Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that despite the fact that many Christians find Dave Chappelle's comedy repulsive, how liberals respond to his Netflix special has significant implications for Christians and the fate of religious liberty.
Because Chappelle agrees with author J.K. Rowling that there are actual distinctions between biological and transsexual women, LGBT activists have asked Netflix to remove his program.
In 2020, Rowling said on Twitter, "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased."
Chappelle reportedly declared in his TV-MA special "The Closer" that he is a member of "Team TERF" (trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
"I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact," Christian Headlines quoted him as saying."
"Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact," he added.
Consequently, even Netflix's own workers have called on the streaming service to cancel the special after being pressured by directors, performers, and others.
In response to this incident, Mohler said on his podcast The Briefing that although he does not applaud Chappelle's comedy or the "very rough language" used in the program, Christians should nevertheless pay attention to the arguments presented against Chappelle.
"LGBTQ+ activists ... have largely pressed the advance of the LGBTQ revolution in society by arguing that saying anything negative, saying anything critical at all, denying any one of this very radical claims of the LGBTQ movement is to cause harm," Mohler explained. "They've largely sold that argument to a generation of younger Americans for whom that has become an inflexible principle. But let's note that principle does shut down speech."
Rowling and Chappelle, according to Mohler, "may be big enough" to stand up to the cancel culture. But there are some who are not.
"And here's where Christians need to understand," he said. "The argument about harm isn't intended just to shut down comedians, even off-color comedians. It's not intended just to shut down the voices of major professional athletes like Martina Navratilova. It's not just to shut down corporate speech and bring just about every power in our society to heal."
Martina Navratilova apologized last year, according to an NBC News report, for her contentious remarks calling transgender athletes "cheats," which prompted Athlete Ally, an LGBTQ sports organization, to cut ties with the tennis legend.
According to Mohler, this social attitude will also have an impact on what's taught in private religious schools, colleges, and universities, as well as what's preached in Evangelical churches.
"The argument of language and message as harm is not just going to be directed against prominent comedians, or for that matter, non-prominent comedians," he continued. "It's going to be directed at every single Christian, particularly at the Christian church and the pulpit of that church. And that means that oddly enough, this isn't just a controversy about comedy or even just a controversy about free speech. You can understand this is a religious liberty matter as well."