The Christian Post was canceled last week by Twitter, over referring to Biden administration official Rachel Levine with an unsanctioned but arguably accurate descriptive pronoun. It was both unsurprising and surprising; unsurprising since CP regularly covers the controversy surrounding trans-identified individuals and surprising since Twitter thought this particular story was more "hateful" than other stories, and warranted suspension.
CP appealed, and so far Twitter has been silent. It actually brings a Pink Floyd lyric to mind: “Welcome to the Machine.”
There is much to say in arguing that our pronoun was accurate, but the larger question is: who is the hater here? Eliminating the voice of a publication because of a description that likely more than half of the world’s population would not object to is, in fact, hating that segment of the world. Granted, Twitter is a private company and can play by the rules it establishes within the confines of the law. But if we are having a conversation about hate, how is it kind to eliminate a voice that disagrees, especially if there is no rancor involved?
Consider this illustration. If an individual sees green because of a blue-yellow tritanomaly, yet many, many others disagree because they see blue, is it hate to point that out? Or would it be hate to eliminate those who see blue on grounds that the only valid standard is what that individual sees? How does that promote community, a word Twitter throws around without restraint.
What this exposes is that Twitter doesn’t believe in the U.S. constitutional protection of free speech. Even The New York Times, a bastion of liberal thought, has begun to warn that support for free speech is dangerously eroding, arguing that their own opinion polling finds only 34 percent of Americans said they enjoyed the freedom to disagree because of the threat of “retaliation or harsh criticism.” Those words connote hate.
According to The New York Times editorial board: “People should be able to forward viewpoints, ask questions and make mistakes and take unpopular but good-faith positions on issues that society is still working through — all without fearing cancellation.”
Hear that Twitterati?
We at CP suspect the vast majority of our readers — Christians who lean right or left, LGBT+ (yes, we have readers in this community), secularists, and atheists — believe it is right to stand against retaliation, harsh criticisms, and ultimately cancellation of speech, because of the hate it represents.
So now we know Twitter doesn’t believe in free speech. Here is the real question: Do you believe in Twitter?
The best remedy to speech you don’t agree with is more speech, not less, and the best way to exercise free speech is to use it. So we will continue to use it with or without Twitter. Will you join us?