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Twitter locks out conservative Christian for saying gay sex ‘spreads disease’ and is a ‘sin’

Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

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Editor's note: The following report is written by Peter LaBarbera, former reporter for LifeSiteNews and the president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH.org), based outside Chicago, Illinois. He shares a letter he wrote to Twitter after being banned from the platform for posting what the social media giant deemed "hateful conduct." WARNING: This this letter contains graphic medical descriptions of homosexual acts.

October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – I sent a version of the following letter to Twitter today appealing their decision Monday to lock me out of my account (@PeterLaBarbera) due to a 2016 tweet describing homosexual acts as a “sin” that “spreads disease” – which Twitter deemed in violation of its rules against “hateful conduct.”

Near the end of the letter, I state the following: "If Twitter no longer allows its users to advocate for healthy behaviors on its platform, and to defend their sincere moral and religious beliefs--shared by billions worldwide--then it will devolve into a bland, politically correct echo-chamber."

"That not only would fail to serve Twitter's mission but would undermine liberty and American democracy as well." 

***

Dear Twitter and Jack Dorsey [co-founder and CEO of Twitter],

I would gladly remove the offending tweet (dated Aug 23, 2016) in question if I truly believed that it was "hateful," but it is not.

The tweet apparently reacts to LGBTQ activist (@JayFranzone) who opposes any restrictions on gay men giving blood. Franzone remained celibate for one year so he could meet the FDA’s (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) restrictive policy on homosexuals giving blood, which he did in 2017. 

I counseled Franzone in my tweet to abstain from homosexual sex (sodomy) for life, not out of malice but because that's what I sincerely believe people who struggle with homosexuality should do, to preserve their health, live a long life and avoid offending God. 

Here is the text of my tweet:

[email protected] @Buzzfeednews Jay, why don’t U strive for lifetime abstinence? Sodomy is a sin & … the homosexual variety especially spreads disease.

This was just an opinion. I certainly don't hate Franzone (whom I’ve never met) and I hope he doesn't hate me.

To label this tweet hateful is inaccurate and conflates disagreement with hate. Moreover, demanding its removal directly punishes conservatives and Christians like me for voicing our ideas, which I hope Twitter would not countenance.

I have been very active on Twitter since 2009 and have attempted to play by the rules and engage in civil dialogue, even with hardened foes. I have devoted considerable time and energy to the Twitter platform. I am a committed Christian, a conservative and an advocate for historic Judeo-Christian (biblical) sexual morality. As such, I oppose homosexuality and gay (LGBTQ) activism through my group, Americans For Truth

In doing so I routinely engage on Twitter with opponents, including hundreds of activists on the opposite side of the LGBTQ debate, like writer and activist Dan Savage (@fakedansavage). I have had many respectful dialogues and debates with Dan and other opponents. These lively Twitter exchanges are not something to be feared but rather celebrated in this, still, the freest country on earth. 

Call me naive, but I think these “healthy conversations” between advocates on opposing sides should be celebrated by Twitter as well. 

I strongly believe in civil discourse and the First Amendment. People can disagree without becoming hateful, although I have been on the receiving end of considerable hatred on Twitter. Sometimes I overlook that in the interest of keeping the dialogue alive, such as my exchanges with atheist gay blogger Joe Jervis (@JoeMyGod) or LGBT activist Wayne Besen (@WayneBesen), both of whom smear me with the malicious moniker "Porno Pete." Typically I only block vicious harassers.

Twitter and the Gay Blood Ban

Twitter itself has staked out an ideological and advocacy position on the FDA gay-blood-donation issue, demanding an end to restrictions for homosexual donors, reportedly through the actions of one of its employees (see this 2015 Reuters article). Could it be that one or several Twitter employees who advocate that position went out of their way (venturing back to 2016) looking for alleged "hate" on my part where there was none--to punish me for my traditional views?

Twitter obviously strongly opposes the current FDA’s gay-blood-donation policy, and perhaps is pro-LGBTQ generally. Should it now censor those with countervailing opinions, using politicized definitions of “hate” or “safety” as its justification?

Anal Sex Is Indeed High-Risk

My tweet says that (homosexual) sodomy spreads disease, which it does. Even Jay Franzone's video on his website (www.JayFranzone.com) opposing FDA policies restricting gay male blood donors contains a quote by Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, who says: 

"At the risk of blushing before camera, the clear thing that is most highly associated with the transmission of HIV is anal receptive intercourse, and there's no way around that."

I could point you to hundreds of non-political sources like the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that attest to the high-risk of anal sex. Here are some excerpts from a 2016 report by the CDC on “Anal Sex and HIV Risk” [Warning: Graphic descriptions]:

“Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior for HIV transmission. Vaginal sex has a lower risk ... The vast majority of men who get HIV get it through anal sex.

“Receptive anal sex is much riskier for getting HIV. The bottom partner is 13 times more likely to get infected than the top. However, it’s possible for either partner to get HIV through anal sex from certain body fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), or rectal fluids—of a person who has HIV....

“Being a receptive partner during anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for getting HIV. The bottom’s risk of getting HIV is very high because the lining of the rectum is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.

“The insertive partner is also at risk for getting HIV during anal sex. HIV may enter the top partner’s body through the opening at the tip of the penis (or urethra) or through small cuts, scratches, or open sores on the penis.”

Homosexual anal sex (amongst other factors) played a role in the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of gay men during the AIDS pandemic. It is not frivolous, nor uncaring, and especially not hateful, to advise men to avoid engaging in this high-risk behavior altogether. Even some openly and affirmatively gay men purposely do not engage in anal sex for health or other reasons, including religious and moral concerns.

Religious Viewpoints Allowed?

My tweet says that sodomy (anal sex) is a sin. Is it “hateful” to believe that and to merely express my religious moral viewpoint? (By the way, I hold the same position against heterosexual anal sex and have taken flack for that.) Also, despite being mischaracterized as such by many on the Left, my views on sodomy and homosexuality are not informed solely by religion; countless millions of people across the world similarly believe anal sex is wrong for many reasons including but not limited to their faith. (For a good representation of the conservative Christian perspective on homosexual acts as sinful, see Professor Robert Gagnon's site, www.RobGagnon.net.)

Please reconsider your decision labeling my 2016 tweet "hateful" and in violation of Twitter's policy. If Twitter no longer allows its users to advocate for healthy behaviors on its platform, and to defend their sincere moral and religious beliefs--shared by billions worldwide--then it will devolve into a bland, politically correct echo-chamber. That not only would fail to serve Twitter's mission but would undermine liberty and American democracy as well. 

Thank you for considering this appeal.

Peter LaBarbera 
Chicago, IL
AmericansForTruth.org
[email protected]

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