Media Politics the Church USA

Why Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban is Bad News for Christians

After writing my column for Christian Today on the Big Tech ban on Trump, Premier Christianity asked me to write on the same subject.  This gave me the chance to approach it from a different angle – the first article looked at the danger to American democracy – this one looks at the danger to the church.  The article I wrote was too long so the editor Sam Hailes edited it….which is entirely right for him to do so.  This is the published article –

Why Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban is Bad News for Christians

(I find it interesting that one Christian leader stated that it should not have been published and that it repeated ‘Alt-Right’ theories.  I hate this kind of binary simplistic narrative – and the attempt to silence people by name calling.  It’s even worse (and ironic) that an article which warns about Christians being silenced and prevented from publishing – results in a Christian leader asking for it not to be published!

The following is the original….

First they Came for the Trumpists…

This week I was banned. Together with millions of others. All my posts, responses, likes and information on one social media platform, were summarily removed because of a decision of an oligarch in California. Some Christians tweeted how delighted they were – I fear that they are not seeing the dangers of what is going on. Especially for the Church.

Section 230

Let’s ask where we are, how we got here, and where we seem to be heading. What are now known as the Big Tech corporations; Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet (Google), have amassed wealth, power and influence greater than any previous companies in human history. Much of this has developed due to the 230 exemption in US law. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 –provides legal protection for any website provider – and ensures that they are not responsible for the content. In effect the big tech giants were handed legal immunity. They cast themselves as providers not publishers. In old world terms, they provide the paper and the ink, they do not publish the books.

Now that they have amassed billions in resources and a virtual monopoly on social media on the Internet, they have changed their tune. Suddenly they have decided that they are responsible for at least some of the content – although conveniently for them – not legally. YouTube for example blocks any video which dares to question the efficacy of lockdown as a measure to combat Covid 19. This has all come to the forefront when these companies all decided to ban President Trump and then go even further by blocking one of their smaller rivals, the Parler platform.

Parler

I have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am an Amazon Prime member, have an Apple laptop and phone, and a Google e-mail address. I also have a Parler account, as a back-up because twice I was suspended from Twitter. I came to realise that giving one company the right to censor your speech, reading and thoughts was not a great idea! Now Big Tech has decided that I don’t have the right to access Parler – they have just simply removed them. (I am astounded at how many Christians who know nothing about Parler and have no experience of it – are prepared to state that it is a Far Right platform on the basis of something they read on the Internet or in the media.  Of course Far Right people are on Parler – they are also on Facebook, Twitter and numerous others – I have just read an article about one of the organisers of the Capitol Hill who organised his particular part on Facebook – should it be banned?)…

The reason given is facetious and hypocritical. They say that Parler facilitated violence because some posts advocated support for the Capitol Hill riots. That is undoubtedly true – but given that they argue they cannot be held legally responsible for what is published on their platforms, why are they holding Parler responsible? Other platforms and media providers (i.e., mobile phone companies) were also used. Furthermore, all of them host people who advocate violence. It is incredible that US Big Tech bans the US President whilst giving free rein to the Chinese Communist Party who regularly tweet support for the suppression of the Hong Kong people and the genocide of the Uighur Muslims. One of their latest tweets argued that Muslim women in concentration camps have been liberated and have had ‘gender equality and reproductive health promoted’!

Hypocrisy

Trump and Parler were banned because they do not meet ‘community standards. These are the same standards that permit Ayatollah Khamenei to tweet “Israel is a malignant cancerous tumour in the West Asia region that has to be removed and eradicated. It is possible and it will happen.” As for advocating violence, earlier this year the online magazine Slate tweeted “Non-violence is an important tool for protests, but so is violence.” This was typical of hundreds of tweets for Antifa and BLM which justified violence against people and destruction of property – none of which resulted in either the perpetrators or platforms being banned.

Twitter this week, in a tweet which shows both a breathtaking lack of self-awareness and a stunning hypocrisy, expressed concern about the same thing happening in Uganda – “We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.”

The Christian Response?

Whilst the German, French and Australian governments, as well as numerous opposition politicians in authoritarian countries like Russia, see the danger in this extreme approach – it appears as though many Christians are seeking to justify it. After all we don’t like Donald Trump and his approach, so this must be a good thing? It’s strange how people are in favour of censorship when they think it is them or the friends who are doing the censoring. They tend not to be so keen when they are the ones censored!

You can see where this will lead. The Californian Woke Maoists decide that saying men cannot become women is ‘violence’ – so any organisation or platform that does so is banned. Ditto those who argue that marriage is between a man and a woman, abortion is killing human babies or whatever other Woke position has been determined as absolute truth by those who don’t believe that there is absolute truth!

New World Dictators

In the old world all dictators could do was burn books – or the people who printed them. The book burning equivalents of today – the progressive politician’s hand in hand with the corporate Tech oligarchs – not only burn the books, but now can they destroy the paper, the printing press and all the distributors. It is a hellish power to have. As Amol Rajan BBC journalist asked; “They are the editors of the Internet. They have more power than any politician or journalist in history. The question that matters is not have they made the right editorial call but rather is it right that a handful of Californian billionaires should hold such sway over the 21st century public domain?”

We are entering a dangerous time in the history of Western democracies – and that danger is not primarily from a mob of redneck conspiracy theorists. Rather it is a handful of Californian billionaires with an unparalleled power in human history, who pose the biggest threat. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s time for that monopoly to be broken up and citizens and governments to regain their freedom.

David Robertson
Sydney
13th January 2021

PS.  Since I wrote this Twitter and Facebook have lost $51 billion in value.

PPS, If you want to hear Amol Rajan’s report listen to the latest podcast – Quantum 129 – Big Tech; IRA; Sturgeon; Cliff Richard; Kyrygyzstan; Covid; Atheist Children; Indian Persecution; The National Trust Personhood of Water and Gerry Marsden

 

 

29 comments

  1. Twitters ban on Donald Trump is bad for every democracy and for the church. An inside whistle blower put out a video of Jack Dorsey telling Twitter employees this is just the beginning and there would be a purge on all Conservative voices. There is no doubt that there is a move afoot in which the future for freedom in the west is at stake. I don’t know if it is or not but this along with covid and governments controlling the populations, ‘COULD’ usher in an era where, with an anti Israel administration in Washington, Israel might well find itself in a biblical position where she stands alone against an Ezekiel 38 and 39 type of scenario. We’ll see eventually. Watch and pray.

  2. Unfortunately, these same billionaires did all in their power to make sure that Joe Biden was elected. They banded together to make sure that no negative publicity about the Biden crime family was published. I’m sad to say that they got their wish and Biden has put some of the upper management into positions of power in D.C. Can anyone say graft and corruption? I’m disgusted by the whole thing. I have a new account on MeWe and only use FB and Twitter to post about books that I have reviewed.

    1. The Biden Crime family?
      Wow…. that’s something I’ve never heard put quite like this.

      Did he make the US an offer they couldn’t refuse, I wonder?

  3. Bravo! Well said!

    Where is the alleged “alt-right argument” in any of what you said? In vain I’ve tried, on Twitter, to get some sort of sense out of another David whom I take to be the critic (and snitch to the censors) who engaged in that appalling piece of (aptly as you put it) “name-calling”.

  4. First, Twitter can do what they want. They are a private company. In authoritarian regimes the government bans the private individual. In liberal democracies private individuals can ban the Government, which is what has happened here. Don’t like it? Start another platform that allows Trump to post. There is no law against it. . Second, this is a highly specific case where a sitting Presidents’ words are building a narrative that is a lie and which has created a willingness to use violence on behalf of some who believe the lie.. It seems highly unlike any other comparable case. If there are indeed other cases of this happening Twitter and others have the right to ban them too; or, if you think they ban the wrong people, you can start you own social media platform and ban people you don’t like too. Finally, the church will lose nothing even if every Christian in the world is banned on Twitter since its vital heart is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit and the compelling power of the Gospel. Trump’s twitter ban is not bad news for Christians. Christ is risen!

    1. So many things wrong with this.

      1) Private companies cannot do what they want.
      2) Private individuals cannot ban the government
      3) You can’t start another platform if you are not permitted to host it and don’t have the millions required to set up the infrastructure. Parler was another platform but was banned.
      4) I am not disputing Trumps wrongness but the hypocrisy in banning him and letting others who are equally wrong continue.
      5) I have no ability to start my own social media platform.
      6) Your last sentence is pietistic nonsense. Of course this does not affect the good news. But that should not make us indifferent or callous to the effects of the suppression of free speech – especially for the Church. Doubtless you would have told German Christians – don’t worry about the Nazis closing down churches, arresting pastors or murdering Jews – after all Christ is risen!

      1. ‘Christ is risen!’ ‘Your last sentence is pietistic nonsense.’ David did you reflect on what you wrote here before you wrote it?

  5. Well argued and thought provoking. Sadly , if those companies are allowed to continue with such dominance and influence it will render Eric Blair’s prophetic 1984 to the books for ” light reading to be amused” category. I shudder !

  6. Genuine questions, David.
    We all draw lines somewhere.
    Where would your boundary lines be? Or would there be a free for all?
    I don’t have a vested interest, using neither Facebook nor Twitter, maybe one of the ones targeted in the Brexit vote!
    Maybe if these companies were treated as publishers and subject to laws such as defamation and other regulations applicable to print, rather than as a notice board for self publicity – but I dare say there would not be money in it.
    What to me is interesting is that these companies may be seen as a high point of the success of free market capitalism, a monument to mammon, and a manipulative and addictive medium for many who need instant gratification and followers, who sometimes seem to desire to make known their every opinion an instant coffee hit as it were.
    But, I’m well aware that this comment may fall into one of those categories and I’m too long in the tooth….and the BBC is enough lazy bias and journalism for me.
    There are circles of control and circles of influence. Circles of influence are generally much larger than those under our control.
    But what is being drawn attention to, by David, is where the control is the influence. It is little more than communism in application, in capitalist disguise.
    And I ask myself. why have I spent time doing this.

    BTW, who owns Zoom?

    1. Boundaries for what? If it is within the law it should not be illegal…The companies should be treated as publishers. Eric Yuan , another Californian billionaire, owns Zoom.

      1. Within the law where? Which country?
        Yes there are different modes of democracy but I’d suggest that key, is the separation of powers. That separation is different in USA and it seems to me that in USA that key legal appointments in states are more political than they are independent. And that politics is heavily subscribed by sometimes self-serving capital investment, more so than in UK.
        Would these companies have started and thrived so voraciously in the UK?

        Agreed , they are publishers.

        As a Christian, if you owned one of these companies would you permit promotion of, say, abortion?
        Even more difficult, where would the line be drawn, the boundary marker, for condoning sin?

      2. If I am a publisher I would not publish pro-abortion materials. If I am just the supplier of paper I cannot dictate what is printed on that paper…

  7. “Californian woke Maoists”. Some of them may be but I don’t think they would have survived long in Mao’s China. Others of the woke Californians have got very rich in Silicon Valley and they believe themselves to be the pioneers of the New World Order of philosopher kings (though they don’t know much philosophy) who will advance the globalist Green Revolution and are determined that the little people in their diesel-stained boiler suits won’t get in the way. The majority of them are confused idealists, good and decent people whose thinking processes have been scrambled by exposure to what passes for education in the liberal arts faculties they have been at. They remind me of the ex hippie environmentalists in Jackson Browne’s wonderful song Before The Deluge. But even more damaging is their guilt complex over the real and imagined sins of their (white) forebears. They have no legitimate outlet for their guilt. They have no Christian grammar, only a vestigial Christian vocabulary. So this guilt boils over into all kinds of anger, violence and showboating. They really are like sheep without a shepherd.

  8. The irony is how much corporate secularism embodies, expresses and imposes all that it despises in organised and influential religion. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook etc are inherently and proudly secular.

    The secular Humanist narrative cites how religions, faiths, churches etc have excessive manipulative influence, and wrongly outline a narrative that the people follow out of fear, and are scared to offer any dissent, opposition without being treated badly or as an outcast.
    Consider in the context of sexuality, gender or even a refusal to belief said religious narrative.
    The humanists cry foul! This is so wrong. Imagine how it must feel?

    Yet the very same secularists, who have a much greater influence over the masses than the church or arguably any religious group today, apply the very means they falsely accuse in much of religion.
    If your views, not actions or intent, do not conform to ours, your to be made a public specifically of, or silenced. Who cares how it makes those dissenters feel?

    This is what is at play with Trump. It’s at play in politics. It’s at play in stifling any traditional religious views on issues like marriage, sexuality, abortion etc.

    The big Western companies are not as liberal as they would have us believe, and as the scripture sets out, there is nothing new under the sun. History repeats itself. Humans behave as unregenerate humans have always done. The liberals are as oppressive as the rest.
    Toe the line, or be ridiculed or silenced.

  9. What’s worse for Christians? Donald Trump’s Twitter ban, or the fact that so many Christians supported Donald Trump?

    Skin-deep religious posturing has led to America voting for a self-obsessed narcissist, who’s primary motivation appears to be – nakedly -self-aggrandizement. He lies, he makes appalling policy decisions, he (somehow!) manages to alienate every person he has personal contact with, but because he waves a bible (upside down) outside a church, Christians think he is one of them…

    The mind absolutely boggles. When your bedfellows are neo-nazis, please take a moment to consider that you have reached some bad conclusions.

    1. 1) Our bedfellows are not neo-Nazis. Any more than yours are new Marxists. Name calling is the resort of someone who has no arguments.

      2) Misrepresenting the arguments of those you disagree with is not helpful or honest. If you want to know why so many voted for Trump do some research – don’t just rely on your own prejudices. I would suggest a book like ‘Choosing Donald Trump’ by Mansfield. The choice was not great.

      3) Skin deep religious posturing has also led people to vote for Biden – someone else who lies, makes appalling policy decisions etc.

      4) Don’t exaggerate – Not every policy decision Trump made was bad.

      BY the way in case you hadn’t worked it out – I don’t support Trump.

  10. I don’t know if I should be or not, but I am surprised that the BBC allowed one of their journalists to make that comment public!

  11. Pastor, is “The Wee Flea” website itself hosted on a trustworthy platform/server?

    Do you have it backed up, including all the reader comments, in case it is ever taken down? Please make sure you take precautions; I would hate to lose such a valuable resource!

      1. Yes, I think it would be very prudent to back everything up in the current climate, Pastor, just in case it is taken down and you have to move to another server.

        It is terrible you even have to consider this contingency but that is the way the world seems to be going at the moment. 🙁

      2. Definitely backup and preserve all the reader comments as well as the blog posts themselves. Reading what your Scottish Free Church parishioners and friends have to say has deepened my faith and broadened my religious put look. They have a depth of scriptural knowledge – especially of the Psalms – and a thoughtfulness that I think we lack in Australia, at least in some denominations. They have really helped me! God bless.

  12. Regarding your re-tweet of that graphic showing Trump is the firdt US president in 40 years not to start a y new wars, I found an interesting, short (only 3 mins) video of the last President, Carter. He was a little before my time but, from this short vid, what a great man of peace and prayer! His comments on the bellicosity of his fellow Americans are telling too. He had the courage to forsake the chances of re-election for peace. Where are the politicians with that level of integrity and godly character today?

    Here’s the vid:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Rt1a1xII8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: