June 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A theology professor is the latest Christian to be censored by Facebook after criticizing a video selling LGBT “pride” to children.
Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon is a New Testament professor most recently with Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. On June 6, he criticized a video produced by the taxpayer-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in which media personality Jessi Cruickshank asked young kids whether it would be “cool to have two moms,” told them how actress Jodie Foster “made me question my sexuality” with a nude scene, urged them to “aspire to be a gay icon,” and more.
“This clip is about celebrating sexual perversity, not ‘sexual diversity,’” Gagnon said, accusing the CBC of trying to indoctrinate the youth and calling it a “a measure of how corrupt things have become that this woman is not vilified throughout Canada and legislators are not threatening to remove funding from the CBC.”
On Friday, Gagnon followed up with a post revealing that he had just been under a 24-hour ban because Facebook had deemed the original post a violation of its “community standards on hate speech.” The company hid the post from view and warned him that future offenses would result in longer suspensions, potentially culminating in a permanent ban from the website.
The day before, Facebook notified him of the suspension via email and popups. They didn’t specify what was hateful about the June 6 post, but included an option to request a review of the decision. While it’s possible the post “just got snagged because of some misguided algorithm,” Gagnon tells LifeSiteNews he thinks it’s more likely that the post was either intentionally flagged by an administrator or reported by a user.
Near the end of the 24-hour period, Gagnon received a follow-up apologizing because “we got this wrong,” and that the the video was in line with the site’s community standards after all. “I thank Facebook administrators for this recognition of their error,” Gagnon said, though he made clear that a broader issue remains.
“The historic Christian faith does indeed treat homosexual practice as a perversity (defined in its usual sense as a behavior, often of a sexual nature, that is unacceptable or unreasonable), alongside other perverse sexual offenses,” he explained, refusing to back down from his message.
“This does not change the fact that persons who live out of the disorder of same-sex attractions or gender-identity disorder are made in God's image,” he added. “It is precisely because they are made in God's image that we want to reclaim them from sin's efforts at dishonoring that image.”
Gagnon noted that the “vast majority of Christians worldwide” continue to regard homosexuality as sinful into the present day, and that a “male-female foundation for marriage and thus for all sexual ethics” was unmistakable in the Bible, making it remarkable that Facebook would deem it hateful to merely “presen[t] the orthodox Christian view of the matter.”
Gagnon attributes Facebook’s retreat to the visibility of his case, assisted by Princeton professor Robert George and others publicizing the incident. “Maximum publicity,” he concluded, is key to overcoming similar censorship attempts in the future, so he requested that people contact him with their own experiences getting banned for crossing LGBT activists. “Consider this a shot across the bow by Facebook administrators,” he warned.
He told LifeSiteNews that Christians should “always be civil, loving, and rational” on Facebook, but “without compromising one’s message for fear of censorship.” He also advised suspended Christians to have friends post the suspensions on their own Facebook pages, to bring “into the light what is done in darkness.”
“Give FB as much bad press as possible for their biased application of ‘community standards,’” he said.
The apology message’s reference to “your video” when the issue was Gagnon’s reaction to someone else’s video indicates the use of stock language, and highlights another inconsistency at work. Facebook’s own rules forbid advertising sexual pleasure or sex-related marketing to minors, which arguably describes Cruickshank fantasizing about nude actresses to a room of small children in the CBC’s original post.
As the world’s largest social network, Facebook is currently at the center of an ongoing controversy over political censorship by social media platforms and tech companies.
Previous instances of censoring conservative and Christian content include classifying black conservative commentators Diamond and Silk as “unsafe to the community,” censoring a pro-life documentary on Roe v. Wade, and rejecting a Holy Week ad by the Franciscan University of Steubenville featuring the San Damiano Cross. Facebook has reversed several such decisions following public backlash, but has claimed they were all isolated errors.
“Censorship is only going to get worse in the near future so maximize your opportunities in the present to speak freely and fairly,” Gagnon advised Christians in his comments to LifeSiteNews. “FB administrators want to isolate a few individuals to persuade all other conservatives to censor themselves unfairly. More voices need to speak out.”