Amazon Book Ban Looks the Author Way

Amazon Book Ban Looks the Author Way

July 23, 2019

Amazon used to be the place for one-stop shopping. Now, people are starting to realize -- the online marketplace has a wide selection of everything, except viewpoints.

If one of the country's biggest retailers is going to ban books, it had better have a good reason. Amazon didn't. The authors it blacklisted weren't inciting violence or promoting terrorist jihad -- they were offering hope to men and women suffering from sexual bondage. But to LGBT activists, it didn't matter what the books actually said or how many people they helped. All the extremists care about is that these authors might undermine their agenda and therefore must be silenced.

Of course, to most Americans, the intolerance is nothing new. We've all watched Google, Twitter, YouTube, and others crack down on conservative speech for years. But banning books that could give people freedom? That's taking the intolerance to a whole new level. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who's been horrified at the fast pace of censorship in this country, refuses to let Amazon get away with it. "Everybody is entitled to information," she told me on Monday's "Washington Watch." "And what Amazon has done is [block] people from having access to information that they're seeking and that they want. And it's just not right." Censorship, she said, should have no place in a country that values free speech.

"We don't want to start having a society where, on controversial issues, people will only have access to one viewpoint.... That's what's made America different than others. [Sexual orientation change efforts may be] an emotional topic, but we need to have more information out there for people so they can make decisions. [U]nwanted sexual attraction is a very difficult thing.... This isn't just a topic that we should throw around the political sphere. We have to remember these are individuals... And if people are struggling with something so personal, and they want more information, they should have access to a book... [to] get some potential help... or see if [it's] something they want to pursue or not. To just to have one group say, 'No, our way is the only way, and we're not going to let any other American hear about another alternative way to think about a condition or a subject' -- that's what we've seen in other countries in the past, and that's a scary place to go."

She's right. There are very few repressive book-banning regimes over the course of history that any American would want to emulate. And yet, as far as Amazon is concerned, these reputable counselors are literally worse than Adolf Hitler -- whose book, ironically, the company has no problem selling. What could possibly make some of the most respected clinicians in their field so dangerous to the general public? FRC's Peter Sprigg thinks it has less to do with the content of their books and more to do with the activists objecting to them. After all, he pointed out, the loudest critic of the titles said he hadn't read a single one!

"LGBT activists are upset, because they've pushed this idea that people are born gay and can't change in order to promote the idea that this should be treated under civil rights law like a characteristic like race, which you are born with and which can't be changed. So this undermines that. But basically, they are just offended at the idea that there are some people who experience same-sex attractions but don't want to be gay. The idea that there's anybody out there who considers it in any way undesirable to live as a homosexual is very offensive to them. And so that's what they really trying to stamp out is the, the underlying opinion that maybe this is something undesirable."

Obviously, Peter went on, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) aren't a "magic switch." "It's not just a matter of you instantly turn from being 100% homosexual to 100% heterosexual. But, at the same time, people experienced significant change in their attractions, their behavior, and how they identify themselves. So there is actually scientific evidence as well as anecdotal evidence in favor of its effectiveness."

In other words, these books are an avenue of hope. And Vicky Hartzler thinks it's time for Congress to push for their reinstatement. And it's not as if members won't have the opportunity. "Their representatives are always on the hill, meeting with us about many different things. And so we [need] to weigh in and say, 'We don't appreciate your new policy... that is started down the road of censorship, and we think you should reverse course.'" Add your voice to Vicky's! Contact Amazon at 888-280-4331.

For more on these growing threats, check out Ken Blackwell's new Townhall column, "Attacks on Conservative Speech Take Many Forms."

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Liberal Politics a Risky Business for CEOs

July 23, 2019

It isn't news that Americans have major trust issues with the media. What is news is that Big Business isn't far behind. In the latest survey on people's confidence in institutions, corporate leaders took one of the deepest hits. And after a decade of pushing one-sided politics, it's not difficult to see why.

For once, Congress and the media finally have company in the doghouse. For another straight year, corporate CEOs are near the basement of American opinion. While the military still enjoys a "great deal" or "fair amount" of confidence from 83 percent of U.S. adults, the public's trust in elected officials and company leaders is tanking. Sixty-three percent have "little confidence" in politicians, and a surprising 56 percent take a "similarly skeptical view of business." In fact, Americans' faith in the corporate world is so low that even journalists rate higher!

At Pew Research, the polling dates back to the 1950s -- an era when CEOs were too busy selling products to bother with politics. Now, more than a half-century later, the market has shifted and suddenly the liberal activists at the helm of Amazon, Google, Nike, Netflix, and others are starting to rub consumers the wrong way. We're living in an age when chains like &Pizza aren't asking about your order -- but ordering states to fight against pro-life policies. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which rarely waded into radical social policies, stunned everyone this year by endorsing the most extreme piece of LGBT legislation in history. Is it any wonder that Americans are increasingly fed up with Big Business? Haven't we all had enough of Left-leaning institutions trying to divide the country with their social agendas?

Of course, the irony is that these CEOs are arguing that conservative policies like privacy laws or abortion limits are bad for business -- when in reality, they're bad for their business. There's a reason Netflix suffered a historic loss of subscribers in the last quarter. It threatened to cripple Georgia's film industry if the state didn't bend its knee and betray their pro-life convictions.

Americans are watching Big Business use its influence to push a radical, anti-faith, anti-family agenda. And they're realizing: the products and services we purchase provide the profits they need to attack our values. I am certain there are hardworking CEOs in the heartland who just want to run their businesses and stay out of the political fray. Others have told me, confidentially, just how toxically liberal the major corporations have become. They tell me how radical activists with hidden agendas have cropped up in their own Human Resources departments. Executives are being forced to act out of a fear of protests or even legal consequences rather than doing what's best for their companies.

Powerful businesses aren't focused on rolling back prices, because they're too busy rolling back our values. And it's time we became educated consumers who make simple choices that matter. Two longtime allies of FRC, 2nd Vote and The Timothy Plan, offer up-to-date research on this front. But make sure that when you stop doing business with companies that attack your values, send a letter telling them so. I've heard from people at the highest levels of these companies that letters like that speak powerfully to them. Don't let your money be used against you. Get informed today!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Hollywood to China: You Can Be My Wingman Anytime

July 23, 2019

It's been 33 years since Maverick buzzed the tower in Top Gun. A lot has changed since then, including -- fans point out -- the iconic pilot's jacket. What does a tiny change to his military patch mean? That China has a bigger role in Hollywood's blockbusters than ever.

No one but the die-hard fans might have noticed it, but in the new Paramount Pictures trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise's character is wearing the same bomber jacket, but without the flags of Taiwan or Japan on the patch for "Far East Cruise 63-4, USS Galveston." It's a small change, experts say, but it makes a huge statement about China's growing influence over U.S. filmmakers. Like a lot of new productions, the Top Gun sequel is partly produced by a Chinese distributor, meaning that the regime's censors would have had tremendous veto power over the film's content -- right down to the actors' wardrobes.

Online, social media lit up with commentary about China's shocking influence over Hollywood -- and theories that a lot of changes had been made to appease the lucrative market. Matt Philbin, managing editor at Media Research Center, can't believe how quickly things have changed in a country where America was supposed to be exporting values -- not swallowing them. It's ironic, Philbin explained. According to those who advocated for open trade with China, the Chinese were "supposed to be opening up to our content, to our ideas, to our culture -- not determining what we are doing and what we are exporting to them."

In fact, that was the whole idea more than 20 years ago with the most permanent, most favored nation status with China. The argument was we were going to change them through our economic activity by opening the doors of trade. We were going to bring them into the civilized world. We were going to help deal with the human rights abuses. And what we've found is that it's been the reverse. Now, Fortune 500 companies that were trampling each other to get into China are the ones that have jettisoned their values and will do anything now to make a Chinese dollar.

Meanwhile, these same companies are boycotting states and taking out ads complaining about democratically-passed pro-life laws -- only to turn around and partner with countries like China, who are targeting, torturing, imprisoning, and organ harvesting religious minorities. Talk about an incredible double standard. "It's our technology that is helping them stay in power," Matt argued, "at the expense of freedom, at the expense of liberty and at the expense of a religious faith. And it's a terrible, moral stain on American and the American market."

For more on Hollywood's hypocrisy, don't miss FRC's new ad...

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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