The expression “guilt by association” comes from Medieval Latin. Sometime between 1525-1535, stereotypes were made based upon the people you hung around. If any of these individuals developed a questionable reputation, other groups would cast a shadow of judgement upon you as guilty by association. One of the Psalmists speaks to this in the passage below as does the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33 which serves as a warning to gullible Christians.
Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. 2 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night, Psalm 1:1-2.
The earliest social media can be traced back to the 1970s with Compuserve and the Bulletin Board System. In the past decade, Google, Facebook and Twitter have ushered in a new age of guilt by political association. Congress tried to address this issue several years ago through hearings as executives testified about the power that Big Tech companies possess. One member of congress shared the negative results that he received after searching for his name: guilt by political association.
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and [h][especially wicked] sinners came and sat (reclined) with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and those [preeminently] sinful? 12 But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick, Matthew 9:10-12.
Today, this guilt by political association continues, fueled by Cancel Culture and the Woke Movement. In the past 6 years, Trump aides, staff members and supporters have been targeted. While America’s justice system was built upon the motto “innocent until proven guilty,” social media is erasing this from the minds of Americans. All it takes is one blog, tweet or video to go viral on social media for reputations to be ruined. I pray that somehow and someway God will end this trend of guilt by political association.
by Jay Mankus