There’s a diabolical trend happening with leftists and it should trouble all people of goodwill.
It seems that even while serving the underprivileged, saying the wrong thing — or simply supporting the verboten conservative viewpoint — can make anyone a victim of cancel culture.
Chris Hodges, pastor for Alabama’s largest church, Church of the Highlands, found out the hard way when his activity on Twitter made him a marked man.
It all began when schoolteacher Jasmine Faith Clisby outed Hodges in a Facebook post last month that is no longer available but was reported on by AL.com.
“I would be upset if it comes off as me judging him,” Clisby said, even as she admitted she was not a member of Hodges’ congregation. “It’s not that. I’m not saying he’s a racist. I’m saying he likes someone who post things that do not seem culturally sensitive to me.”
So what did the pastor post that was so upsetting and culturally insensitive?
Well, nothing except that he followed Turning Point USA president Charlie Kirk on Twitter and “liked” some of the conservative activist’s posts.
“One of the main things Kirk harps on is white privilege being a myth,” the high school English teacher said. “I found something troubling,” Clisby said.
She objected to Kirk’s tweet that called COVID-19 “China virus” during a blood donation and another post that featured Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in his infamous 1984 medical school yearbook photo with him pictured either in a KKK hood or in blackface (the Democratic governor said he couldn’t remember which one he was before recanting) juxtaposed with President Donald Trump beside Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks.
The factual caption to each was “Progressive Leftist Ralph Northam in the 1980s” and “The racist Donald Trump in the 1980s.”
Clisby shared a photo of Hodges’ “like” for that post as well as one with Michelle Obama’s words about staying home except for essential activities placed above a photo of former President Barack Obama golfing.
It appears that Clisby was angrier at the pro-Trump perspective of Turning Point USA and Hodges rather than the actual content that was benign and, well, funny.
Clisby’s post and account were no longer searchable but another Facebook user shared a screenshot purportedly of Clisby’s post and part of one of the memes the news outlet reported she found objectionable.
The memes that Clisby pointed to as troublesome are not racist even to the untrained eye, except of course to leftists who assume that Turning Point USA is turning high school and college students into hateful bigots.
Furthermore, Hodges did not create those memes himself but simply “liked” them on social media.
Nevertheless, the pastor apologized, spoke out against racism, and directly addressed the controversy in a sermon on May 31.
“White supremacy or any supremacy other than the supremacy of Christ, is of the devil,” Hodges said.
He urged naysayers to “look at the totality of 37 years of ministry and 19 years as a church and I think if you looked at that, it would be abundantly clear that we value every person.”
“If you cave to the leftist, activist media mob they will come for you next,” Kirk tweeted on Tuesday in response to the controversy. “Stand up to the mob, have courage, trust in the Lord, and fight for truth!”
If you cave to the leftist, activist media mob they will come for you next. Stand up to the mob, have courage, trust in the Lord, and fight for truth!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 9, 2020
Despite caving and issuing an apology to his church for something that is arguably not even wrong, Hodges and the thousands of people whose lives he touched paid the price for his conservative views.
First, it was the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, which had permitted the church to house its Campus of Hope community outreach program within the Marks Village Public Housing community but canceled that agreement, which had helped bring community, mentoring programs, volunteer programs and faith-based activities to nine public housing communities in the area.
The cancellation also impacted the church’s other ministries such as The Dream Center and the Christ Health Center, which provided affordable health care for thousands of patients a year.
Apparently, none of that good work mattered once Hodges was discovered espousing the wrong viewpoint and following the wrong social media account.
“Commissioners agreed that Pastor Hodges’ views do not reflect those of HABD and its residents; and Hodges’ values are not in line with those of HABD residents,” the board said in a statement Monday and promised to find a more suitable replacement to carry on the work.
The church also lost a $12,000 per month lease on two high schools in the Birmingham City Schools that his church was using for religious services, according to an updated report on AL.com.
The myopic bureaucrats successfully took out a powerhouse of charitable work for people of all colors because of supposed racism, even as the church’s congregation includes not only thousands of black members but also two inner-city locations serving Birmingham with a black preacher at one of those locations, according to the outlet.
AL.com published Hodges’ entire formal apology, in which he said, “those social media posts that I ‘liked’ do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings or beliefs.”
“I now realize they were hurtful and divisive, and I sincerely apologize,” Hodges added.
“They’re canceling the pastor of the largest (and most racially diverse) church in Alabama just because he liked some of @charliekirk11’s posts,” the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted. “Absolutely insane.”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 9, 2020
Unfortunately for the people of Alabama, their local government has deprived them of vital services based not on the actions of Pastor Hodges, but on his social media “likes.”
Not only was that an assault on a citizen’s free speech, but it is also an action that directly harms the people who relied on services the Church of the Highlands provided.
The government clearly doesn’t care and is instead determined to punish a pastor for his conservative views, even if it means leaving citizens without essential services.
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