Faith

His Life-Affirming Post Was Banned, Says Republican Candidate for Circuit Court Judge

LifeZette spoke to a jurist who tried to spread the story of his miraculous nephew — only to be shut down by Facebook as 'inappropriate'

Image Credit: Facebook, McDonough For Judge

About a week ago, social media giant Facebook dropped a whopping 20 percent in market value.

At the same time, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a $15.4 billion hit to his net worth.

Public adulation, it seems, is souring on Zuckerberg’s tech empire, based in Menlo Park, California.

Most recently, it rejected an uplifting video with a subtle pro-life message, calling it “shocking,” “disrespectful,” and/or “sensational” under the social media giant’s controversial ad approval system, as 97.1 Talk Radio and other outlets reported.

The video ad highlights the judicial campaign of Chris McDonough, a municipal court judge and a Republican candidate running for circuit court judge in St. Charles County, Missouri.

It also features McDonough’s nephew, Albert, a beautiful little boy living with a severe birth defect — and triumphing, day by day. ( Albert and his family are shown in the photo at the top of this article.)

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Our First Unalienable Right.

In my family, we’ve had some very personal experiences that have made me appreciate firsthand how precious and fragile the gift of human life is. The most recent was the birth of our nephew, Albert. He is a miracle. This is his story. This is a story about life, our first unalienable right.

Posted by McDonough for Judge on Sunday, July 29, 2018

Albert was prenatally diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a rare condition that can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties.

His parents were told he had only about a 25 percent chance of survival.

The child is defying the odds. 

And for some reason, Facebook finds his life-affirming story offensive.

“Oftentimes, parents given this type of diagnosis are [told about] the option of termination. But Albert was always our child. He was never a choice,” the boy’s mother said in the video that Facebook banned.

The video shows images of infant Albert in intensive care, followed by footage of candidate McDonough playing with his nephew — a happy little boy.

“Our brother-in-law Chris McDonough was one of the biggest supporters and one of the most special people on our journey, always telling us how things would work out in the end, to keep plugging forward, making us laugh all along the way, and now is perhaps one of Albert’s favorite people in the world,” added Albert’s mom.

It’s unclear why the judge’s ad was blocked.

LifeZette reached out to Facebook via email, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

What is clear as day, though, is Facebook’s apparent aim to selectively moralize.

“For my family and me, this is about a lot more than just my race for St. Charles County, Missouri Circuit Judge,” Judge McDonough told LifeZette via email. “If calling attention to Facebook’s censorship of pro-life messages helps us reach even one person, touch even one heart, and give even one child a chance to live, we’ve succeeded.”

The judge added, “I’ve always been pro-life. It’s how I was raised. It’s part of my faith. My family and I have had some very personal experiences that have solidified my pro-life views and made me appreciate just how beautiful, fragile, and sacred the gift of human life really is.”

Through the years, Judge McDonough’s faith has been tried and tested.

As a newly married couple, he and his wife, Robin, experienced the loss of their unborn child, he shared with LifeZette. His sister suffered from ovarian cancer but then miraculously was able to conceive again.

“Our ad does not attack anyone. It’s not an in-your-face message. It’s just a real-life account of what can be when life — our first unalienable right — is given a chance.”

And then there was Albert.

“His story, our family’s story, is one of love, hope and life,” explained McDonough. “Anyone on the fence about whether they’re pro-life, or not, should spend some time in an intensive care unit and see babies like Albert who are doing one thing — fighting to live.”

“Our ad does not attack anyone,” he added. “It’s not an in-your-face message. It’s just a real-life account of what can be when life — our first unalienable right — is given a chance.”

In the meantime, McDonough’s campaign appealed Facebook’s decision to block the ad, but “the appeal was, not surprisingly, summarily denied,” noted the judge. 

”Facebook has not reached out.”

“It’s outrageous and frightening that Facebook would engage in such patent censorship,” Laurie Higgins, a cultural issues writer for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) in Tinley Park, Illinois, told LifeZette.

“It’s also one more piece of evidence that ‘progressives’ are hypocrites,” Higgins continued. ‘Progressives’ working in industries that control the flow of information, like social media and the press, as well as in the arts and government-controlled education, censor ideas with which they disagree, with wild abandon.”

“Private companies are entitled to discriminate based on what they view as censor-worthy content,” Higgins continued, “but one would think those institutions committed to the free and fair exchange of ideas would take more seriously the values embodied in the First Amendment.”

Related: Facebook ‘Un-Friends’ Conservatives

Earlier this week, an ad for IFI, the organization for which Higgins writes, was also declined by Facebook for being offensive.

“We appealed that decision and were sent a message that our ad had been reviewed and approved,” Higgins said. “Shortly thereafter, we received another message saying it had been declined again.”

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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