NRB Study: Social Sites Censoring Christians

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WASHINGTON -- One of the biggest promises of the Internet was that it would have unfettered free speech for all.

However, a new study released Thursday revealed that Christians are one of the few groups being censored online.

The new media platforms of our world -- Facebook, Google, Apple, and MySpace -- all promise a world filled with much more free speech and democracy.

But the National Religious Broadcasters has warned these platforms could well be the new anti-religious censors of our day.

The NRB conducted a study of the social networking websites that showed even among the largest of the sites, only Twitter hasn't censored Christians.

"There's actually a pattern of anti-Christian censorship that's already occurred among several of them. And, then, when we looked farther, looked at their written policies, we found that [with] everyone of them, except for Twitter again," Craig Parshall, general counsel for the NRB, said.

"They get an A+ from us. The rest of them get failing grades," he added.

Colby May, director of the office of governmental affairs at the American Center for Law and Justice, teamed up with Parshall and other groups to examine the new media platforms censorship for the last year-and-a-half.

"There is a kind of viewpoint censorship that's going on. And we need to go ahead and stand up and say, 'Stop. Not here. Don't do it. Wrong way. Turn around now,'" May explained.

"What's getting censored?" CBN News asked Parshall.

"Right now, it's on the issue of the gay rights agenda," he responded.

Apple's Apps store stopped the distribution of two applications that were from Christian groups opposing the gay rights agenda.

"And you have to ask yourself, 'Why just these two viewpoints of the hundreds of thousands that you have?' And when you get the explanation, it's 'Well, some people were ruffled. They felt they were offended by it,'" May said.

Parshall complained that the companies behind these platforms give them "the authority to strip content off whenever other users, for any reason, decide they don't like the opinions of other users."

"Then you're thinking, 'Wait just a minute. We've crossed over into this netherworld where offense is now the justification upon which the rights we have as Americans to fully engage in the culture and to debate all issues is going to be decided?'" May asked.

The panelists who came to Washington to discuss the new NRB study urge the Googles, the Apples and the Facebooks of the world to instead use the First Amendment as a guide for unfettered free speech.

"More speech is better than less speech. Open and robust debate and contending for the things that matter is essential," May said.

"Everyone's viewpoint ought to be allowed on these new media platforms," Parshall pointed out.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.