Free to Speak

Corporate Censorship

The government dare not censor free speech. But it’s OK for a major corporation to do so. What’s going on?

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Chuck  Colson

I remember the days when the term “freedom of speech” referred to, well, actual speech.

Of course, it’s come to mean “freedom of expression.” That is to say, an artist can claim a constitutionally protected right to display a picture of a crucifix in a jar of urine. Or pornographers can claim free speech by peddling obscene pictures over the internet or in a magazine.

Such expression is, of course, protected by law. We don’t even argue about it anymore. But while restrictions on expression are vanishing, how is it that restrictions on actual speech in the public square are increasing?

One obvious case in point is Apple’s decision to pull the Manhattan Declaration app from its iTunes app store. Apple has decided that the document, which uses civil and biblical language to declare that marriage should be reserved to one man and one woman, constitutes the equivalent of hate speech.

We do not live in a truly free, liberal democracy when a major corporation like Apple, which controls so much of the information flow in our society, can seek to control the great moral debates of our age by simply denying access to one side of the debate.

It’s true, if government seeks to censor, say, a newspaper or a magazine, all kinds of lawsuits are sure to follow. But private censorship of free speech can be just as deadly; even more so.  And this, I fear, is what is happening in American life today.

Now, in banning the Manhattan Declaration app, Apple decided to bend to the wishes of a small but very vocal group of homosexual-rights activists. But don’t think those activists will stop at the Manhattan Declaration. They are on the lookout for any organization that dares to oppose so-called “same-sex marriage.” Just last week, homosexual bloggers squawked that the Pennsylvania Family Institute was sponsoring what they called an “anti-gay,” “anti-equality” conference; and worse yet, that a prominent food chain, Chick-fil-A, was a co-sponsor. Of course, the conference was no such thing. The conference’s title is “The Art of Marriage, Getting to God’s Design.”

I happen to know the founder of Chick-fil-A—Truett Cathy—a wonderful, outstanding Christian businessman. Why should they be bashed for supporting a good thing—promoting healthy marriages?

More and more, the forces of political correctness and intolerance are seeking to ban Christian beliefs and Christian speech from the public square. And they are targeting corporations and the media to enforce stringent sanctions against what they deem to be politically incorrect speech.

And that’s why we’re not going to give up on defending our right to speak freely and civilly to the important moral, ethical, and political issues facing our society. As I talk about on today’s Two Minute Warning, we must embrace the Christian virtue of perseverance. Because we are in for a long, hard struggle. And the forces of political correctness are counting on Christians to back down, give up, retreat to the pews or the monasteries. Well I, for one refuse to do that.

Please, go to ColsonCenter.org today to watch my Two Minute Warning video commentary on the importance of perseverance.

Folks, we must continue to speak out. Or we will, indeed, be silenced.

Further Reading and Information
Two Minute Warning: Persevere!
Chuck Colson | The Colson Center | January 12, 2011

Distorting Reality: Apple Rejects Man Dec App Again
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | January 06, 2011

Democracy, Apple, and Us
Chuck Colson | The Colson Center | December 08, 2010

Upsetting the Apple Cart: The 'Offensive' Manhattan Declaration
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | December 02, 2010

Playing the Hate Card: One Way To Shut Down Debate
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | December 08, 2010

Manhattan Declaration
Life, Marriage, Religious Liberty | ManhattanDeclaration.org

Steve Jobs’s email: Steve@Apple.com
Apple’s switchboard: 408-996-1010
Sign the petition to have the Manhattan Declaration app restored.