What We Have Learned about Censorship and Suppression of Speech in ‘Free’ America

What We Have Learned about Censorship and Suppression of Speech in ‘Free’ America by Dr. Michael Brown for Ask Dr Brown

America is certainly not China or North Korea when it comes to censorship and suppressing free speech. But we are not nearly as free as we thought we were. The events of the last three years have made that strikingly clear, bringing to a head a dangerous pattern that had been developing for years before that.

By a “dangerous pattern,” I’m referring to the pattern of censoring and/or suppressing conservative Christian speech on social media platforms. Those who have been on the front lines of the culture wars have experienced this for years.

We have watched our pages shut down, our channels removed, and our posts blocked all because we affirmed what the Bible said about marriage, sexuality, and LGBTQ+ related themes.

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I documented this carefully in my book The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Can Overcome It. When read in cumulative fashion, page after page, the effect is overwhelming.

No exaggeration. No hype. No playing fast and loose with truth. Just documented facts. The censorship and suppression is real.

One of my colleagues, himself a seasoned minister with 50+ years of ministry experience, could not read the first half of the book before he fell asleep at night. It was too troubling. (The second half is filled with inspiration and strategies, so you will be stirred and encouraged by the end.)

This attack on our freedom of speech is as real as the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations in the recent past, except it is more pervasive and widespread due to the ubiquitous nature of social media.

But all that was just the preview.

In the last three years we have learned that any views that dissent from the prevailing PC narrative could land you in Facebook (or YouTube or Twitter) jail. Worse still, you could be completely deplatformed.

Dare to raise a concern about the efficacy or safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, and you’re out. (And I write this as someone who was not an anti-vaxxer.)

Dare to argue that the 2020 elections were stolen and you could find yourself on the wrong side of the internet law. (And I write this as someone who was not an election denier.)

When it comes to COVID, we’re talking about respected doctors and scientists being demonized and cancelled. We’re talking about Christian leaders having their entire platforms removed for daring to disseminate the views of these experts. Such dissent is verboten!

To this moment, if you mention anything related to COVID on FB or YT, a public safety announcement will come up, referring you to government-approved sites. And if what you say crosses a certain line, you’re out – if not permanently, at least for a season, like the child made to sit in the corner in school.

Again, this is a far cry from being arrested by government authorities and imprisoned in a reeducation camp. But it is also a far cry from what “freedom of speech” in America is supposed to look like.

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