Technically (Not) Speaking: The Conservative Purge Begins

Technically (Not) Speaking: The Conservative Purge Begins

January 11, 2021

All they needed was an opening. And for the rich extremists at the helm of the West's social media, last Wednesday's riot gave them one. The purging of conservative expression has begun. We knew it was coming -- just as we've always known it will take every one of us to stop it.

Most Americans thought they understood censorship. They've watched it evolve and expand this last decade, scooping up more people in its nets in the name of "tolerance," "diversity," and "non-violence." But what happened this weekend was not a tweet blocked here or an account suspended there. No, this was much more ominous. What Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Amazon did by locking out the president wasn't just a heavy-handed punishment of Donald Trump and his supporters -- it was a scorched-earth campaign against the tens of millions of people who dare to think differently than they do and the open forums that give our movement a voice.

"Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers," Parler's John Matze announced to stunned surprise on Saturday. It was the second major bombshell to drop in the new war between Big Tech and the other half of the country. After careful, behind-the-scenes coordination from Silicon Valley's chiefs, the popular alternative to Twitter was scrubbed from the Apple store, Google Play, and any other place users could download the app. "We will try our best," Matze insisted, "to move to a new provider..." But in the meantime, the message to conservatives is clear: Big Tech isn't just coming for Trump. They're coming for all of us -- and corporate America isn't far behind.

The Tech giants used the claim that Parler allowed its platform to be used to advocate and coordinate violence at the capitol last week. If there was ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it. Homeland Security was forced to weigh-in this past summer in a letter to the social media giants saying the popular platforms appeared to play a role in facilitating "burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property." Are Twitter and Facebook responsible for the burning of Portland or the siege of Seattle? Then why are they holding Parler to a different standard? Oh, but there's more hypocrisy. Twitter and Facebook permanently booted President Trump because he refuse to accept an election fraught with irregularities, but they don't mind giving the Ayatollah Khamenei a channel to spew his hate and "death to America!" This isn't about upholding any rules. This is about cutting off the oxygen to free speech on the Right.

And the domino effect -- banishing people from other parts of the public square -- is already starting. Forbes's Randall Lane warns that a "truth reckoning" is coming for anyone who hires or associates with former Trump staffers. Other extreme organizations are already gathering names and data for the blacklist. Then, there are Joe Biden's allies, like Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker, who says that "deplatforming" conservatives or crushing the alternatives they flock to isn't enough. This crusade needs to move beyond "temporary silencing or permanent removal of bad actors from social media..." Some of that is already starting. The Federalist's Joy Pullmann has two words for any freedom-loving patriot in America: brace yourself.

Everyone from local law enforcement to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is trying to smoke out conservatives from their ranks. The NAR has even gone so far as to "revise" its professional ethics code so that employees on the clock and off can be held accountable for any expression they consider intolerant. "To them hate speech includes basic conservative ideas, not at all actually racist or otherwise indefensible words." In some areas, police departments have opened official investigations to see if anyone on their payrolls attended the January 6th protest. In other offices, employers are flat-out firing people who attended the rally -- even if they were part of the peaceful majority. And Biden's friends on the extreme Left still aren't satisfied. They want even more retribution.

As Abigail Shrier pointed out when Senator Josh Hawley's (R-Mo.) book exposing Big Tech was dropped by Simon & Schuster, "'You aren't entitled to your book contract,' can quickly become 'United doesn't have to let you onto its planes' 'Marriott doesn't have to let you stay at its hotels,' or 'Visa doesn't have to let you use its cards.' And maybe that's the point." This is not just an attack on free speech. This is an attack on an entire movement of people with the intent of driving them underground -- keeping them from getting jobs, having legal representation, and even cutting them off from legitimate financial transactions like Stripe has done with the Trump campaign and organizations like the American Family Association. Of course, all of this blacklisting comes from the hypocrites on the Left who say living wages are a "human right" -- along with attorneys, health care, and the other things they're so eager to deny us.

Making matters worse, the Left doesn't fight like conservatives. They won't stop until all resistance is vanquished, and they assume total control of the narrative. And, as we've seen, they'll use any legitimate and illegitimate means to accomplish it. So, what do we do? Refuse to be intimidated, for one. The worst mistake we can make as Christians is to panic or roll over and give in to the censorship. As powerful as the Left's on-off switches are, they're nothing compared to God. At the end of the day, "You can't pull the plug on Jesus," Phil Robertson insisted.

Could this be a time of real testing? Absolutely. "Jesus said before he comes back, it's going to be as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah," Pastor Jack Hibbs reminded us on Thursday. "And prophetically speaking, we know that [those] days are coming. Jesus said they're going to come. In America, we've had it very easy for a long time. And that doesn't mean we give up. It means that we get ready. The church is being purified. It happened during COVID, and the next chapter is [starting]. And we need to stand." Friends and family of faith, Jack said, get ready. "Get into your Bible like you never have before. Don't mess around. If you don't go to a Bible-teaching church, you need to find one, quick, that applies God's word to the world in which we live."

There is nothing new under the sun, Ecclesiastes says. And while there may not have been Twitter in King Solomon's day, there was evil. Then, as in now, God's people need to spend less time on Facebook and more time on their face before God. If you haven't been a part of FRC's two-year Bible reading program, jump in right now. God's word is profoundly speaking to His people in these difficult days. "Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart," we just read in Isaiah 51, "Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults." Do not, he urges, "forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth." In other words, don't fear the insults and threats of those who are here today and gone tomorrow. Rather put your trust in the word of God; it may not always be popular with the world, but it has stood the test of time and it will continue to be a foundation we can stand on. That's the kind of faith that can be contagious. That's the kind of faith that can set an entire congregation, community, and nation free.

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

What Happened to the 'Party of Healing?'

January 11, 2021

"With the campaign over," Joe Biden has insisted, "it's time to put the anger and harsh rhetoric behind us." You first, several Republicans are saying. After a week of turmoil and partisanship, it seems the president-elect is no more willing to abandon his name-calling ways than his friends on the far-Left.

It was always going to be an uphill climb to decency for the man who called President Trump's supporters "the dregs of society" in 2018. Biden, who a lot of voters wrongly trusted to shrink the country's divides, has proven in these last several days that he's no more capable of that than the rest of his party. Desperate to squeeze all of the political capital out of last Wednesday's scene that he can, the soon-to-be Trump successor made it clear that he has no intentions of ratcheting down the language.

In a press conference on Friday, Biden was asked whether he thought Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) should resign for objecting to the way the several states bypassed their election laws. The former vice president, who called on Americans to "turn the page" went on to illustrate why the nation is in this mess, comparing the two conservatives to Nazi propagandists.

"They're part of the big lie," Biden told reporters. "[Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels and the great lie. You keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie." (Goebbels once said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.") Of course, as hundreds of affidavits and court challenges make quite clear, the senators were right (and hardly alone) in their concerns about the election. An overwhelming number of Republicans and surprising number of Democrats believe the outcome of November 3rd and process were neither free nor fair. In other words, Biden isn't just maligning these senators but the tens of millions of people who share their concerns. At least now, he said in disgust, the American people have "a real, clear, good look at who they are."

But the American people are getting a real, clear, good look at the next president too. And suddenly, Biden's "it's-time-for-America-to-unite" bit doesn't sound quite so sincere. "President-elect Biden has just compared me and another Republican senator to Nazis," Hawley fired back. "Think about that for a moment. Let that sink in. Because I raised questions in the format prescribed by the laws of the United States about the way elections were conducted in the state of Pennsylvania, just as Democrats did about other states in 2001, 2005, and 2017, he is calling me a Nazi. This is undignified, immature, and intemperate behavior from the president-elect. It is utterly shameful. He should act like a dignified adult and retract these sick comments. And every Democrat member of congress should be asked to disavow these disgusting comments."

After four years of hearing the Left rant about Donald Trump's divisiveness, Joe Biden and company appear to have no interest in the fresh start or healing they keep talking about. Then there's Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who gaveled in the new Congress with a significantly weaker majority. And yet, she still hasn't gotten the message from voters. On Sunday, the speaker warned that she will use the party's power and precious legislative time pursuing her never-ending vendetta against President Trump. "In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both," she wrote in a letter to Democrat colleagues. If the vice president doesn't respond, Pelosi warns, "we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the floor." This from the woman who insisted in the 117th Congress's opening remarks, "pray that there be peace... and let it begin with us."

Instead, she and every leftist at the height of power seems intent on pouring gasoline on the divided country's powder keg. "The damage caused by this week's rioting was enormous," law professor Jonathan Turley agreed, "but it will pale in comparison to the damage from a new precedent of a 'snap impeachment' for speech protected under the First Amendment. It is the very danger that the Framers sought to avoid... It would do to the Constitution what the rioters did to the Capitol: Leave it in tatters."

The Democratic Party keeps promising not to "fan the flames of hate." The American people say: Lay down your flame throwers and prove it.

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

Kentucky Rings in the New Year with Life

January 11, 2021

When all else fails, look to the states. That's where hope is in abundance. Despite a difficult start to 2021, pro-life leaders are keeping their heads down and focusing on what they can do to affect change. In Kentucky, that's translated into an encouraging start to the short legislative session, especially where the unborn are concerned.

While the rest of the country was dealing with the breaking Big Tech News, senators in the Bluegrass State were hard at work on Saturday with their expanded majority, voting 30-5 to send an important bill to Governor Andy Beshear's (D) desk. With it, the state's attorney general, conservative Daniel Cameron (R) would have brand new powers to regulate state abortion centers.

"I am grateful to Representative Joe Fischer and House leadership for, on day one of the 2021 session, passing a bill out of committee that will allow our office to act unencumbered and with clear legal authority when an abortion provider breaks the law," Cameron responded. "It is my job as the Chief Law Officer for the Commonwealth to ensure that abortion providers follow the law and are not given special treatment or blanket exemptions, as they were during the start of this pandemic. I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly on this important measure."

If the legislation sounds familiar, it's because Governor Beshear vetoed something similar at the end of 2020. Now, despite all of the other issues competing for the state's attention, senators determined that this pro-life proposal was important enough to make it the first bill passed in the new year.

Should the governor come to his senses and sign it, Attorney General Cameron would be able to seek "civil and criminal" penalties for any violations of Kentucky's abortion laws. And, thanks to the jump start they got on the legislation, pro-lifers made sure that this year -- unlike 2020 -- they have enough time to override Beshear if he vetoes.

The same is true of the state's born-alive abortion survivors bill, which also passed the Kentucky House and Senate over the weekend -- with bipartisan support. "The fact that this bill passed in the early days of the 2021 session of the General Assembly is an indicator that, at least in Kentucky, most of our elected officials value life," Todd Gray, the head of the Kentucky Baptist Convention wrote. "While Gov. Andy Beshear may attempt to veto the bill as he did last year, his efforts will undoubtedly fail given the bill's strong support and the veto override power of both Republican-led chambers."

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