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Writing in his History of Protestantism, J.A. Wylie introduces his readers to a 12th century reformer by the name of Arnold of Brescia. According to Wylie,

Arnold took his stand in the streets of his native Brescia, and began to thunder forth his scheme of reform. His townsmen gathered around him. For spiritual Christianity, the men of that age had little value, but Arnold had touched a chord in their hearts…the suddenness and boldness of the assault seem to have stunned the ecclesiastical authorities; and it was not until the Bishop of Brescia found his entire flock, deserting the cathedral, and assembling daily in the marketplace, crowding round the eloquent preacher, and listening to his fierce sermons, that he bestirred himself to silence the courageous monk…Arnold was seized, sent to Rome under a strong escort, and burned alive (Except taken from Ryan Denton’s Christ in the Wild Facebook page).

For Protestants unfamiliar with Rome’s long history of torturing and murdering anyone who stands against the ambitions of its prelates, this quote probably comes as something a shock. But for Rome, its treatment of Arnold of Brecia was business as usual.

Now the reader may be asking himself why I’ve elected to begin this installment on the activities of the Tech Left with an historical account straight out of the middle ages. What has this account to do with our current day Silicon Valley censors?

Hopefully the connection between Rome’s actions against Arnold of Brescia and the activities of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple aren’t too hard to see. For both the medieval Roman Church-State and the current day tech masters of the universe have this in common: They both seek to enforce the existing political, economic and social order by snuffing out the voices of anyone who dares challenge received opinion.

In truth, there’s little difference between the medieval Church of Rome and our present day techno tyrants. Yes, what Rome did was worse in that they physically arrested Arnold and brutally murdered him. At least for now, the Tech Left merely deletes your YouTube channel and bans you from Twitter.

But while no one currently is being burned alive, at least in the West, for writing a blog post challenging the Establishment opinion, Arnold of Brescia’s brutal execution serves as a stark reminder of why the preservation of free speech is so important, of why the framers of our Constitution prohibited Congress from infringing upon this right in the First Amendment, and of what could happen in the future if Americans, and in particular Christians, look the other way and remain silent while the Deep State, through its Big Tech proxies, attacks the free speech rights of conservatives, libertarians, and even progressives, who challenge the worldview put forth by the corporate media.

In last week’s installment, I discussed what Christians should not do in response to the Big Tech crack down on free speech. We should not:

  1. Fear: God is in charge, even of the Deep State.
  2. Forget that the problems we face ultimately are a spiritual battle.
  3. Fall for the lie that the Tech Left’s attack on free speech is merely a matter of private companies doing what they want with their own property. The Deep State, the permanent government represented especially by America’s intelligence agencies, is the one running the show.
  4. Not attempt to solve Big Tech censorship by calling for government regulation of the internet. To do this is to call for even bigger government to solve a problem created by big government in the first place.

Today in what I intend to be the final installment of this series, I would like to discuss what Christians should do about the Deep State’s use of Big Tech to regain control of the narrative – when I speak of controlling the narrative, I mean by this the ability to provide the context that gives meaning to current events;  as John Robbins has noted, events do not explain themselves, but themselves must be explained; by its ability to provide the context, the interpretive framework, the narrative through which the public views political, social and economic issues, the mainstream media has proven to be a powerful tool in the hands of elite interests which they use to further their own agenda by controlling what people think. 

For probably the first time in my life, the mainstream media, and by extension the elite interests who run it, lost narrative control during the run up to the 2016 Presidential election.  The result was President Trump.  By seeking to shut down down independent journalists and pundits, especially those with large audiences who write and speak on the big social media platforms, the elite are attempting to regain control of the narrative, and thus their ability to control the public’s worldview.

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SMC_Facebook_2“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19).

These familiar words of Jesus commonly are known to Christians as the Great Commission. While not the only call for evangelism in the New Testament, they certainly are an important proof text supporting the call of Christians to evangelize the lost.

The Apostle Paul provides another proof text in his epistle to the Romans. In Chapter 10 he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14, 15).

Now someone may ask what these passages have to do with the topic at hand, the tech left’s attack on free speech and why Christians, and especially Christians, should object to it.

It is my hope that a little thought would make the relationship between these two passages and the issue at hand clear. Christianity is a religion of the Word. And how to people hear that Word? From a preacher. If the Word cannot be spoken and written, if it cannot be communicated to unbelievers, they have no chance of coming to faith in Christ.

Further, Christ commands us to go, to make disciples and to teach all his commandments. To fulfill this commandment, Christians must use words. That is to say, they must be able both to speak and to write.

For any civil magistrate to prohibit or to attempt to prohibit Christians from speaking freely means to prohibit them from doing the very thing Christ himself commanded his disciples to do. This represents an enormous abuse of power by the civil authorities and is itself a great evil.

Someone may object to my reasoning here by saying that internet censorship is not being done by the civil authorities, but rather by private companies who have the right to regulate traffic on their websites. This may seem like a plausible argument, but as I hope to show next week, Big Tech as represented by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not acting on their own when they deplatform conservative and libertarian political commentary. Rather, in this author’s opinion, these companies really are acting on behalf of Deep State to censor views it deems dangerous to its cause.

As some have put it, the Deep State has simply outsourced censorship, which in the United States cannot be done directly by government officials due to the First Amendment, to private corporations which are to a significant degree under the control of the Deep State.

As I noted last week, I hope to lay out the case that it’s the globalist Deep State that’s largely behind the push for social media censorship. Lord willing, I plan to make this case next week.

For this week’s installment, I’d like to continue with additional examples of deplatforming found in the Scriptures. Last seek we looked at deplatforming in the Old Testament. This week, our focus will be on deplatforming in the New Testament.

Deplatforming in the New Testament

Although the deplatformings recorded in the New Testament happened many hundreds of years after those we looked at last week in the Old Testament, the spirit, the purpose, behind them is the same. In both cases, it is the vested power interests attempting to quash any challenge to their authority.

The premier examples of deplatforming and attempted deplatforming in the New Testament can be found in the life of Jesus Christ himself. Throughout his earthly ministry, the Jewish religious authorities were Jesus greatest enemies and constantly sought out ways to silence him.

In one case, ordinary Synagogue members attempted to deplatform Christ by throwing him off a hill in Nazareth when they decided they didn’t like his sermon.

And in the end it was the combined efforts of the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people and the Roman civil authorities who joined forces to temporarily succeed in deplatforming Jesus when they brutally executed him on the cross.

Worth noting is the reason why the Jewish religious leaders and some of the Jewish people wanted Christ killed. It was not what Jesus did, but what Jesus said that drew their wrath.

Consider this passage from John’s Gospel. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God’ ” (John 10:31-33).

Note well that it was what Jesus said, not what he did, that so angered these people, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You…make Yourself God.”

Consider another example, this one recorded by Luke. Early in his ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and there read the Scriptures and preached.

Jesus’ hometown crowd was on his side at first, but quickly became hostile when he recounted how the prophet Elijah was sent outside the covenant to Zaraphath to help a widow suffering from the famine and how Naaman alone was cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Luke tells us these good church goers were “filled with wrath” and led Jesus outside the city where they planned to throw him off a cliff. That’s deplatforming with a vengeance.

Note that here, as with incident recorded by John, the impetus for the attempt of Jesus life was what he said, not what he did.

At Jesus trial before the elders of the people and the chief priests, once again we see Jesus words were what got him in trouble. Luke notes that Jesus interlocutors asked him if he were the Son of God. When Jesus told them, “You rightly say that I am,” they rested their case, saying, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

John the Baptist also was deplatformed for what he said. In John’s case, his speech got him imprisoned and beheaded.

As Matthew tells us, Herod had John thrown in prison, “Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her [Herodias, his brother Phillips wife].’ ” Matthew records that Herod would have killed John for his saying but for the fact that he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

Peter and John are another example of deplatforming. They were arrested for their preaching (speech) in the temple and dragged before the Sanhedrin who “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

This is noteworthy, for Peter had just performed a miracle, healing a man who had been lame since birth. The Sanhedrin even admitted that “a notable miracle had been done” through the apostles. But the Sanhedrin did not order Peter and John not to perform miracles, they ordered them not to speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. It was the apostles’ speaking that concerned the Sanhedrin, not their miracle working.

Acts chapter 5 recounts how Peter and John were arrested and deplatformed a second time. On this occasion, there were not brought directly before the Sanhedrin, but were imprisoned. Scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord came and brought them out of prison, telling them, “God, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Once again, we see the emphasis laid on the apostles preaching, their speaking, not on their miracle working. The angel did not tell them to go to the temple and heal people. He told them to preach.

The Biblical emphasis could not be more clear. Christianity is about words. It’s about understanding. It’s about belief. In order to understand and agree with the Gospel, one first has to hear the words of the Gospel. In order to hear and believe the Gospel, the information must be communicated in words.

The ministry experience of the Apostle Paul mirrors that of the examples above. Time and again Paul found himself in trouble, not for what he did, but for what he said.

Any number of examples could be brought forth to buttress this point. One example comes right after his conversion on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 9 records how Paul “Immediately…preached Christ in the synagogues,” and that he, “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus was is the Christ.”

So how did the Jews in Damascus react to Paul’s preaching. Acts tells us they, “plotted to kill him.”

Another example of deplatforming can be seen in Paul’s speech to the crowd at the temple. Paul was addressing an already hostile crowd when he told of his commission by Christ to go to the Gentiles.

Acts notes that the crowd listed until Paul said “Gentiles” and then started to riot, crying out, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air. This resulted in Paul’s arrest, spending many years in jail, and being taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Paul was deplatformed because of what he said.

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And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land…

– (1Kings 15:11-12)

“How did it come to this?,” I muttered to myself the other day. “How did it come to this?” My words were my reaction to the latest story in the mainstream press about the collapse of Western Civilization. Specifically, I was referring to yet another story about the normalization of homosexuality in the United States.

It was a story about how the State of California banned official travel to yet another state deemed by its all-wise legislators to be insufficiently submissive to the enlightened LGBT – or whatever this month’s alphabet soup variant happens to be – movement. If you’d like, you can read USA Today’s version of the story here. The short version is this, California has a state law requiring its attorney general to keep a naughty list of states subject to a travel ban due to “laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Now you’re probably wondering what outrage against humanity Oklahoma committed to earn the opprobrium of California’s Attorney General. It was this, the Governor or Oklahoma recently signed into law a statue that allowed private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex married couples.

How did it comes to this? Well, I doubt a single blog post can fully answer that question, but I would like to outline at least a few of the major factors that have produced the current state of affairs: the disappearance of Christianity in the West, the usurpation known as Judicial Review, and the Civil Rights Movement’s attack on property rights.

The Disappearance of Christianity in the West

As John Robbins argues in Christ and Civilization, Western Civilization is the by-product of the widespread preaching of and belief in the Gospel of Justification by Belief Alone. In nations to which the Reformation came, the role of government was reduced to something close to its Biblical norm of punishing evildoers and the secular work, what the Reformers called “vocation”, came to be seen as pleasing to God. As a result of this explosion in political and economic freedom, the nations of the West became the most prosperous on earth.

But Christianity has long been under attack in the West. 200 years ago, higher critics in Germany were ruining the nation’s universities with their skeptical attacks on the truth of the Bible. At the same time, those who professed to defend Christianity embraced irrationalism, perhaps the greatest heresy of all. Feminism, Marxism, Darwinism all rose to prominence as the 19th century wore on and helped to lay the groundwork for our modern world. Even many in the professing church, instead of being salt and light in the world as Jesus commanded, were instead swept up in these anti-Christian movements and began to use the aegis of the Bible as cover for advancing their unbelief, and thus was born the social gospel.

It stands to reason that if the ideas that formed a civilization are no longer held by the people in that civilization, the laws and social mores of that society will be changed to conform to the new belief systems that rush in to fill the void.

Even in the churches, few there be who hold to the teachings of the Reformation which birthed the West. And if the spiritual heirs of Luther and Calvin no longer believe what their forefathers believed, why would one expect those outside the Protestant churches to have any use for laws based upon a Biblical worldview?

The Old Testament associates the presence of sodomites in Israel with times of apostasy, and the removal of such persons from the land with periods of reformation. In the New Testament we find homosexuality condemned as a sin, saying of those who practice it that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. And from the colonial period right up to the recent past, the American legal system reflected this with the multitude of sodomy laws on the books.

But to take such a stance today in our post-Christian world is to court being branded a hater, a bigot, and unfit for polite society. The shift from laws criminalizing homosexuality to ones promoting it is a stunning change, and one that was made possible by Americans’ rejection of Christianity.

The Usurpation of Judicial Review

One assumption shared by both political liberals and political conservatives is that the Supreme Court has the right to declare a law either constitutional or unconstitutional. Liberals want to pack the court, so that liberal judges can give constitutional blessings to current laws favored by liberals and pave the way for more such legislation. Conservatives want conservative justices to do the same for their favored causes.

Almost no one stops to ask whether the Supreme Court actually has the power to do what it does, declare laws constitutional or not.

The short answer to this question is, no, it does not. This probably comes as a shock to many people. I know it did me when I first heard it.

As originally conceived, the Supreme Court was to decide, not whether a given law was Constitutional, but whether it had been applied properly. With Marbury v Madison in 1803, that all changed. For it was in this decision that the Supreme Court first asserted what is now known as judicial review, the power to decide whether a given law is constitutional.

Judicial review is essentially the Roman Catholic view of the Church applied to Constitutional law. In Rome, the Bible is what the Church says it is. In Christianity, the church is what the Bible says it is.

In like fashion, those who argue that the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is are legal Romanists. The correct view, the Supreme Court is what the Constitution says it is, is legal Protestantism.

The Romanist view of the Supreme Court is one of the major, and very underappreciated, sources of the massive change in American law with respect to homosexuality. It was just three years ago in 2015 that the US Supreme Court in one fell swoop declared unconstitutional all laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The astounding arrogance of five lawyers on the Supreme Court has basically gutted the ability of Christians to find any legal recourse to resist the unchristian and aggressive LGBT agenda.

But these ungodly men and women would never have had the power to do this were it not for the Court’s prior usurpation in claiming for itself the power of judicial review.

The Civil Rights Movement’s Attack on Property Rights

Of the three reasons for the success of the homosexual movement, probably the most controversial is to point out the role of the Civil Rights movement in paving the way for the explosion in LGBT friendly legislation in recent years.

The Civil Rights Movement was a mixed bag. To the extent that its supporters sought to overturn Jim Crow laws, they have the support of this author. But to the extent they attacked property rights they deserve to be rebuked.

The attack on property rights by the Civil Rights Movement was codified into law in Title II of The 1964 Civil Rights Act. This section of the Act drew an unbiblical distinction between types of property, one called places of public accommodation and another called private clubs. Specifically, it made it illegal to discriminate in places of public accommodation – places of public accommodation were defined, for example, as inns, restaurants, movie theaters – “on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

One could read the Scriptures from cover to cover and find no such distinction between places of public accommodation or private clubs. Private property is private property, regardless of whether it’s a home, a private club or a lunch counter in a drug store. And just as a home owner has the right to refuse to all someone in his house, so too does a business owner have the right to refuse to serve someone.

“So,” someone will say to me, “Matthews, by arguing this way you’re just an apologist for racism!” To which charge I would answer, “Not at all.” Racism is a sin. It is a failure to love our neighbor as ourselves.

But not all sins are crimes. Just look in the case law of the Old Testament. Some sins, theft for example, were crimes. We know this because theft, while being condemned in the 10 Commandments, which are the summary of the moral law, also had civil penalties attached to it in ancient Israel. It is the presence or absence of civil penalties that determine whether a specific sin is also a crime.

The Bible’s stance on private property is summed up in Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard. When the workers complain to the vineyard owner about their wages, he responds, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?”

The answer to this rhetorical question is, yes it is. And one implication of “doing what I wish with my own things” is that a business owner has the right to decide with whom he wishes to do business and with whom he does not. This includes making decisions with which we may disagree and which, in fact, may even be sinful. Ultimately, that’s between the businessman and God to whom he must give account.

So why do I bring up the errors of the Civil Rights Movement? Because the LGBT Movement has followed in its footsteps. For example, the homosexual activists have applied the principle of public accommodation to those who refuse services to LGBT persons. For example, there have been a number of Christian business owners in serious legal trouble for refusing to provide cakes, flowers, or wedding photography services for same-sex weddings. These cases occurred in states that have statues preventing business owners from discriminating against homosexuals in the same way the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, religion, or national origin.

Had the principle of “places of public accommodation” not been established in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, LGBT activists would not be in a position to force Christians to serve them.

Many veterans of the Civil Rights Movement have been shocked by the tactics of LGBT activists, who have appropriated the logic and methods of the Civil Rights Movement to promote the homosexual agenda.

For example, commenting on then President Obama’s use of 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march to advocate for same-sex marriage, Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors said, “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked. They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with the comparison.”

Admittedly it is shocking. But once the LGBT Movement was able to attach itself to the Civil Rights Movement, by force of logic all the laws enacted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act also apply to them. Hence the proliferation of state-level laws prohibiting business owners from denying service to someone based on his being a homosexual.

And don’t suppose that this is going to stop with traditional businesses either. For example, this 2017 story “Ohio LGBT Group Announces Plans to Target Churches for Homosexual Weddings” is a shot at Evangelicals, not just in Ohio, but across the nation. As the article explains, An LGBT organization in Ohio has announced plans to target churches if they refuse to offer their property to be used in a homosexual wedding. In opposing the Ohio Pastor Protection Act (HB-36), the group Equality Ohio announced that they would target churches, forcing them to rent church facilities to groups that oppose their beliefs.”

This is seriously dangerous stuff, and perhaps represents the biggest threat to religious freedom in the US today. Given the current legal climate, it is this author’s opinion that it is just a matter of time before we see such a case in court.

Had the “places of public accommodation” clause not been included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the threat posed by the LGBT Movement to the churches would be much less than it is today.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as a Christian I’m embarrassed at the current moral climate of our nation. And nothing highlights the current mess we’re in more than the stunning advance of the LGBT Movement over the past 50 years.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed that every year we’re enjoined to “celebrate Pride Month” as if sodomy were something to rejoice in. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that the leading institutions in my country not only do not stand up to the LGBT lie, but actually actively promote it. But perhaps most of all, I’m embarrassed that we Christians have been so ineffective in putting a stop to this nonsense.

Perhaps one of God’s purposes in allowing the stunning success of the LGBT agenda in the US is to chastise his people for their intellectual laziness and lack of faith. If so, may God grant us repentance as well as the knowledge of the truth and the wisdom and the courage to apply it to good effect.

In times past, God raised up Asa, Jehoshaphat and Josiah to put an end to the LGBT agenda in Israel. Has his arm been shorted that he cannot save today?

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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

Ruth and Naomi Leave Moab, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).

He [the Lord] pours contempt on princes, and disarms the mighty. He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people and of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man (Job 12-21-25).

 

“Many councils lack strategy for care of returning ISIS fighters’ children,” ran the Radio Sweden headline. Sigh. What shall I say to this?  When coming across an absurdity of this magnitude, I’m almost at a loss for words. Almost, but not quite.

In the article from what I take to be the official Swedish government radio outlet , we are informed earnestly, and one supposes sincerely, that there are grave concerns many areas of Sweden are ill-equipped to deal with problems faces by the families of returning ISIS fighters. Only Gothenburg, we are told, has a strategy in place for this.

Terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp states that about 65 women have returned to Sweden after spending time is ISIS controlled areas. Notably Ranstorp says nothing about the status of their husbands who presumably are the actual ISIS fighters.

Ranstrop goes on to note that boys as young as nine have been recruited as soldiers for ISIS, girls are considered marriageable at that same age, and that ISIS uses children as informants against their parents.

Of course, the most obvious question – Why on earth were such people ever allowed to settle in Sweden in the first place, let alone return there after fighting for ISIS? – is never asked. The only concern is how to care for the traumatized families, especially the children, who, based upon what was said in the article itself, may themselves by ISIS recruits.

This is madness.

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david-stockman

David Stockman

This time last week it was 75 degrees and sunny. Today? Well, let’s just icy roads and accidents made the morning commute a little more exciting than usual. How can the weather change so much in seven days?!

 

Well at least one thing hasn’t changed over the last week, and that’s the dicey state of the nation’s economy. With the stock market hitting records level, that may seem like an odd thing to say. But the economy is not the same things as the stock market.

In fact, the past several years have seen an almost inverse relationship take hold between the performance of the Dow Jones and S&P indices and important economic indicators. In a normal, rational economy, if corporate earnings decline or unemployment spikes signaling a economic slowdown, the stock market should decline.

But in today’s Keynesian casino markets, bad economic news is good news from the markets perspective. Why is this? It all has to do with the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy. You see, bad economic news means big money speculators believe the Fed will continue its policy of suppressing interest rates to near zero to stimulate economic growth. On the other hand, if the economy appears to be doing well, the market starts to think the Fed may hike interest rates, making stocks a less attractive opportunity. Thus the stock market goes down.

In short, it’s a stupid economy that rewards fraud and punishes success.

And after over eight years of stupidity such as near zero percent interest rates, we are now faced with simultaneous Fed created bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate, which will all at some point burst. And that leads me into today’s story…

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