Internet Free Speech or Hate Speech—Who Decides?
Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land: Should Silicon Valley Executives Who Won’t Tolerate Any Deviation from Their Rigidly Politically Correct Cultural and Social Orthodoxy Have the Final Say?
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The internet has drastically changed the way the world communicates. Human beings are emboldened to say something online they may never say in person.
And the debates over what is appropriate and allowed, concealed and censored, are ever-present.
SES President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land also aired an installment of his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” on these very topics.
“The internet has been both an incredible blessing to society and a destructive and threatening presence as well,” Land said. “The most recent threat is Silicon Valley’s highly inflamed sense of self-righteousness, which has led them in their arrogance to begin to assume the role of a Taliban-like morality police. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook declared recently, ‘. . . we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence. You have no place on our platforms.’
“Who gets to decide what’s hate?” Land continued. “Leftwing Silicon Valley executives who won’t tolerate any deviation from their rigidly politically correct cultural and social orthodoxy? Will critics of Planned Parenthood and abortion be considered hate mongers? They are already being censored and shadow-banned from social media and platforms across the internet. These latter-day morality police are doing their dead-level best to ban conservative, pro-family, pro-life viewpoints from social media and the internet public square. The secular mullahs, ‘Taliban Lite,’ are the secular elites running Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc., and they are now arbitrarily trying to dictate to Americans who gets to exercise their First Amendment freedom of speech rights in America and who is denied such freedoms—deciding for Americans what may and what may not be said online.”
Land also pointed to New York Times writer Frank Bruni, who also recently delved into this same topic of the internet—what it has become and what it means for the culture.
“What a glittering dream of expanded knowledge and enhanced connection it was at the start,” Bruni wrote. “What a nightmare of manipulated biases and metastasized hate it has turned into.”
The Times column pointed to those who had gained support and even courage online for their hate-filled views and actions, from the man who allegedly mailed pipe bombs to several Democrat leaders, to the gunman at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, to the young shooter who opened fire at a Charleston church, to a crazed driver who mowed down 10 people with a van in Toronto.
“Technology has always been a coin with two sides: potential and peril,” Bruni added. “The internet is the technology paradox writ more monstrous than ever. It’s a nonpareil tool for learning, roving and constructive community-building. But it’s unrivaled, too, in the spread of lies, narrowing of interests and erosion of common cause. It’s a glorious buffet, but it pushes individual users toward only the red meat or just the kale. We’re ridiculously overfed and ruinously undernourished.”
True, it is a delicate balance, Land said. But when conservative, pro-life, pro-family, pro-America views are seen as parallel to those with evil intentions to threat, harm or worse, a massive problem exists.
“It is well past time for Americans to insist that our elected representatives pass laws restraining these would-be censors and morality police from silencing and suppressing viewpoints they don’t like,” Land said. “Let your congressman and your senators know exactly how you feel about this. Literally, our freedom of speech is at stake.”