WASHINGTON – More than 50 executives, writers, and leading academics joined the Philadelphia Statement as public signatories Tuesday, adding their voices to an initial group of over 40 legal experts, religious leaders, and scholars who signed prior to the statement’s launch. Following its introduction Aug. 11, more than 15,000 individuals have signed the statement, affirming the necessity of free speech and civil discourse while denouncing cancel culture, hate-speech labeling, and other forms of ideological blacklisting.
Among the latest signatories are filmmaker, writer, and policy researcher Christopher F. Rufo and Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon.
“Satire has a rich American pedigree,” said Dillon. “It’s played a vital role in our political discourse ever since the Revolutionary War. But today, the freedom to write and share satire is in jeopardy. The censorship and ‘fact-checking’ encountered by The Babylon Bee has shown that an alarming number of cultural gatekeepers can’t take a joke. To shield themselves from criticism, they’ve disingenuously lumped us in with fake news and sought to suppress our satire on that basis. That’s why I signed the Philadelphia Statement—free speech isn’t just a government issue. In the face of cancel culture, it’s on every one of us to recommit to free speech for everyone, including those we with whom we disagree.”
New signatories from the academic world include Dr. Colleen A. Sheehan of Arizona State University, Professor William B. Allen of Michigan State University, Nicki Neily of Speech First, and Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of theology at Phoenix Seminary.
The signatory list also includes Young Americans for Liberty President Cliff Maloney, Summit Ministries President Jeff Myers, Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel, and We the Internet TV Head Writer and Producer Lou Perez.
“Free speech marked by truly open discourse and debate is essential to a diverse and thriving society,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Communications Jeremy Tedesco. “Amid increasingly visible threats to these principles, it is encouraging that so many Americans are lending their voice to protect the fundamental value of free speech. Free speech helps us learn to think critically and defend our own ideas while also cultivating tolerance and respect for those with whom we disagree. We’re committed to a better way forward that respects the timeless principles of freedom enshrined in the Constitution, and we invite our fellow Americans to join the growing movement to protect civil discourse and free speech.”
The Philadelphia Statement, named to recognize the pivotal role the city and the principles of free speech played in the founding of the United States, is a call to all Americans to preserve our freedom to disagree openly while committing to a shared future alongside those with whom we differ.
The statement identifies “cancel culture,” campus speech policing, and corporate “hate speech” policies as symptoms of a crisis in free expression. Quoting abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the statement warns, “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.”
ADF’s past and present presidents and CEOs joined the Philadelphia Statement as original signatories. They and the other signatories invite readers who agree that truly open discourse is essential to the health and flourishing of American society to sign the statement as well.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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