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Free Speech and Facebook: We Can Defend Our Liberties

After World War II, our nation found itself in a dangerous Cold War with the Soviets. But while America eventually prevailed, not everything done in the name of freedom was kosher.

For a time, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee wreaked havoc on free speech and destroyed a lot of reputations — remember the Hollywood Ten? Modern liberals have made freedom of speech a cornerstone of their movement, and rightly so, ever since.

Tragically, the old impulse to control what people believe and say — or crush them politically — is still alive and well. But farcically, it is those who say they value tolerance over everything who are doing a lot of the persecuting.

Orson Scott Card, an award-winning writer of fantasy and science fiction, is their latest target. Card, a Mormon, has publicly stated that society should oppose gay marriage and even homosexual conduct — a pretty mainstream position just a few years ago.

Well, earlier this year, when he was selected to write for a new Superman comic series, homosexual activists tried to blacklist him — on National Public Radio, no less! Now Card’s science-fiction book, Ender’s Game, is being released as a major film this fall, and the thought police are at it again.

A gay activist group organized a boycott of Ender’s Game, even though all sides agree the movie has nothing to do with any social issue. The goal of these neo-McCarthyites is to punish Card, plain and simple, to make him unemployable, and to hurt any company that transgresses their definition of political correctness.

Surprisingly enough, The New York Times is calling them on it. The Times says that the boycott is really “closer to blacklisting,” adding, “This isn’t about stopping the dissemination of antigay sentiments; it’s about isolating Mr. Card and shaming his business partners, thus cutting into their profits. If Mr. Card belongs in quarantine, who’s next?”

Good question, New York Times.

Well, who’s next was my friend and Summit Ministries colleague Mike Adams. A popular professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mike writes extensively and powerfully about speech codes on college campuses. Mike has more than 5,000 Facebook friends. Facebook ought to be sending him flowers and a card every week, because followings like his keep their social media platform in business.

But recently, Mike offered an argument against same-sex “marriage.” It was not angry or sarcastic, but some folks complained. So Mike was informed by Facebook that his account had been suspended for 12 hours for “violating community standards.”

Well, shockingly, there are a few Facebook pages still live and active entitled “Kill George Zimmerman.” These are some community standards!

And earlier this month, Facebook blocked fans of Christian actor Kirk Cameron from posting comments about his upcoming movie, “Unstoppable.” Incredibly, Facebook deemed the content of the website “abusive and unsafe.”

Cameron didn’t take this lying down — and neither should we. The actor informed more than half a million of his Facebook fans and received more than 24,000 “likes” and 5,000 comments in about an hour. Facebook rescinded the ban, and eventually stated that they had made a technical mistake. Well, take that for what you will, but at the very least, the flood of comments no doubt helped them discover the “mistake.” “This is a real victory,” Cameron said. “If we work together, we do have a voice.”

Friends, as you can see, the pressure on free speech is building. But as you can also see, if we stand up for our rights, we can preserve them. However, the old maxim, “use it or lose it,” applies. Let’s stand for our right to free speech and freedom of religion and do so calmly, winsomely, persistently, and — when appropriate — humorously. After all, attacks on free speech are no laughing matter, but they can certainly seem rather farcical!

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Publication date: August 2, 2013

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