Vimeo scrubs Christian church’s videos critical of homosexuality
Update March 20, 2019: LifeSiteNews added a quote from Dan Fisher, co-paster at Fairview Baptist Church: "Vimeo is, as you know, a private business and I believe there is a limit to how far we want to go to force them to air opinions they do not agree with.” Fisher likened Vimeo’s stance to his own opposition to bakers, photographers, and other businessmen being forced to participate in same-sex "weddings."
"Having said this," Fisher continued, "I still believe what they have done is despicable and so hypocritical. The people who constantly preach tolerance are the most intolerant of all."
Asked about alternatives to Vimeo (and YouTube), Fisher responded, "I highly recommend that we find a way to sponsor our own social platforms so we will not be in constant fear of censorship or cancelation. Rather than running to the unbelieving world for business, the church is more than capable of creating these platforms for our message, and we should make our own solutions."
March 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Popular video hosting site Vimeo deleted the account of Fairview Baptist Church, located in Oklahoma, after the organization hosted a conference criticizing homosexuality.
The "God's Voice" conference, hosted by Fairview Baptist in Oklahoma City on February 22–23, 2019, was intended to "bring biblical clarity to the recent confusion surrounding the issues of 'revoiced' sexuality and 'LGBTQ+ Christians.'" Fairview Baptist calls God's Voice a "response to the liberalizing message from evangelical elites on matters of sexual ethics."
Speakers at the God's Voice conference included syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd, Rev. Thomas Littleton of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.
Michael Gryboski of the Christian Post reported Friday, March 15 that Vimeo had restored some 300 of Fairview Baptist's videos, but all of the videos from the God's Voice conference remain removed.
The news site Reformation Charlotte posted Vimeo's letter canceling Fairview Baptist's account. "Specifically," wrote "Marty" of Vimeo's "Trust and Safety" department, "Vimeo moderators will generally remove accounts or content" according to the following criteria:
* Make derogatory or inflammatory statements about individuals or groups of people
* Are intended to harm someone's reputation
* Have an overall mean-spirited vibe
It is unclear from the Vimeo letter whether accounts must meet all of the criteria or only any one of them to be deleted.
Fairview Baptist responded firmly to Vimeo's action in a Facebook post on March 12: "Christians should be worried. It is only getting worse in America. Churches using Vimeo should be aware and consider other options if (and when) the censors come for them."
David Kyle Foster of Pure Passion Media, an organization combating a number of social ills from pornography to homosexuality to child sex-trafficking, went through a similar ordeal. On March 24, 2017, Vimeo deleted Pure Passion's account, comprising 850 videos. According to Foster, a Vimeo spokesperson explained that "we don't believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don't allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view."
The idea that homosexuality can be overcome, according to Vimeo, constitutes "a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow."
Foster told LifeSiteNews, "They also demanded we take down all the videos that were offensive to them, but would not tell us what they all were." Some of Pure Passion's videos "helped child sexual abuse and sex-trafficking victims. They couldn't have cared less — they took all 850 of them down! So it would appear that helping those other victims is also offensive to Vimeo."
On the other hand, Foster said, those running Vimeo "allow videos with horrible content on their site, such as a positive video about known pedophile Allen Ginsberg and porn videos."
The God's Voice conference, footage of which got Fairview Baptist removed from Vimeo, offers a rebuke to the Revoice Conference, an annual event at the forefront of mainstreaming homosexuality among Evangelicals.
The organizers of Revoice join Catholic priest and Vatican communications consultant Fr. James Martin in proclaiming that homosexuality is innate, "one of the deepest parts of a person." Nate Collins, who founded Revoice, has condemned "Christian versions of heteronormativity" and called for Christians "to subvert straight privilege when it causes difficulties for gays." Gregory Coles, who was the worship leader for the 2018 conference, wondered if a homosexual orientation, "before the fall, was meant to be a gift in appreciating the beauty of my own sex." Wesley Hill, the 2018 keynote speaker, said, "Perhaps celibate gay and lesbian Christians, precisely in and out of their celibacy, are called to express, rather than simply renounce and deny, same-sex love."
Robert Oscar López, a professor at a Southern Baptist seminary who has written extensively on LGBT organizations and the homosexual lifestyle, joins Farview Baptist in taking issue with Revoice's approach. He told LifeSiteNews, "From a pastoral perspective, it's cruel to people who are walking into a church, who are struggling with that, who want help. The bottom line is, the church is then telling them that the activists from the gay community are right, and the Bible's wrong, and they're not going to help them."
"They just fail to understand the really specific situation for people who are struggling with it," López continued. "A lot of times, they know it's wrong, and they want to get out, and they just need some encouragement. They need somebody to tell them, 'It's okay. The opposite sex will find you attractive. There are people out there for you. You can overcome this, and we're going to support you in it.' But that's not what they hear."
Asked whether Revoice has been infiltrated by LGBT activists, López replied, "Absolutely. Revoice is the gay activists. This is their battleground. This is their battle headquarters to get into the churches."
In June of last year, López with MassResistance Texas submitted a resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting to condemn the "false ideology that homoseuxals are 'born gay,' 'have no choice' in their sexuality, and 'cannot change' even if they want to." Convention leaders refused to bring the resolution to a vote.
Christian talk show host Janet Mefferd, a speaker at the God's Voice conference, came to Fairview Baptist's defense, called Revoice a "Trojan horse." Mefferd also blasted Vimeo, tweeting, "This is blatant admission of Vimeo viewpoint discrimination, not just objections to specific content. They removed SERMONS that had nothing to do w/SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts]."
"You may not care about us," Mefferd wrote, "but this is an attack on Christianity. Period."