Facebook Blocking Franklin Graham on Christmas Is 'an Undeclared War on the Christian Faith'
During Christmas week, Facebook blocked the account of one of the most prominent evangelical Christians in the world, Franklin Graham. Graham is the president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and the global charity Samaritan's Purse. While Facebook removed the block and apologized, many Christian leaders see this move as yet more evidence of Big Tech's bias and censorship against followers of Jesus Christ.
"When FB blocks a Christian with as high a profile as Franklin Graham, it amounts to an undeclared war on Christian faith," Robert A.J. Gagnon, a professor at Houston Baptist University with a Ph.D. in Pauline theology and sexuality, told PJ Media in an interview Monday.
Gagnon added, "I’m glad to hear that they rescinded. Still, to continue the military metaphor, it’s a FB shot across the bow for all Christians."
Gagnon, whose book "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics," is widely considered one of the best resources on Christian doctrine regarding homosexuality, has himself been blocked on Facebook numerous times for expressing his scholarly opinion on the social media platform. His expression of the traditional position on Christian sexuality has been branded "hate speech."
Similarly, Franklin Graham's account was blocked over a 2016 post defending North Carolina's House Bill 2, a law that reserved public restrooms on the basis of biological sex. Graham called H.B. 2 "a good law ... to protect women and children." Perhaps the Facebook employee interpreted this statement as an attack on transgender identity, but the law did protect the privacy of women and children from male voyeurs posing as transgender, regardless of what the law did to people who actually do struggle with gender dysphoria.
Redefining speech as violence has become hip on college campuses, but liberal groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brand conservative and Christian groups as "hate groups" — and pressure Big Tech to censor this kind of "hate." Gagnon has connected this activity to his experience being blocked on Facebook.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC) — which suffered a terrorist attack due to the SPLC's "hate group" label — urged tech companies like Facebook to champion the "free flow and exchange of ideas."
"America is only strong and America can only prosper when there is the free flow and exchange of ideas. Our nation is divided – but silencing Franklin Graham’s biblical views, which are shared by at least half the country, is not going to bring America together. It will only further divide," Perkins told PJ Media.
"We’ve welcomed Facebook’s outreach to conservatives to discuss censorship concerns but it’s time for those conversations to translate into tangible progress," the FRC president added. "The frequency of accidentally silencing conservative speech by the social media giants points to either a significant weakness in the application of technology or a hostility to the free flow of and exchange of ideas."