Today, the Open Internet Order becomes effective. Adopted after a year of national debate, the order codifies “net neutrality” — the principle that keeps the Internet an open and democratic space. Specifically, it bans carriers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking and slowing down websites at will, or charging sites extra fees to reach people faster.
Why are Americans of all faiths and beliefs celebrating? If carriers created “fast lanes” online, most faith and non-profit groups could not afford to be in them. Slower connection speed — even by 100 milliseconds — causes people to click away. Left behind in the slow lane, it would be much harder for people to reach their websites to connect, worship, innovate, and organize. Moreover, if carriers had the power to block websites with which they disagreed, some groups would not have a voice at all.
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. That’s why Faithful Internet is amplifying the voices of faith and justice leaders on the issue.
Read on to hear from 12 of the nation’s top faith and moral leaders as they call on us to protect the open Internet for the future of religious and spiritual life and interfaith action in America.
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“Right now, the web is a place where all Americans have an equal voice, regardless of color, economic status, or beliefs, and we need to keep it that way. An open Internet is vital for our organizing efforts in social justice — here in North Carolina and around the country.
“I’m calling on people of faith, and people not of faith, to send a message to our federal government to support net neutrality. Let your voice be heard.”
— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina and President of the North Carolina NAACP
“My Christian faith teaches that we are to go to the edges of our society and hear the stories of those who are left out of our economy and outside our care. Once we have heard the stories, we are required to share them far and wide.
“Only through an open and free Internet can we even begin to do this work. Net neutrality is the way we keep the twenty-first century commons open to all engaged in the democratic process. It is the key way that ‘We the People’ can do the hard work of democracy. Protect it!”
— Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, the Catholic social justice lobby and organizer of the national “Nuns on the Bus” tour
Read the full piece at FaithStreet.