Left-wing cancel culture is going after churches, even here in the mid-Missouri heartland. Recently, the pastor of The Crossing, a large local evangelical church, delivered a sermon explaining Christian views on sexuality and gender — specifically, that men cannot become women and women cannot become men. Outrage ensued, which meant something had to be canceled.
As part of its community engagement, this church had been involved with the local arts scene, sponsoring an art gallery and a documentary film festival. Those sponsorships have now been canceled by the recipients. The University of Missouri’s theater department also tried to get in on the action, until lawyers reminded them that government entities are not allowed to issue ultimatums demanding that private groups disassociate from nonconformist churches.
Activists at Mizzou doing something stupid and illegal was to be expected, especially with First Amendment issues at stake. However, I am disappointed that Ragtag Cinema, a small local theater where I have seen a few films (“The Death of Stalin” was a particular favorite), decided that Christians are too icky to do business with. I do not actively screen businesses for disagreement with me, but if one declares that Christians are moral lepers whose patronage must be shunned, I will take the hint, even if my congregation is not targeted.
These businesses have the right to associate with whomever they please and to decline sponsorships if they wish, although many urging them to sever ties with Christians also want the government to force Christians to participate in promoting and celebrating same-sex weddings. But that is just ordinary hypocrisy. What is more fascinating is how this unhappy local story illustrates a general cultural problem that is particularly obvious with regard to transgender ideology — to wit, how to adjudicate competing claims of morality and identity without any shared authority or method of reasoning.