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Social media being weaponized against religious freedom, Archbishop Cordileone argues

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Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone receiving the gifts during Mass in 2021. / Dennis Callahan/Archdiocese of San Francisco

Washington D.C., Aug 13, 2021 / 13:01 pm (CNA).

The archbishop of San Francisco has warned of the use of social media to promote a “new kind of fundamentalism” hostile to religious freedom, in an Aug. 12 op-ed.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, together with the president of the Christian group Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday on “Social Media’s Threat to Religious Freedom.”

They warned that current efforts to promote a liberalization of sexual mores are using social media in a coercive manner, not a tolerant manner.

“Today’s sexual politics function as a new kind of fundamentalism, one that presents a deep problem to a diverse and democratic society,” they stated, noting that “social media enables the new fundamentalism, enforced by the mysterious rules of Big Tech’s quasimonopoly.”

“Instead of encouraging the dialogue of democratic process, the fundamentalists seek to impose their own rigid certitude unilaterally,” they wrote. “The result isn’t a more compassionate and liberal society; it’s a more punitive one.”

Archbishop Cordileone and Daly both pointed to the alleged removal of a Presbyterian minister’s Aug. 7 talk from YouTube. Carl Trueman, a minister and professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College, had delivered talks on cultural attitudes towards sex, addressed to the Sacramento Gospel Conference.

His talk on “American cultural attitudes toward sex through the lens of classic Christian thought” was supposed to be live-streamed on the YouTube channel of Immanuel Baptist Church. However, the live-stream was twice interrupted, Cordileone and Daly said; once due to a possible copyright infringement from a song played at the conference, and second due to a “content violation.”

“Neither Mr. Trueman nor Immanuel Baptist has been told” how the video was removed, or what the “alleged content violation” was, the op-ed noted.

CNA reached out to Google, which owns YouTube, for confirmation of the allegations in the op-ed. Google did not immediately respond to CNA’s inquiry on Friday.

After publication of the story, Pastor Steve Meister of Immanuel Baptist Church in Sacramento told CNA Friday evening that the the allegation made in the op-ed was accurate. The livestream of Trueman’s remarks was stopped twice, for the reasons detailed in the op-ed, he said.

He added that “we have not been told what the [content] violation was by YouTube, specifically.”

Trueman authored the book ‘The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self’ and was recently a keynote speaker at the 2021 Napa Institute.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register published on July 29, he discussed the contributions of several historical figures – including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx – to today’s culture wars.

“The psychologizing of the self is always ultimately going to collide with any notion of external authority,” he said, giving “transgenderism” as an example of a belief that “collides with the external authority of the body.”

“But any other institution — the Church, the nation, the family — anything that demands that the individual change or shift is going to be problematic,” he noted.

This story was updated the evening of August 13.


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