Twitter has banned prominent Catholic media organization, Catholic World Report (CWR), for alleged “hateful conduct.”
The ban was for describing Joe Biden’s HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine as a “biological man.”
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The following tweet was posted by CWR journalist Matt Hadro in January:
“Biden plans to nominate Dr. Rachel Levine, a biological man identifying as a transgender woman who has served as Pennsylvania’s health secretary since 2017, to be HHS Assistant Secretary for Health.”
“Levine is also a supporter of the contraceptive mandate.”
After posting this, CWR received the following email from Twitter:
Your account, @cworldreport has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules.
Violating our rules against hateful conduct.
You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.
Please note that repeated violations may lead to a permanent suspension of your account. Proceed to Twitter now to fix the issue with your account.
Carl Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, suspects the description of Levine is what raised questions at Twitter. Requests seeking a more detailed explanation of the social media company’s objection have not been sufficiently answered, he said.
Cruxnow.com reports: Although the publication’s Twitter account has been locked, earlier tweets remain accessible.
Since receiving Twitter’s last correspondence Jan. 27, Catholic World Report‘s leaders are determining how to proceed.
“We want to get Twitter to be specific. That would be for us the starting point. By making this a news story, it’s our small way of exerting a little bit of pressure (on Twitter). But we want an answer to a very specific question about what’s hateful or harmful about this specific statement,” Olson explained.
Olson noted that the publication upholds church teaching on transgender identity and that it stands by the wording in the tweet in question. Removing the tweet is not being considered “at this time,” Olson said.
The Vatican in June 2019 released its first extensive statement on transgender identity. “Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Theory of Gender Theory in Education” calls for love and respect of all people, but rejects the idea that gender is distinct from biological sex. It said that a transgender identity seeks to “annihilate the concept of nature.”
“The Catholic Church teaching on these things is clear on the reality of male and female,” he said. “We’re trying to be sensitive to where people are at (today) … but it doesn’t mean we’re going to compromise.”
Olson expressed concern about what he described as “moving goalposts” in the social media world, where rules change constantly and users are unsure of what might be offensive or not on any given day.
“We don’t want to overreact, but we also don’t want to treat this as just nothing,” he said. “It requires a response, but we don’t want it to look like it’s storm troopers at the door.”
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