Craig L. Parshall wrote a pseudo-intellectual histrionic screed for the National Religious Broadcasters today comparing Apple nixing Exodus International’s “ex-gay” app to the sinking of the Titanic. Incredible Pinocchio-like exaggerations and heaps of hyperbole are the norm for special interest groups that represent intolerant sects of Christianity. Amusingly, the fundies are so petrified of losing their cherished right to dump on gays, that they are studying the trumped up, War on Christmas-like fake issue:
Here at NRB we are so concerned about potential anti-Christian censorship over new media platforms that we formed the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech.
In other words, NRB is organizing campaigns to bully private enterprise into accepting bigoted products that violate the consciences of fair-minded business owners.
If there is one group that is not suffering from a lack of “free speech” it’s religious extremists. I know because I was just on a 12-state speaking tour and I noticed something. One could be in the middle of nowhere — on a moonscape highway — and pick up two things on the radio: banjos and hate spewing preachers. So, rest assured, the vacuous and vicious voices represented in darker corners of religious broadcasting are being heard loud and clear.
Indeed, one can easily make the case that NRB — given the ubiquity of religious radio and television stations — has significantly greater opportunities to disseminate messages than average Americans do. However, since they think they are superior to non-believers and mainstream Christians — such a wide national reach will not sate their carnivorous appetite. They want dominion over all media platforms and will stop at nothing to ensure they control the airwaves.
What struck me in Parshall’s article is his remarkable arrogance and cloying sense of entitlement. He essentially demanded special rights and unadulterated freedom for fundamentalist businesses, while imposing onerous, anti-business rules governing secular ones.
In a self-serving manner, Parshall states that the industry he represents is not subject to government intervention — while companies like Apple are:
Of course, some will raise a query concerning the fact that Apple and other private communications platforms, like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, web search engines like Google and Bing, and big Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, are all private commercial entities. The question, then, is whether that fact alone should allow them the license to discriminate against certain content simply because it contains a Christian viewpoint. I would strongly suggest that it does not.
Unlike newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites, or TV and radio stations for that matter (activities that qualify for the Founders’ First Amendment vision of “freedom of the press”), the communication companies I listed above are not in the business of providing, themselves, editorial content, viewpoints, opinions, news, or information. Instead, they simply provide a technological platform (for a fee) that enables American citizens to exercise their free speech rights.
First, it is clear that Apple does not discriminate against the Christian viewpoint. Jeremy Hooper of the blog Good As You looked at the app store and found a plethora of Christian apps. Jeremy rightfully concludes:
Nine pages of Christian apps (as of 1/10/11). And there’s certainly other search criteria (“God”, “faith,” “religion”, etc.) that would turn up even more Biblical hits, if we took the time.
So it aint anti-Christian bias that caused the app to be pulled: It’s one business’ concern about a scientifically discredited movement that quite undeniably works to stigmatize and delegitimize millions of people! The “ex-gay” backers have every right to make their case in regards to the apps merits. They have every right to boycott all things with a little “i” in front of them. But the iTunes store as “anti-Christian”? It’s empirically false!
Second, it was fascinating to watch the intellectual dishonesty of Parshall — when he declared Internet based companies “platforms” and the television and radio stations represented by NRB to be creators of “editorial content.” Apple did make an editorial statement when it exercised its First Amendment right to distance itself from region-based bigotry.
Furthermore, microphones and television cameras do not create content, viewpoints or opinions on their own. Like Apple’s iStore, this technology is a also platform. It is the human beings that speak into the microphones and look into the cameras that create the content.
So, if Apple’s app store is nothing but a “platform”, than Pat Robertson’s 700 Club television studio is also just a platform waiting for faces and voices to fill the airwaves. And, if this is the case, I want a to do a show and express my opinions by hosting the 700 Club.
What? I can’t use this platform to discuss Truth Wins Out?
Censorship! The Titanic! The end of free speech!
The point is, groups like the NRB have no interest in fairness, justice or free speech. They carry the yoke of fundamentalism and feel compelled to do whatever it takes to gain the upper hand so they can proselytize — even if this means pretending they suddenly care about diversity of viewpoints and equal access, when they have no problem excluding LGBT people from virtually every aspect of life.
I’m pleased that the Apple debate revealed the rift between social conservatives — who want to dictate their views to the marketplace — and business conservatives who still believe entrepreneurs have a right to choose their own products.