Tweet not by lies
Mark Hemingway | It’s time for Christians to stand for the truth and accept the consequences
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Currently, we’re barreling toward a dystopia that’s half Andy Warhol and half George Orwell. Warhol predicted that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Orwell warned of censorship. Smash them together and, in the future, everyone will be censored for 15 minutes.
Last week, Twitter locked my friend and journalist John Davidson out of his account. His thought crime? Davidson tweeted: “Big tech will eventually silence everyone who dissents from woke ideology. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. If you say Rachel Levine is a man, they will come after you. Doesn’t matter that Levine is in fact a man. Truth is no defense.”
We can marvel that Davidson got kicked off Twitter for saying that “Big tech will eventually silence everyone who dissents from woke ideology,” thus proving his point.
But Twitter, and nearly every other social media platform, doesn’t care about promoting a culture of free speech, even though this was ostensibly their reason for being. Now that we have become dependent on these platforms, the small number of fabulously wealthy people running social media companies have decided their considerable influence must be used to promote a narrow political and cultural orthodoxy that most people don’t believe.
Of course, the more proximate cause of Davidson’s ban is woke ideology. Dr. Levine is President Joe Biden’s transsexual assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Twitter has a policy against “misgendering” transsexuals—referring to them by their biological sex instead of the sex they “identify.”
Orthodoxy is the right word because the belief that Levine is a “woman,” let alone that it must be recognized as such by everyone else, is nothing but an article of faith. You either believe it or don’t, and there’s nothing grounded in science or material reality to persuade anyone otherwise.
Of course, our digital overlords like to pretend they are benevolent masters. Davidson can get his Twitter account back if he deletes his “offensive” tweet. William Wolfe, a D.C. politico turned divinity student, notes that Twitter’s approach here resembles some dark and twisted vision of Christianity that’s about control instead of forgiveness.
“Look at that language: ‘You acknowledge that your tweet violated the Twitter rules.’ It’s confessional. It’s catechesis. Twitter isn’t just accepting that you delete the tweet, they’re forcing you to confess your sin and seek absolution through their sacrament,” he notes.
Davidson, to his credit, refuses to delete the tweet. To delete the tweet would be an admission that he could be compelled to deny the truth. It would be, in effect, a way of legitimizing the religion of political correctness that governs Twitter and an alarming number of other institutions these days. Davidson, a devout Catholic, would be allowing someone else’s religious beliefs to take precedence over his own.
Perhaps losing your Twitter account doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. But so far, the cult of political correctness is winning on many fronts. Just consider that people are also losing their jobs over their refusal to toe the line on transgender issues. So expect our censorious overlords to keep ramping up the pressure unless we create enough cultural and political pressure of our own to make it stop.
That means each one of us that professes to believe in free speech, Christianity, or, better yet, both need to be prepared to stand up for the truth and accept the consequences.
When you’re confirmed in the Lutheran church, you’re asked, “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” It’s a momentous question, and as a Lutheran, it weighs heavily on me just thinking about it. It’s only natural to think about all the exemplary martyrs who have suffered all—from Saint Stephen to the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on a beach in Libya by ISIS in 2015.
But it’s also important to remember “suffer all” covers a lot of ground before we get to being threatened with death. Being steadfast in our confession requires us to be alert to the minor compulsions and seemingly insignificant moral abdications that lead us to fall away from our beliefs.
Suppose we live lives defined by false compromise by deferring to others’ faith-based beliefs at the expense of what we know to be true. In that case, we will be unprepared to do what is necessary for times when professing our faith and principles matter most.
For many people, such as my friend John Davidson, the time to speak the truth is now. If Big Tech stands opposed to the truth, you know whose side it’s fighting for in the war for your soul.
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