Bank of America shut down all the bank accounts associated with The Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. Pastor Steven Anderson spoke out in a YouTube video. All accounts associated with his ministry have been frozen without notice. “We can’t even get our money out,” exclaimed Pastor Anderson. “We can’t even walk into the bank and withdraw our money they just froze everything, shut everything down.”
Pastor Anderson has not violated any policies published by Bank of America. In the coming weeks the bank plans to mail Pastor Anderson a cashier’s check for the current balance in the church’s accounts. In the meantime, the church cannot organize, pay bills, or give in any charitable way. Bank of America has given no official explanation for “de-banking” the church. The church has not been accused of money laundering or violating the Patriot Act. They have simply been denied services.
Pastor Andersen believes that Bank of America is “persecuting” the church and those of Christian faith. Regardless of the bank’s abrupt decision, Pastor Andersen is not deterred. He says, “We’re not slowing down at all. Everything’s going full speed ahead at Faithful Word Baptist Church.”
There is great reason to believe that Pastor Andersen was denied services at Bank of America because of his fundamentalist teachings on homosexuality. Many in the LGBT community strictly oppose the Christian message on homosexuality and believe that it is “hate speech.” Social media giants use “hate speech” policies to shut down accounts that are not in agreement with the LGBT community. Facebook and Twitter have shut down user accounts because they violated “community standards” regarding so-called “hateful content.” Are the Big Banks adopting the same kind of “hate speech” policies that cow-tow to the LGBT speech control police? If so, then they should come clean with a new policy stating their war against Christianity.
The Southern Poverty Law Center publishes a list of more than 950 organizations that allegedly engage in “hate speech” against immigrants, Islam, and homosexuality. The SPLC is currently working with PayPal, Amazon Smile, and other financial institutions to deny online money transfer services to individuals who commit “hate speech.” Is Bank of America following in the same path?
Christian conservatives are slowly being gagged online and forced to denounce their beliefs in order to participate in today’s society. “Hate speech” policies target Christian conservatives when they speak about their beliefs or minister to people. If Christian speech is found to be “offensive” to the LGBT community, Christians can now be de-platformed on social media, shadow-banned, or denied financial services. This is the segregated America we now live in, where espousing Conservative Christian beliefs can automatically exclude you from being able to participate in society and American democracy.
It’s not just Christian beliefs that are being blacklisted. “Offensive” truths are blacklisted, from WikiLeaks to Infowars. Conservative commentator Gavin McInnes, conservative activist Tommy Robinson and investigative journalist Laura Loomer have all been blocked from using PayPal. Are we entering an age where people are forced to think the same way in order to conduct financial transactions?
Social media companies and financial institutions are being encouraged to tackle “hate.” Apple CEO Tim Cook brought home some “Courage Against Hate” award at a New York gala sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. Cook postured, “We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.”
Preventing violence is a virtuous endeavor, but the problem is that one group’s definition of “hate” is being used to censor individuals and groups that they don’t agree with or like. This virtue signaling unjustly targets specific beliefs, stifling an individual’s online speech, restricting organic influence, and stopping business transactions.
The real hate emanates from those who force compliance to particular ideas. The law should uphold the right of the individual to speak freely, minister to others, and engage in commerce without even the slightest fear they will be denied services from politically-motivated banks and technology companies.