You know the rules. Do not dare to say “Merry Christmas.” Only say “Happy Holidays.” Drop the term “Christmas vacation” and instead use “winter break.”
Christmas parties will now be referred to as “holiday parties.” Do not pray publicly. Above all, do not publicly use the name Jesus Christ—it is offensive to others.
With maturity, I learned the rules established by the politically correct Left governing how we, as conservatives, can express our religious beliefs. Making a conscious effort not to offend anyone, I followed most of the rules. I employed the leftist vernacular and reserved my religious expressions for friends and family.
However, I lost all tolerance for those rules this holiday season. In my search for Nativity scene décor, I discovered what I believe to be the latest and most blatant effort by modern society to “cancel” or purge Christ from our culture. An alarming number of popular Nativity scenes wholly devoid of infant Jesus are being advertised and sold at an alarming rate.
In fact, Nativity scenes with geometric shapes, opaque glass, and other placeholders for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are a sweeping movement across the nation.
That prompted me to examine what the Christian community can do to preserve their religious symbols, beliefs, and expressions—and most importantly, their collective voice—from being silenced by cancel culture.
In order to understand how to combat the culture that silently suppresses religious expression, we must first understand how the movement to cancel Christ has evolved. With that understanding comes a sobering reality: Cancel culture is responsible for rewriting and purging from memory that which is inconvenient or troublesome to the controlling government or culture at large. Cancel culture is responsible for tearing down world leaders, symbols, statues, literature, flags, art, and religions.
The remastered Nativity scene is just one example of cancel culture’s footprint on a significant religious symbol. Nonetheless, the Nativity scene’s importance lies beyond religious illustrations of baby Jesus, his parents, three wise men, and the Star of Bethlehem. The scene captures beauty in the midst of one of the earlier (and most deadly) manifestations of cancel culture: King Herod’s death sentence of nearly 14,000 infants in an attempt to kill Jesus.
Threatened by rumors of a Messiah born in Bethlehem, King Herod employed his army to slaughter every infant male under two years of age in Bethlehem.
Of course, this was certainly not the last time cultures attempted to cancel Christ. Jesus was persecuted and ultimately crucified as society attempted to silence His message with violent force. Following His crucifixion, the Roman government persecuted and killed countless followers of Christ.
More modernly, from limitations on Christian holiday displays in public settings to canceling prayer in the 1960s, Christians have continued to experience evolving forms of persecution and cancelation.
Today, more than 2,000 years after the birth of Christ, I wish I could say His followers were no longer persecuted and subjected to such violence. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Christianity is without question the most persecuted religion across all nations. Followers of Christ in foreign nations are arrested, beaten, and beheaded daily.
Here is why it matters so much. If a society’s influence is powerful enough to exert control over religious expression, it is only a matter of time before the culture will have all religions subservient to it. History makes it clear that the only God and religion respected by the Left is its own culture. All other religions are inferior to it. If the Left is powerful enough to exert control over Christianity, it will not be long before other religions suffer the same fate.
For that reason, we must be ever-vigilant in recognizing and identifying seemingly trivial rules and controlling principles governing our religious expressions. Sure, we may not face beheadings for religious expression here in America. We may not endure physical beatings and arrests. Nevertheless, that does not mean we do not suffer spiritual persecution with each new limitation on expression imposed by the Left.
The new cancel culture concerns itself less with violence and far more with guile and silent, subtly exerted control.
Now is a time that we, as a collective body, cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel. We must do all we can to make our religion “uncancelable.” Together, like the Christians of old, we must follow the Apostle Paul’s call to “awaken out of our sleep” and press on towards salvation. We ought to remember that we are not outnumbered by a vocal minority: Christianity is still the dominant religion in America. The vast majority of Americans celebrate Christmas.
This Christmas season, I urge each of us to boldly use the holiday refrain of choice. Pay no mind to leftist vernacular. Cling to your respective faith. Practice religious expression without fear of judgment. Pray without fear of offense.
Together, we can unshackle ourselves and others from the unseen chains of fear and judgment imposed by leftist culture. With this faith, we will be able to look back and laugh at the day they thought they could cancel Christ.