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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

OPINION:

“I pride myself on being a kind person. … I just hope that we can all have grace for one another.”

These words, uttered by the actress Candace Cameron Bure earlier this year, are painfully ironic, as she has been treated this week with a truly virulent gracelessness.


Ms. Bure’s comments about kindness are evergreen, yet they’re routinely violated in bombastic ways as our cancel culture-ridden civilization increasingly descends into “freedom for me and none for thee” mayhem. 

The “Fuller House” star is grappling with an influx of negative publicity after she answered a simple question about her new TV network, Great American Family, where she serves as chief creative officer.

The ferocious reaction was sparked after The Wall Street Journal asked Ms. Bure if she anticipates Great American Family including same-sex couples as leads in movies, to which she said: “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”

This was enough to ignite a massive firestorm, with people viciously attacking Ms. Bure, labeling her a homophobe and assaulting her character.

“Bigot,” tweeted “One Tree Hill” actress Hilarie Burton. “I don’t remember Jesus liking hypocrites like Candy. But sure. Make your money, honey. You ride that prejudice wave all the way to the bank.”

Others followed suit, with the media picking up Ms. Bure’s response and running with it. The assault on her character was almost mind-numbing. Beyond that, the idea that Ms. Bure is somehow raking in more money by staying true to her values in an industry that rewards anything but is preposterous.

But when there’s a narrative to sell, truth seems no longer of import. Ms. Bure was guilty of the egregious offense of having an opinion some people don’t like — and that was that.

As the mob worked itself into cantankerousness, some began looking for others to sweep into their furor. A number of people trolled past comments I made to Ms. Bure on Instagram, asking some derivative of, “What do you think about your friend’s homophobia?”

I’ve known Ms. Bure for about a decade now, and she is, indeed, a friend. But let me start by pointing out the obvious: She’s neither homophobic nor a bigot and has spent her life and career loving, honoring and respecting others — including those with whom she disagrees.

That quote about grace is how Ms. Bure has consistently lived. I had to chance to visit “The View” when she was on the show and saw firsthand how she approached difficult conversations with grace and love. 

Ms. Bure didn’t compromise truth but also never sacrificed love in expressing her values. In any other world, that would be considered principled and stellar character. But here in the proverbial Upside Down, we struggle to recognize sanity and reality.

I’ve observed Ms. Bure’s kindness, both publicly and personally. The mere fact that people find the need to seize upon a simple response to try to diminish her character speaks more about the state of our culture than it does anything else.

Ms. Bure doesn’t court controversy and doesn’t seek it out, and she has had a genuine passion — observed in a plethora of interviews I’ve done with her over the years — to create faith- and family-friendly content that edifies and inspires.

Plainly stated: Ms. Bure isn’t anything like how some such as Ms. Burton are painting her, and that’s tragic in light of the claims they’re making.

But the entire debacle points to a bigger problem: We live in an era in which anger is rewarded and emotion is the dominant force. Somewhere along the way, culture allowed us to be swept into a strange uUtopian misconception that everyone around us must agree with us — or else!

Gone are the days of agreeing to disagree. Today, it’s all about ensuring that others endorse our every thought or whim. Sadly, many have absolutely no interest in understanding why people believe what they believe, particularly when they don’t like said belief.

Our frigid and caustic handling of divergent viewpoints is toxic and damaging, seeking to destroy careers and hamper lives. The faithful are hit hardest by these dynamics.

Christians are now operating on an unequal playing field — a society in which the mere existence of our faith is often a magnet for controversy. All it takes is simply telling the truth about where we stand when asked and sparks begin to fly.

What’s perhaps most disturbing about the horrific, moblike mentality that drives anger in these moments is that it has little regard for a basic reality: Good people will disagree. And we can learn a lot about others and ourselves when we understand this reality and learn to elevate grace above all else.

We’re incubating a culture in which people are endlessly bullied into compliance, thrown into a media quagmire, and blasted endlessly until they buckle, quietly ride off into the sunset, or close their eyes, white-knuckle it, and pray the insanity somehow subsides. 

That’s not America. That’s not what people have sacrificed so much for. That said, it’s a reality that’s not going away — and one with which the faithful must increasingly contend. Christians are called to speak the truth in love, even when it’s difficult. We are also called to love others, even amid disagreement.

Ms. Bure has been a solid example of living out these truths, even when it seems easier to compromise or evade.

• Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” He is the author of four books, including “Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” and “The Armageddon Code: One Journalist’s Quest for End-Times Answers.” He was formerly the director of content and communications at Pure Flix and the former faith and culture editor at TheBlaze.


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