The progressive left’s attempt to stifle competing viewpoints seems to be everywhere today.
We have seen the rise of the campus thought police, as our colleges and universities are replete with trigger warnings and safe spaces.
We have seen Big Tech’s attempts to censor and control.
We have seen activists seek to ruin the careers and livelihoods of people who express support for Biblical truth.
President Dwight Eisenhower once wrote that “in a democracy, debate is the breath of life.” Today, it seems as if the left wants to snuff that breath out. Competing ideas must be censored and even canceled. Only PC groupthink will be tolerated.
The left wants people to believe that if you voted for Donald Trump, you, too, stormed the Capitol. If you supported his policies, you are, by default, xenophobic. If you preferred him to Hillary or Biden, you present a real threat to America and you must be either purged or reeducated. Your words are dangerous. Your views are dangerous. You are dangerous.
And the net is being cast even wider, in particular when it comes to shutting down opposing views. During a recent segment on “CNN with Brian Stelter,” Alex Stamos, a former Facebook chief security officer, said, “We are going to have to figure out the OANN [One America News Network] and Newsmax problem.”
Indeed, he noted, “These companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and such bringing them into tens of millions of homes.”
And so, Stamos concluded, “We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences.”
In other words, they must be stopped in their tracks. Freedom only goes so far.
These efforts have been increasing for years. Back in 2012, GLAAD, one of the largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, launched its so-called “Commentator Accountability Project.”
It started with a list of 36 “anti-gay” commentators, people whom GLAAD urged the mainstream media to keep off the air. Why? The views of these commentators were considered dangerous and could hurt people. Plus, GLAAD alleged, they really weren’t experts in their fields.
Among the first names listed were the late Chuck Colson (founder of Prison Fellowship), Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) and Jim Daly (president of Focus on the Family). The list has expanded considerably.
As GLAAD explained at the time, “Audiences need to be aware that when [Christian leaders] are not talking to the mainstream media, these voices are comparing LGBTQ people to Nazi Germany, predicting that equal treatment of LGBTQ people will lead to the total collapse of society, and even making accusations of satanic influence.”
So, these conservative leaders, presented in the most misleading fashion possible, needed to be kept off the major networks, GLAAD said. Their ideas—actually, our ideas, since I was on that list as well—were too toxic to be entertained. Only the pro-gay side could be presented.
In light of that, I suggested that GLAAD really stood for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement. Dissenting positions must be banned.
The left wants to cast us all in the same light—all of us should be viewed as brainwashed cultists. As for the notion that those on the left have a cultlike devotion to their own ideologies, they seem oblivious even to the possibility.
It’s true that some on the right are worked up into a lather, their fears exaggerated beyond measure, like the person who said, “In four years, under Biden, we will be lucky if we are still allowed to have a Bible in our homes. After four years of Biden, the U.S. will look more like China than America.”
But just the fact that some conservatives have become almost hysterical in their fears does not mean that we should take the threats of the left lightly.
The examples of cancel culture run amok remain an ever-present danger.
I encourage every reader, yet again, to keep speaking up and standing up for what is true and right, using every platform at your disposal and carefully guarding the freedoms we still have.
In Acts 26:26, the authorities had sought to silence the Apostle Paul, with Festus even accusing him of being out of his mind. Yet Paul vowed to speak the truth respectfully but clearly: “For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner” (ESV).
Likewise, cancel culture is not being carried out under wraps but in the open. So when the sanctity of human life is raised as an issue, speak God’s truth boldly. When human sexuality or racism is being debated, speak God’s truth boldly. When the Word of God is suppressed, speak God’s truth boldly and faithfully.
It really is a matter of use it or lose it. ©2021 Michael L. Brown
This article is adapted from a Jan. 19 blog post at askdrbrown.org.
Michael L. Brown is the founder and president of Fire School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, and host of the daily syndicated radio show “The Line of Fire.”