heart. I say this because they resort to intimidation tactics instead of achieving their goals through more peaceful means.
Some might say that the "peaceful means" don't always succeed. Or that progress through peace is very slow. Both statements are true. But that doesn't justify harming others (or their property) to get what you (either personally or collectively) want.
Are there injustices in this world? Of course there are. Shouldn't they be confronted? Yes, but there are well-proven ways that work. They take time and they're not perfect. But attempting to tear down others, harming their careers or putting people in fear for their (or their family's) lives will always be wrong and ultimately fail.
And what if the mob is wrong? Seriously. What if the people participating in a protest/riot/canceling don't have all their facts correct? What if they are so emotionally driven that the facts don't matter? What if, later on, information is made public that paints a very different picture than what they originally believed? How can those wrongs be corrected? What about those harmed or killed? What about the businesses destroyed? Will the trolls, rioters and/or companies reimburse those they disenfranchised?
Sadly, mob mentality is not a new idea. Throughout history, people have engaged in emotionally-driven destructive group behavior, often politically- or religiously-influenced. It goes back to Biblical days.
Acts 6: 8-14 (King James Version = KJV) reads:
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
Stephen responded to them.
Acts 7: 48-60 (KJV) reads:
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Hath not my hand made all these things?
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Jesus Christ was confronted by a mob comprised of religious leaders and average citizens.
Matthew 27: 11-26 (KJV) reads:
And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
To sum up everything, whether it's cancel culture, a group of rioters or Big Tech companies, the underlying element all of them have in common is this: they are bullying others to accomplish a goal. They are claiming their freedom of speech while restricting others' freedom of speech. They deny life, liberty and happinesss as guaranteed by the US Constitution, deeming their cause more important. And when they gain more prominence and power, they will want even more prominence and power.
But God has the final say. He is the ultimate Judge. His Justice is the only true form of justice. So look to God, pray and wait on Him. Be more like Christ, who suffered many injustices but was given ultimate power at the righthand side of God.
Romans 12: 14-19 (KJV) reads:
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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