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Will the 'Disinformation Governance Board' censor religious viewpoints?

The Biden administration recently announced the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). The agency — which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — is purportedly being created to ensure the safety of Americans by stopping “false information that is deliberately spread with the intent to deceive or mislead.”

The draconian Ministry of Truth that was once a dystopian fantasy now appears to be a reality in our country. The Biden administration is giving power to a group of bureaucrats who will — without court oversight or electoral accountability — decide whether your speech, viewpoints and beliefs constitute “disinformation.”

If that weren’t ominous enough, think of it this way. The DGB sounds eerily similar to another three-initialed organization from the Soviet Union — the KGB — that was tasked with enforcing the official version of the truth. They ensured citizens were sticking to the government-approved script, and any who contradicted the state’s message would face harsh consequences.

Let’s make one thing clear: the formation of the DGB is a dangerous and unprecedented attack on the rights and freedoms of millions of Americans.

Government wielding enforcement authority to decide what is “true” or “false,” or what is “appropriate” or “inappropriate” should frighten us all. This is a far cry from the original intent of our nation’s Founders when they drafted the Constitution. The state having censorious power over the speech of Americans directly contradicts the First Amendment.

The DGB doesn’t just raise serious free speech questions. It also threatens to wreak havoc on another First Amendment freedom: religious liberty.

Will the government crack down on religious Americans who express views that run counter to the popular, modern orthodoxy? We cannot ignore the possibility of the Biden administration using this agency against those who hold traditional, religious beliefs.

People of faith must not be deceived. The prospects that the DGB will operate impartially and fairly are not promising.

The Biden administration has shown a particular disdain for beliefs of religious Americans, especially if they dare contradict and say things the administration doesn’t like. To that end, it has repeatedly used the alphabet soup of federal agencies to target and harass people of faith.

Recall when the Biden administration used the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce a nationwide vaccine mandate on companies with 100 or more employees. The OSHA vaccine mandate was a massive power grab that threatened the freedom of millions of people of faith in the workplace. This would have forced religious employers and organizations to violate the rights and conscience of their employees.

Earlier this year, reports surfaced about the Biden administration mobilizing at least 19 federal agencies — including five cabinet level agencies — to compile lists and keep track of Americans with religious objections to the vaccine mandate. If history offers any indication, it’s incredibly dangerous for the government to have a list of religious citizens at its disposal.

The Department of Defense vaccine mandate also forced thousands of service members to choose between their religious faith or serving their country. Right now, First Liberty continues to fight on behalf of dozens of U.S. Navy SEALs and thousands of service members in the Navy who are being threatened with career-ending punishment for seeking a legal, religious accommodation. Because of the Biden administration’s punitive approach, religious service members are being denied advancement and deployment opportunities. In some cases, our warriors have even been denied medical care.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also been used to curtail religious freedom. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has already revoked important several religious liberty protections, and there are forthcoming changes to this department’s policies that could further harm faith-based foster care and adoption agencies, religious employers, charities, universities, schools, hospitals and healthcare professionals.

The Biden administration’s record so far is clear. It has wielded and abused the power of the federal government to put religious Americans in the crosshairs. What hope is there that it will not use the DGB to do the same?

There’s little to convince us Biden’s Ministry of Truth will restrain itself from suppressing, silencing and going after religious Americans.

We must remember something very important. Nations that were once free but sadly descended into tyranny share a common characteristic: government becoming the ultimate arbiter of speech.

On the Road to Tyranny, political elites grab power and dictate to citizens what they are allowed or not allowed to say, what ideas are permissible to be shared, what language, speech, books and even what religions are appropriate or inappropriate for public viewing.

Call it what you will: Speech codes, a language enforcement task force or the Ministry of Truth, all these boil down to bringing free citizens under the control and authority of a political ideology. In this radical worldview, government replaces God as the source of truth.

A disturbing and Orwellian oversight board like the DGB has no place in our country. It should be disbanded. It runs afoul to America’s values and principles. Handing immense censorship power to a select few bureaucrats is not the best way to counter lies and falsehoods. Government staying out of the way and allowing Americans to freely engage in more speech — not less — is a much better prescription.

Originally published at First Liberty. 

Jorge Gomez is the Content Strategist and Senior Writer for First Liberty Institute. He has previously worked as a communications and messaging strategist for faith-based nonprofits and conservative policy organizations. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in public policy from Liberty University.

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