Unliked Likes: Cancelling Pastor Chris Hodges and Church of the Highlands


Some social media “likes” gets Church of the Highlands kicked out of some public schools they were renting, but such cancel culture is the wrong answer.

Sometimes I feel like I am waking up in the scene from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where everyone grabs pitchforks and torches and goes after the monster. Today, it seems, the one under attack is the pastor of the Church of the Highlands, the largest church in Alabama.

What happened?

It started with Charlie Kirk, the conservative leader of Turning Point USA. Kirk is an outspoken supporter of President Trump and has been at the center of several high profile conflicts over the past few years. Like many other social media figures, Kirk seems particularly skilled at provoking outpourings of admiration and disdain in equal measure. He knows how to use social media.

Most recently, Kirk has been one of the more visible proponents of the belief that, while racism is evil, claims of systemic racism are not true or are exaggerated. In this, Kirk represents a significant number of Americans, many of whom identify as evangelical. As I’ve written about, marched for, and spoken on, I believe that Kirk (and those who agree with him) are wrong.

Please see the video we just put out this morning from the National Association of Evangelicals, which (I believe) presents a better approach. Or, put another way, I’m of a different view and have been quite vocal about it.

Simply put, systemic racism is real and we have a key national moment to address it.

This controversy soon invovled Chris Hodges, the pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, when he liked some of Kirk’s social media posts (details here). In a lesson about the power of social media to—as the Epistle of James warns about the tongue–set forests ablaze, Hodges quickly found himself in the midst of a firestorm. It looks like people are gathering …

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