What is Net Neutrality / Open Internet?
Net neutrality is the idea that all data on the Internet should be treated equally. It protects the Internet as an open and democratic space. The open Internet is consistent with core values of freedom and equality that matter to people of diverse faith and moral traditions. Moreover, America’s faith groups need the open Internet in order to operate, innovate, connect with and serve their communities.
In February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the Open Internet Order to enact strong net neutrality protections. Today, Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot block or slow down sites at their discretion. Nor can they charge websites for a faster connection to their users, i.e. creating online “fast lanes.”
Faith and justice leaders overwhelmingly celebrate the Open Internet Order as a win for all communities. Now our job is to help defend the victory. Learn more below.
Featured Faithful Internet Resources
Why 12 Top Religious Leaders are Proud to Support Net Neutrality – The Open Internet Order has gone into effect — protecting what faith leaders are calling the “fundamental right” of Internet freedom…
Save the Internet: 12 Faith Voices You Should Hear – For many in the faith and interfaith world, the Internet has become the prophetic platform of the twenty-first century. Yet even as the Open Internet Order becomes law today, major carriers are threatening to override it through action in Congress and the courts…
5 Reasons the Future of Faith Depends on the Open Internet – As a Christian and Sikh, we are celebrating the Open Internet Order, because the communities we serve cannot flourish today without an open and free Internet. The order codifies principles that have governed the Internet in the U.S. for decades. It keeps the Internet an open space for free speech, including religious expression…
The Open Internet Order Becomes Law: Why Faith Leaders are Celebrating – Today, after more than a year of national debate, the Open Internet Order goes into effect. The Order keeps the Internet an open and democratic space free from undue corporate control. Business leaders, start-up innovators, and economists widely praise the Order as win for the economic growth.
Why I Support the Open Internet as a Sikh Activist – As a Sikh American in my twenties, I have used social media to share my life and news with friends and family since I was a girl. But after the Oak Creek tragedy, I saw how the open Internet also empowers communities like mine to tell our stories and organize for social change…
God in the Machine: The Role of Religion in Net Neutrality Debates – the public movement to protect a free and open Internet is approaching a critical moment this week: on February 26, the Federal Communications Commission will vote whether to pass strong rules against corporate control of the Internet…
An open Internet, for God’s sake! – This week, a handful of Republicans will hold hearings on the Hill to challenge new federal rules protecting the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified providers who connect us to the Internet as common carriers and adopted strong rules banning them from blocking or slowing down sites and charging access fees…
State of Belief Radio (Net Neutrality for Nonprofits) – In a time when many traditional religious communities have to innovate in order to reach new generations, a free and open Internet – the kind that the FCC has voted to protect – is essential for us to run our houses of worship effectively and remain relevant in the 21st century…
The Intersection of Faith and an Open Internet
10 Reasons Net Neutrality Matters to Progressive Christians Our by Kimberly Knight from the UCC Office of Communications (OC Inc.) – “We as compassionate livin’, justice seekin’, radically inclusive Christians can be, should be, role models for the whole world groaning toward justice. … We cannot condone a system that conditions a critical right on the ability to pay.”
Killing Net Neutrality Kills the Dreams of Young Entrepreneurs by Joshua DuBois – The President’s former head of faith-based outreach, connecting Net Neutrality to Obama’s signature initiatives on equity–showing a young African American boy who is helped in so many ways by progressive policies, but is forced to abandon creating his own start-up because he can’t compete with the big companies who have a built-in advantage enabled by the paid fast lane.
Life in the Fast Lane: FCC Plan on Net Neutrality Draws Criticism by Mark Pattison from the Catholic News Service – “Everyone, at some point, has shifted over from one Communion line to another during Mass because it seemed shorter and, thus, faster. Now imagine what it would be like if you could always have a ‘fast lane’ to receive Communion — but you had to pay for it.”
National Council of Churches Communications Commission Open Internet Resolution – The NCC is a coalition of virtually all major Protestant churches: “We see every day the vital connection between a free and fair communications system and the achievement of important social justice goals… and therefore … urge the Federal Communications Commission to take any and all action to adopt network neutrality, including reclassification of broadband services as a telecommunications service, as a fundamental and necessary part of the framework for all forms of broadband Internet service…”
An open Internet: It’s not just for computers anymore by Mark Pattison from the Catholic News Service – One of the major tenets of net neutrality — short for “network neutrality” — is treating all Internet traffic the same, a principle many Catholic and other faith groups support because it means churches and religious groups have equal access to a mass medium to communicate their messages.
The United Church Of Christ And Net Neutrality: Why The UCC Is Fighting For A Free And Open Internet by Yasmine Hafiz – “We at the UCC know what it is like not to have our voice accepted in the media. Many years ago, when [the UCC] tried to buy advertising time on television welcoming gay couples, we were rejected. We don’t want that to happen to the Internet.”
Fourteen Major Faith Groups Support Full Net Neutrality – “Strong net neutrality protections are critical to the faith community to function and connect with our members, essential to protect and enhance the ability of vulnerable communities to use advanced technology, and necessary for any organization that seeks to organize, advocate for justice or bear witness in the crowded and over-commercialized media environment.”
The Intersection of Civil Rights and an Open Internet
The Civil Rights Fight of the Information Age by Laura W. Murphy from the ACLU – “Net neutrality is a civil rights issue. While we often stress the important First Amendment and free speech issues tied to strong “open internet” or “net neutrality” protections, we have spent less time discussing how crucial these protections are to minority and low income communities.”
Why LGBT Communities and Our Allies Should Care about Net Neutrality =”There are 2 main reasons that marginalized communities, including LGBT people, use the Internet more than the typical U.S. citizen: 1) we are able to go online and connect to people we identify with, without having to battle the stigma and potential physical threat that comes with accessing LGBT-supportive physical spaces and 2) we are able to access services and information specifically for us—from dating sites to health information—tailored to our needs…not just a clumsy version of what’s made available to our heterosexual peers.”
Thank You, Black Internet, for Bringing #Ferguson to Me by Malkia A. Cyril -“The open Internet is a critical battleground where Black communities can connect across geographic lines, fight media misrepresentation, and oppose the police violence we find in every city, in our own voices.”
Corporate Buyout: Why Legacy Civil Rights Groups Are on the Wrong Side of History by Rashad Robinson – “How did it come to this, when the NAACP, Urban League and other legacy civil rights groups are actually propping up Republican leadership in their efforts to tear down President Obama? It’s like an alternative universe where stalwarts in the fight to amplify the voices of the powerless are now kowtowing to the corporations that wish to silence us…”
Public Comments to the FCC
I’ve learned about how a Black girl the same age as me grew up being drawn to the same creative works and cultural phenomena (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.), but hada radically different experience as a fan because all of these works were about White people, while people like her were rarely, if ever, portrayed at all, much less as protagonists; I’ve learned that while our core doctrines are at odds with each other, I share a great deal in common with an Islamic girl than I ever thought I would as a Christian male, and that her identity as she chose to present it online was far, far different than the caricature I’ve received of Muslims from mainstream news and entertainment media; I’ve learned that I am able to relate to and understand someone who identifies themselves as gay, or a transwoman, or asexual, and connect with them on an interpersonal level that I don’t think would ever have happened if I had been forced to rely solely upon my daily offline experiences and interactions with others.
As a user who already suffers slow internet due to geography and income, I say that keeping the internet an equal opportunity environment is essential to the proliferation of the thing itself. If some users benefit from a change that causes many to suffer then it is a step in the wrong direction. It would be easy to say that this proposal is a shameless grab for wealth and power, but I choose to say what is difficult: there is a critical moment coming; one that will be of vital importance to the human race for all time to come, and there are individuals in a position to raise up humanity to a height inconceivable. However, those individuals are also in a position to drive a wedge between themselves and the remainder of humanity permanently, not unlike the morlocks of Wells’ dystopia. Choose the righteous path. Choose the path that leads to a strong, unified humankind. Thank you.