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Christian Conference Cuts Antifa Critic From Its Lineup of Speakers

andy ngo
Sources: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons, Facebook.

Andy Ngo, a self-described “independent journalist and photographer who covers antifa and the far-left,” has been disinvited from the annual conference put on by evangelical Christian group Q Ideas. Conference organizers have stated that the reason for their decision was due neither to outside pressure nor to the controversial nature of Ngo’s topic.

“Our decision to not move forward with the conversation we had planned for Unmasked author, Andy Ngo, was made by our team using the same process we’ve implemented dozens of times over the years,” said conference organizers in a statement on their website. “We were not successful in booking an acceptable alternative voice that would present the other side of the conversation—specifically, detailing the tactics and motivations of the alt-right. Based on that factor, we decided we could not host a well-balanced conversation on this topic at this time.”

Ngo writes extensively on antifa, which is short for “anti-fascist,” and has also written a book called, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.” The Q conference organizers told Religion News Service (RNS) they had asked Ngo to give a talk called “What Is Fascism?”

Andy Ngo Responds to Being Disinvited

Q Ideas—not to be confused with the QAnon conspiracy theory—was founded in 2007 by Gabe and Rebekah Lyons “as a platform to help leaders and influencers engage culture from a biblical worldview.” The letter “Q” stands for “questions,” and the annual conference features short talks similar to TED talks. This year’s speaker lineup includes Matt Chandler, David Platt, John Mark Comer, and Danielle Strickland. According to RNS, Ngo was listed as a speaker in a promotional email sent out ahead of the conference. 

In their statement, organizers said that one of the guiding principles of the Q conference is that “no topic is off limits.” The whole purpose is to explore controversial ideas that many people avoid:

We often hear from a spectrum of leaders in our community with their insight or concerns about certain topics or speakers. Both positive and negative reactions are expected when we fulfill our mission of convening difficult conversations and trying to help leaders think well in a polarized culture. There are few places where this is possible anymore which is why we believe we need this time and space now more than ever.

The organizers said that when they were unable to secure a speaker on the alt-right movement as well as on antifa, “We respectfully communicated this programming decision and rationale to Mr. Ngo. Any other assertion is simply untrue.”

Reports have seemed to indicate that Christian rapper Jason “Propaganda” Petty had a hand in the decision to disinvite Ngo. Petty admits to reaching out to Gabe Lyons, whom he described as “my friend,” regarding his concerns about Andy Ngo. The rapper called Ngo a “con-artist” who is “trolling the right wing of our country then hitting them in their wallets” and said there were many “reputable conservative voices” who would have been better choices. He also called Ngo “trash.” Petty denies, however, actually influencing conference leaders’ decision. 

On Twitter, Ngo seemed to imply that Petty was responsible for Q’s decision to disinvite him: “I was uninvited from this conference in a terse email after a friend of one of the organizers urged him to drop me.” 

In a statement to Fox News, Ngo said, “I’m not Christian, but I admire Christianity’s theological pillars of grace and forgiveness. That is something that is prohibited in Antifa’s worldview. Unfortunately, the organizers ultimately decided that their attendees should not hear my message.”

Ngo’s critics claim he has ties to the far right and that he exaggerates the threat that antifa poses to the U.S. For his part, Ngo has accused Petty of far-left sympathies because the rapper collaborated with Robert Evans, whom Ngo called an “antifa extremist.” Evans is a podcast host, author of “A Brief History of Vice: How Bad Behavior Built Civilization,” and a journalist who covers far-right extremist groups