A New Testament theology professor says Facebook’s ban of his post affirming a friend’s criticism of President Biden’s executive order promoting transgenderism in the military is heavy-handed censorship meant to suppress open dialogue on sexuality.
Robert A.J. Gagnon, professor of New Testament theology at Houston Baptist University, responded Thursday on Facebook following his 24-hour banishment from the social media platform.
“Censorious, left-wing FB administrators, emboldened by the hard left-wing Biden-Harris administration are using the false charge of incitement to violence as a pretext for cancelling anyone who doesn’t celebrate transgenderism. They are the book-burners of present day. Lacking a defensible argument (apparently) they cannot allow a full public discussion of the controversial promotion of other-sex pseudo-transformation.”
Claiming Gagnon’s post “goes against our Community Standards on violence and incitement,” Facebook indefinitely blocked his post affirming Laurie Higgins, of the Illinois Family Institute, whose post criticizing Biden’s transgender military policy earned her a seven-day ban on Facebook.
In Gagnon’s blocked post, preserved in a screenshot, he outlined four reasons for justifying Higgins’ banned critique:
“If critique is an incitement to violence, then FB’s own censoring as ‘hateful’ those people who hold positions that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself held (and holds) are inciting people to violence,” Gagnon continued. “Every critique by the Left of the orthodox Christian stance on transgenderism would be inciting to violence. This is absurd.”
Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, posted on Facebook his dissent to Facebook’s censoring of Gagnon and Higgins.
“Censorship on Facebook and other social media platforms has now gone way beyond the bounds of the reasonable and is grossly violating representations about free speech. … We need robust free speech in what functions today as the public square. We need dialogue and debate. People need to be able to criticize and forcefully challenge ideas—including ideas that are dominant in elite sectors of the culture and among people in the tech industry,” George continued. “What we do not need is the silencing of dissent. … It is a healthy spirit of civil libertarianism we need; not dogmatism and the enforcement of groupthink.”
Gagnon concluded his Facebook retort: “As with the early church, let us pray to the Lord for greater boldness of speech, recognizing God’s sovereign rule over the ‘principalities and powers’ that stand behind those who would abuse our civil liberties through coercive imposition of immorality against our conscience, religion and reason.”