“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” – John 15:18
Persecution against Christianity was anticipated at the onset of Christ’s ministry. In fact, it has always existed, even during the times of Moses and the other Jewish leaders. Religion, in general, is a very sensitive and controversial topic regardless of who you decide to follow. One of the greatest forms of social interaction and public opinion is the social media platform, Twitter. Is it Twitter’s job to protect the religious rights of Christians, or do we use it as an opportunity to share the Gospel? This is an important question we must address.
“They Hated Me, They Will Hate You”
This passage of scripture from the Gospel of John are the words of Jesus. It is better put into perspective if we read this line in context with its surrounding comments. Christ was speaking about hatred of the world, with the “world” being the worldly system and those that do not acknowledge nor believe in God.
This is exactly the “world” that hates the teaching of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus was hated, so are his followers – because they belong to Him. This is reflected in the religious persecution of Christians we are currently witnessing all around the world.
“This is My command to you: Love one another. If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.
Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well.” – John 15:17-20
Unfortunately, this is exactly the way we see the world progressing at this moment, especially as we see the biggest decline in religion in the United States in recent years. We also see this decline throughout the industrialized world such as in the UK, Canada and much of Europe.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” – 1 John 2:19
Twitter Banning Accounts Using Hate Speech
In an effort to ban hate speech, harassment, and persecution based on religion, Twitter announced this week that it is removing tweets that feature “dehumanizing” language toward religious groups.
Religious Persecution on Twitter
The following are four examples that business insider captured on Twitter of hate speech towards religious groups. Business insider, to further avoid insulting the targeted groups, purposely did not identify which group was named in the tweet and replaced the name with [religious group].
“We don’t want more [religious group] in this country. Enough is enough with those MAGGOTS!”
“[Religious group] should be punished. We are not doing enough to rid us of those filthy animals.
“We need to exterminate the rats. The [religious group] are disgusting.”
“[Religious group] are viruses. They are making this country sick.”
One can readily imagine that many of the tweets are far worse. Business Insider probably gave us some of the more palatable tweets, those that did not contain expletives or explicitly graphic comments.
Policing, Bias, And Censorship
Even with the new ban in place, Twitter will still have a difficult line to walk that could prove to be a bit of a tightrope, as they try to balance between tweet removal that is justified and censorship.
Twitter, like other social media platforms, has faced its share of backlash for alleged censorship and anti-conservative bias over the past year.
The Twitter announcement, coincidentally, occurred on the same day when prominent conservatives were meeting for a “Presidential Social Media Summit” to discuss conservative-bias they allege they have experienced on social media platforms.