Issue #ZAS1234

January 27, 2023

Issue #ZAS1234

[datetoday]


booked.net

Issue #ZAS1234

[datetoday]

“Progressive Christians” flee Twitter, while evangelicals await reinstatement following the lifting of Trump’s ban

Photo by Guardian Nigeria News

With the reinstatement of the Twitter accounts for several high profile individuals, including former US president Donald Trump, over the weekend, some evangelicals and Christian media outlets have petitioned the Elon Musk-led social media platform to reverse their ban.

Among those appealing their suspension is Christian online publication, Christian Post (CP).  The non-denominational evangelical Christian online newspaper was suspended from the social media platform for its March 15 tweet, “USA Today names Rachel Levine, a man, among its ‘Women of the Year.’” A link to the story was also posted.

Twitter emailed CP on March 20 to indicate that its tweet had been deemed “hateful conduct” and was in violation of their social media policy. As of March 24, the Christian publication’s  account remains blocked from posting articles as well as liking, following, or retweeting posts.

“Twitter told us that if we remove the tweet of the CP article, ‘USA Today names Rachel Levine among its ‘Women of the Year,’ then our account will be restored,” CP told Faithwire.com.

“We do not plan on removing the tweet. We will continue to speak the truth even if it costs us our Twitter account,” the publication insisted.

CP appealed the ban then and did so again on Sunday, two days after Trump’s account as well as the accounts of other conservatives were reinstated.

Trump was given clearance to post again after new Twitter owner Elon Musk conducted a poll asking the social media platform’s over 15 million users whether Trump’s account should be restored— nearly 52% — voted in favor of reinstating Trump. 

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.

Trump had more than 88 million followers on Twitter prior to being banned on January 8, 2021.

Over the weekend, Twitter also reinstated the account of The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian news satire website.  The account was blocked for posting a joke about honoring Levine as the “Man of the Year.”

According to Decision Magazine, Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, told subscribers: “They could, of course, delete the tweet themselves. But they won’t. It’s not enough for them to just wipe it out. They want us to bend the knee and admit that we engaged in hateful conduct.

“I can promise you that’s not happening. Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it. We won’t compromise the truth just to keep our account.”

Levine is a trans-identified member of the Biden administration and is now the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the US. The now 65-year-old four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps was born male and went by his birth name of Richard before deciding to self-identify as a woman.

Republican congressman Jim Banks from Indiana was also temporarily banned from Twitter after objecting to Levine’s recognition by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy as “the first female four-star officer to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.”

“Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first ‘female’ four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day,” he remarked on Twitter.

Several prominent Christians have also had their accounts suspended from Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook, for what has been described as “hate speech”. This includes Franklyn Graham, the son of legendary televangelist Billy Graham, who was temporarily banned from Facebook and has since faced pushback from touring venues in the UK to preach.

Graham Linehan, known for creating “The IT Crowd” and co-creating “Father Ted,” was also permanently suspended from Twitter for his alleged transphobic comments. 

The comedian’s Twitter account was closed in 2020 after he reportedly tweeted, “men aren’t women tho,” in response to a Women’s Institute post wishing a happy pride to all of their transgender members. Linehan wept during a BBC interview in 2022, after disclosing that he was cancelled and lost everything because of his anti-trans stance.

Twitter updated its policy in 2018 to prohibit misgendering or “deadnaming” transgender people.  This means deliberately referring to a transgender person with the pronoun they had at birth or using their pre-transition name could cause an account to be flagged.

Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist”, has indicated that he would allow more content to go “unmoderated” in favor of free speech. He came under attack in 2020 for mocking those who displayed their pronouns in their Twitter bios.

Several LGBTQ groups have since expressed concerns that Musk’s takeover could lead to an increase in anti-trans views. Among them is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization.

“We are very concerned about Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. Musk has pledged to restore the accounts of dangerous people who push extremism and disinformation. When this happens, Twitter – a place where many marginalized people, including LGBTQ+ people, find both community and face an onslaught of hate – will quickly become even more hostile,” the group said.

“As a company, Twitter has a right and a responsibility to keep its platform from being exploited to fuel a dangerous media environment. This isn’t about censorship or discrimination of ideas;  it is about what kind of company they want to be and what kind of world they want to shape,” added the organisation, which describes itself as one of the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organisation in the US.

Musk’s takeover has also irked progressive Christians like Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie, a minister in the United Church of Christ who revealed in his commentary on Religion News Service (RNS) that he has deleted his Twitter app and will continue to stay away as long as Musk is in charge “without restraints or oversight.”

“Christianity should be, I believe, about building up the ideal of the Beloved Community,” Rev. Currie said, before quoting, Ephesians 4: 29.

My vision, however, is not shared by all. Prominent Christians, like Franklin Graham, use Twitter to, among other things, push hate directed at gays and lesbians. White Christian nationalists used Twitter to help organize the Jan. 6 insurrection,” he wrote.

The pastor, who has been on social media for nearly 20 years, stated that “Twitter is as important as any pulpit I’ve held” and has declared that he is now looking for a Twitter alternative.

Twitter has faced a mass exodus of employers and skittish advertisers since Musk took control of the social media company in October. Several advertisers have expressed concerns about Musk’s intention to loosen content rules.

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