Churches, mosques say offering broadband net access is a moral obligation, advocate forced wealth redistribution
Jesus said that the poor would always be with us—but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to bring them broadband. A coalition of Christian churches and the Islamic Society of North America has launched a new campaign to bring broadband to everyone in the US so that “our poorest communities, our rural areas, our public libraries, our public schools, and community centers” benefit from the communications revolution that the Internet hath wrought.
The “Bring Betty Broadband” campaign casts the broadband debate in moral terms. It’s about the “right to disseminate and receive information,” it’s a “right that helps to define ourselves as human beings and political actors,” and it’s absolutely essential for everyone in a modern society.
In addition, in the modern economy, just distribution of access to communication and information is essential to promote economic justice,” says the group. “Increasingly in the United States, the fundamental right to communicate is meaningless without high speed Internet access.”
The joint effort is part of a media reform project called “So We Might See,” and it’s spearheaded by the United Church of Christ. It has also been endorsed by the National Council of Churches, the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, the United Methodists, the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Lutherans (ELCA), and the Islamic Society of North America.
The groups all believe that the government has a role to play in this process, especially with more than $7 billion in broadband stimulus money on the table. “For too long,” they say, “the process of reaching out and educating traditionally disenfranchised communities has been left to volunteer efforts and the philanthropic community alone. Increasing access doesn’t just assist the people who are helped, we all benefit. Just as the value of a telephone increases when we can reach more people by using it, the value of the Internet for all of us increases when we are all connected.”
But, recognizing that many people without broadband don’t currently see its utility, the coalition asks the government “to promote digital inclusion initiatives to stimulate broadband demand and ensure that all US residents have access to the digital skills and equipment necessary to take advantage of the Internet’s enormous potential benefits. For example, establishment of local and national digital inclusion councils could work with other agencies and programs to promote digital inclusion principles in the fulfillment of their missions. Media literacy curriculum for secondary schools should be established, along with technology literacy and digital media production.”
Churchs promoting theft and redistribution of wealth. Fun. It would seem to me the moral question here is whether it’s moral and socially legitimate to steal from Peter to give to Paul. I’d say no… as I’d suspect our Christian anarchist friends would too.
Someone in the comments of the article accused libertarians and freedom advocates of wanting to keep everyone in a third world like situation. I was compelled to leave a snarky comment.