Back in March, Twitter suspended the account of the massively popular Christian satire site The Babylon Bee after it awarded "Man of the Year" honors to Rachel Levine, a trans woman serving in the Biden administration's Department of Health and Human Services and who had been named one of USA Today's "Women of the Year."
The Babylon Bee's editor in chief, Kyle Mann, says that the offending article was intended to satirize media treatment of identity politics, not demean trans people. "We love trans people," he tells Reason. "We don't consider people like that beneath us. You know, the Christian worldview is that everybody has the opportunity to be saved and we can love everybody. I'm no more deserving of God's grace than a transgender person is. But when the culture bows down and starts handing out trophies to people for stuff like this is when we say, 'Hey, wait a minute, you know, we need to protect women in our society as well.'"
The Babylon Bee's Twitter account remains locked because the publication refuses to delete the tweet and acknowledge that it contravened Twitter's policy against hate speech. In response to the Twitter ban and persistent demonetization and minimizing of the reach of its content on Facebook, The Babylon Bee has created its own social network and subscription model, both of which are flourishing. The episode shines a light on how contemporary culture wars are waged online and illustrates the specific travails that evangelical Christians face in a country that is increasingly secular and socially liberal.
Reason's Nick Gillespie caught up with Mann at FreedomFest, an annual gathering in Las Vegas, to talk about why he loves making fun of Donald Trump and Joe Biden but saves his deepest burns for mega-church pastors such as Joel Osteen; why he believes that the left—and Gen Z—can't deal with humor that makes fun of them; and why he loves "personal liberty and personal freedom" even if it creates a culture that is deeply hostile to his faith.
Interview by Nick Gillespie; video by Regan Taylor and Adam Czarnecki. Camera by Noor Greene.
Photo Credits: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Hequals2henry, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Justin Brackett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; ToBeDaniel at Italian Wikipedia., CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Music Credits: "Francesco DAndrea," by My New Cadillac, via Artlist.