On Tuesday, Facebook suspended Robert A.J. Gagnon, a prominent Christian scholar on the topic of Bible sexuality, for 24 hours. His crime? Speaking out against transgender ideology and President Joe Biden’s new transgender military policy. Facebook claimed that Gagnon’s criticism of this government-imposed ideology violated the platform’s “Community Standards on violence and incitement.”
Ironically, Gagnon’s post drew attention to Facebook’s suspension of his friend, Laurie Higgins, who got a seven-day ban for criticizing Biden’s policy.
“There was absolutely no incitement to violence on our part. We abhor violence done to any person,” Gagnon told PJ Media on Tuesday. “This is just a thinly veiled and pathetic excuse for censorship of any critical views toward trans-tyranny over our consciences, religion, and reason.”
“Only one point of view is being allowed,” he added, ominously. “Trump was not the great danger to the Republic. Left-wing canceling is.”
Gagnon, who holds a Ph.D. in Pauline theology and sexuality from Princeton Theological Seminary, has published The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. He teaches as a professor of New Testament Theology at Houston Baptist University.
In the post Facebook flagged, Gagnon had defended Higgins’ response to Biden’s pro-transgender military policy.
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Gagnon got suspended for this post:
My friend Laurie Higgins has been suspended for 7 days, for making an accurate and witty satirical post, by left-wing FB overlords who seek to squash all dissent on the issue of transgenderism, no doubt emboldened by the Biden/Harris administration. There’s nothing inaccurate about this post.
- Biden’s lifting of Trump’s transgender military ban will indeed put women military personnel in the awful position of having to shower with biological males.
- Trans-promoters aren’t content with having men invade the domain of women’s sports and shelters.
- “Transgender” ideology is indeed a pseudo-science, compelling people to reject basic biological facts.
- Promoters of “transgenderism” do indeed exhibit traits of a religious cult in their mind-numbing, science-denying conformity. The censoring and suspending of Laurie HIggins rather proves the point, doesn’t it?
Gagnon sent PJ Media a photo of Facebook’s notice, warning that his post violated the site’s “Community Standards on violence and incitement.”
“We have these standards to prevent and disrupt offline harm,” Facebook assured Gagnon.
Facebook did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment. The company did not explain how arguments against Biden’s pro-transgender military policy, warnings about men competing in women’s sports, claims that transgender ideology is “pseudo-science,” or claims that transgender advocates act like a religious cult would incite violence.
Robert P. George, McCormick professor of jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, took to Facebook to condemn the platform’s attack on Gagnon.
“Censorship on Facebook and some other social media has now gone way beyond the bounds of the reasonable, and is grossly violating representations about free speech made by CEOs and other officers of the major platforms,” George wrote. He described Gagnon’s suspension as “an egregious case.”
“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 cuture and among people in the tech industry,” George argued. “What we do NOT need is the silencing of dissent. That is never a good idea. Once it starts and becomes normalized … things do not end well.”
“If anyone from FB is reading this comment, please, I beg you, reconsider the path down which you are going. It is not a good one. It is a healthy spirit of civil libertarianism we need; not dogmatism and the enforcement of groupthink,” the Princeton professor urged.
There are many good reasons to oppose Biden’s new transgender policies, and disagreeing with these policies does not constitute incitement to violence.
Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the U.S. Army after getting kicked out for her sexuality, has openly opposed the pro-transgender policy Biden instituted. Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, a Heritage Foundation scholar, also opposed the policy, claiming “it would be immoral to place individuals at higher risk from mental injury — such as those suffering from gender dysphoria — in a situation where they are likely to experience extraordinary stress.”
Biden’s pro-transgender policies will open women’s restrooms and changing rooms to biological males, destroy fair play in women’s sports by allowing males to compete, and sends the dangerous message that an amorphous gender identity matters more than biological sex.
There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Men and women who formerly identified as transgender and underwent surgery have grown to reject transgender identity and lament the damage they did to their own bodies. Yet Joe Biden has endorsed transgender identity and activism even for children under age 10.
There are extremely good reasons to disagree with Biden’s policy, but beyond that, it is terrifying to see Facebook demonize dissent from a government policy by equating free speech with incitement to violence. Worse, the move comes as Democrats seem intent on starting a new domestic “War on Terror,” with former CIA Director John Brennan equating libertarians with an ISIS-style “insurgency.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.