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II Timothy 2:15

Pardon me if I vomit.

Scripture tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Regardless of how we view the mechanism of God’s creation, there is an element of intelligent design at work. One of God’s most ingenious designs is the immune system. All biological organisms have a framework in place to protect themselves from pathogens, viruses, and outside invaders. When a harmful virus enters the body, the immune system steps in. It identifies the danger and develops antibodies to protect the host. At times, the immune system goes haywire and misidentifies something completely harmless as harmful, and creates an allergic reaction.
Now, while we recognize that sometimes the body’s immune response can get it wrong, few people would choose to get rid of our immune system. Without its defenses, much of the world’s population would cease to exist. As in most things, balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Today, I was thinking about the parallels between a healthy immune system, and the current, often irrational, discussion of so-called “Cancel Culture“.
According to extremists on the Right, Cancel Culture is a threat to civilization (though they fail to see far more pressing threats, and rarely appeal to civil behavior). According to extremists on the Left, anything that doesn’t match their particular definition of “woke” thinking, needs to be removed and buried. I think that both extremes get this issue wrong, and I believe that God’s design for our body’s immune systems can give us direction on how to address the debate over “Cancel Culture”.
Very few Americans would choose to live on a street named “Hitler Avenue“, or “Sphincter Drive“. Few would choose to name their city “Cancerville“. Typically, we name places, buildings, and erect monuments to people who have distinguished themselves as worthy of honor. In the same way, the body will typically be OK with coming into contact with safe and healthy things. A healthy person will eat vegetables, and rarely does the immune system rebel against that because it’s healthy. If, on the other hand, I choose to eat raw seafood, there’s a good chance that my body will rebel, and choose to “cancel” that choice.
For people with a properly functioning conscience, love of justice, and respect for the feelings of others, it’s impossible to deny that our nation has done some truly evil and harmful things to God’s creation. If we view God’s creation as a biological organism, and its people make up that organism, it is reasonable to expect a healthy immune response to harmful, and toxic cultural pathogens. God does NOT create culture. It is an entirely man-made construct. Sometimes culture will ennoble, instruct, protect, and mature us. All too often, it harms, demeans, lies, and infects us. When the latter happens, should any of us be surprised when our nation’s abdominal muscles contract, and try to expel the food, that’s gone bad?
Some of what is referred to as “Cancel Culture” is simply a reaction, perhaps an overreaction to addressing a systemic sickness. While I can think of no good reason to remove Abraham Lincoln’s name from a High School, it causes no real harm to the body politic. While I absolutely detest vomiting, sometimes, my body knows better. Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction (or simply responding as a jerk) when we see an apparently “woke” response that seems silly, wouldn’t the mature and godly reaction be to consider what is prompting the response?
For the last 4 centuries, Americans of European ancestry HAVE benefited from some degree of White Privilege. While we are all not rich, the majority of old wealth, inherited wealth, social respect, and political power has been achieved at the expense of those who are not of European ancestry. No, I’ve never owned a slave. I never personally ejected an Indigenous family from their homes, to take their land, but you can bet that some of my distant ancestors did. While I may have not inherited vast wealth from them, I did inherit a system that made it easier for me to benefit from whatever effort I produced.
So, when a person who wasn’t so fortunate, and who may still be at a substantial disadvantage; who may experience daily injustice; who may be sick to death of being looked down on, or belittled…. when one such person (or someone who genuinely cares about remedying that) says “why do people carry flags that represent my great, grandfather being owned as property? I don’t want that flag flying over the courthouse, where I pay my taxes“, is that simply a “woke” request, or is it a reasonable response, that is long overdue?
Is the decision by the publisher of Theodor Geisel’s books (aka Dr. Seuss) to no longer publish 6 of his earlier books, as some extremists on the Right have suggested, an example of a liberal overreaction? Some have blatantly lied and said that President Biden was behind this. To be clear, no books were banned. This was a private company’s decision to no longer publish books that they couldn’t defend. To protect the legacy of Dr. Seuss, they chose to no longer publish them. Some of his creations were blatantly racist, with demeaning, stereotypical depictions that most (sadly not all), today, find offensive. In one book, a white man is shown using a whip on a person of color. In another, a white boy is holding a gun, while standing on the heads of 3 Asian men. In another, it depicts 2 shirtless, shoe-less, black men, wearing grass skirts. While some of his books were just plain fun, in what decent culture are the above depictions healthy?
In our world’s biological system, it is healthy to expel some things which are clearly harmful. In today’s current atmosphere of insanity, I have to ask which is more concerning- that some don’t want to have to walk past a memorial to a man who is known primarily for owning human beings, or that some, who identify with Jesus, and “American values” defend those awful and unhealthy pathogens? Our nation has consumed, perpetuated, and honored diseased values, and beliefs for centuries.
Our nation’s need to vomit that filth us is healthy, and necessary if we want to survive. We might, for the moment, expel a few good things, but most who are protesting “cancel culture” have little care for preserving history, or common sense. Most are motivated by defending a system that has made us sick.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ( Philippians 4:8 )
Protecting idols of stone, erected to Confederate traitors, defending books that contain harmful and disgusting images…. these are not the pure, lovely, and admirable things we should be protecting. It’s high time that America grab an air sick bag, and rid itself of the pathogen of racism, classism, and sexism. Once we have done that, then lets focus on things which are healthy, and pure.

1 thought on “Pardon me if I vomit.”

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