By Michael V. Wilson
Can we use a Christian version of cancel culture to advance godliness in America?
And it starts with the cities.
In the Bible, God describes Nineveh as a great city (Jonah 1:2) and as an “exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent” (Jonah 3:3). Most scholars interpret that to mean the city was so large it took three days to cross it on foot. A few paragraphs later, God says there were more than 120,000 people in the city who couldn’t discern between their right hand and their left (Jonah 4:11), letting us know this was a large and wicked city.
By comparison, Tyler, Texas has a population of 107,000 and covers about 57½ square miles. But that’s in a city with modern roads, electricity, running water, apartment buildings, and no need for grazing space for herds of sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and other animals. The inhabitants don’t need to plant gardens around their houses to raise their own food either.
Many, if not most people in ancient Nineveh were herders or farmers or both, so the extent of the city most likely referred to crossing the city by getting a herd from one side to the other. Except in life-and-death situations, most herd animals move relatively slowly so it stands to reason the city probably measured 25-30 miles across (625-900 square miles). The modern city of Oklahoma City, OK, measures 620 square miles with a population of 579,999. It’s easy to picture a city with a fifth of that population using the same amount of area to house their livestock and gardens as well as themselves.
While the Bible doesn’t explicitly equate wickedness with large cities, over and over again it describes wickedness taking place in cities. Sodom and Gomorrah spring to mind, along with Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, the Tower of Babylon (and the surrounding city), Jericho, Pergamos, and of course Mystery Babylon in the Book of Revelation. All of these and more were described as places of great wickedness, destined for destruction. All of them became wicked because they suffered from godlessness brought about by the rejection of the Almighty.
Evil Like Acid
Evil and wickedness aren’t restricted to cities, of course, but it becomes concentrated in them, acting like acid on the surrounding godly people who live in and around the cities, eating away at their virtue, morals, and faith in God. The larger the city, the more tightly packed the people, the greater the acidic effect. This acidic effect is visible in the story of Lot when he offered to give his daughters to a mob of men if they’d just leave him and his angelic guests alone (Genesis 19:4-8). Its generational effects were shown when Lot’s daughters, having grown up in Sodom, got him drunk so they could commit incest with him to have children (Genesis 19:31-38).
I live in Texarkana, Texas (pop. 37,191; 29 square miles). If you add Texarkana, Arkansas (pop. 30,002; 41.9 square miles) just across the street from us, it still only totals 67,193 people and 70.9 square miles. Early this summer there was one – one! – small BLM demonstration downtown on Stateline Avenue and attendance was dismal. There wasn’t any violence and after about an hour it fizzled and everyone went back to work. By contrast, Portland, Oregon (pop. 664,103; 133.4 square miles), had over 100 continuous nights of riots, fires, shootings, violence, and killings in an area about twice the size of Texarkana but with ten times the population. Concentrated acid is always more dangerous than weak or diluted acid.
Cancel culture has become a thing this year but progressives of all stripes (Socialists, Nazis, Communists, etc.) have practiced it in one form or another since the beginning of time. (Yes, Virginia, Nazis are socialists. Nazi = Nationalsozialismus = National Socialism.) Cancel culture tries to erase any person who doesn’t think, act, or talk in the prescribed “woke” manner. Dissent isn’t tolerated by those who scream loudest for tolerance.
Canceling the Big Cities
While cancel culture as such shouldn’t be copied by Christians or those in politics who choose to walk with us on the straight and narrow, the tactic of canceling dangerous, godless actions and activities should be copied and adapted in a manner suited to our worldview.
Cities over some arbitrary number, say, 50,000, should be canceled. They should be forced to downsize and prohibited from building any more houses, apartments, or condos. A greenbelt of 20-30 miles should be established around the city limits of each city in the country. Environmentalists are fond of talking about greenbelts this and greenbelts that, so why not appropriate their idea and adapt it to our purposes? But instead of empty greenbelts thousands of miles wide with millions of people packed into dense cities full of skyscrapers, we should have thousands of low-density small cities scattered across the country circled by small greenbelts.
Although the overall amount of evil in America might still be the same under this scheme, it would be so spread out and diluted its effect would be greatly diminished, nearly to the point of invisibility.
Large cities are no longer necessary or economically viable in a world where increasing numbers of people are working from home via the internet. Where large cities used to provide protection from hostile armies, now they’re nuclear targets where millions could die in a split second. Instead of producing wealth, they create generational poverty. Rather than promoting unity and brotherhood, they return division and hatred. The shining city on the hill has become a bottomless pit. To put it bluntly, large cities have become cesspools, pustules, and boils full of depravity, sin, sickness, and death.
We need to lance those boils no matter who roams the halls of power in Washington D.C. and we need to do it ourselves because no politician of any party, nationally or locally, will pass the kind of legislation needed to effect this change.
Use the Enemies Tactics Against Them
Therefore, let’s borrow a propaganda tactic from the Left and use public pressure and advertising campaigns to achieve our goals. We can extol the virtues and benefits of small towns over large cities; contrast bucolic neighborhoods in small cities with cramped, filthy projects in large cities; picture friendly cops helping children get their kite out of a tree versus SWAT teams shooting it out with criminal gangs; show terrified city dwellers with three or four locks on their doors side-by-side with small-town inhabitants who routinely forget to lock their doors because there’s nothing to worry about – the ads practically write themselves. We could even use shaming techniques to embarrass those who, like Lot, choose to live in evil, wicked cities, thereby tacitly embracing and condoning the depravity around them. The possibilities are endless.
When approached with this idea, many would say, “People won’t give up living in big cities. They’ll have to be dragged out kicking and screaming.”
I suppose that’s true. But the idea of homosexuals marrying in the United States once fell into the same category and look where we are today. The odds may be against us but if we give up without a fight it doesn’t matter what they are; how bad they are or how good they are. The odds can only be beaten by the attitude that never says die.
The godless Left has shown us the power of propaganda to tear down and destroy. Let’s use it to create and build. The result will be a safe, decent, and righteous America.