Facebook is starting to censor a Christian ministry for allegedly promoting "conversion therapy," removing posts of men and women who were once LGBT-identified and now follow Jesus.
Anne Paulk, president of Restored Hope Network, explained to The Christian Post how at the apparent behest of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters, the social media giant is taking down posts from their most recent conference, saying that they violate "community standards."
"I find it ironic that Facebook is calling speech that say relational needs have relational answers 'hate speech' when the American Family Association literally had death threats against them on Facebook, they reported it to Facebook and they considered that not to be hate speech. And yet the person went to jail over it because it violated standards.
"I find that to be deeply troubling and deeply concerning regarding freedom of speech across the world stage on the largest platform that exists on social media with 2 billion users. They're trying to shut down voices that they simply disagree with."
Paulk believes that the intense drive to shut down perspectives on sexuality and gender issues with which they disagree stems from an inability to argue for their own views.
"I think they have an emotional and not a logical or rational response to what's going on and there is essentially a faith that they've ascribed to. They can't tolerate it because they don't have a way to defend themselves, I believe."
She advises other like-minded ministries who use the platform to move their contact points on to a separate database and ensure that people have a way to connect outside of Facebook. RHN has posted on its website a call to action, urging supporters to resist the growing silencing of voices that express a historic Christian sexual ethic.
"'Conversion therapy' is often described as using force, abuse or aversive therapy. These are not practiced by Restored Hope Network or any of our member ministries, counselors and churches. Legitimate, licensed counselors do not use such techniques, either. Rumors of such techniques occurring today are absurd," the call to action reads.
Paulk said that "there are a lot of people who are being impacted by Facebook's decisions lately that impact conservatives, privacy issues, you name it, issues going on for a long time. But they are now coming to more of a head. They are making more decisions that are putting many people off."
"There is a totalitarianism, a censoring of free speech. And here they claim to value it and yet they're shutting down certain views from any place on the political spectrum."
She added that she has many family members who are neither conservative nor Christian but they value each other and are able to talk about touchy topics.
"And we end up saying how much we love each other despite disagreeing. What's the problem with that?"
"I would bet that within Facebook there are a variety of views and that not everyone agrees with this movement that they're doing."
The social media utility announced earlier this month that it would be restricting content that promoted what is known as "conversion therapy."
The RHN leader stressed that the term is scare rhetoric and amounts to a "bait and switch and a straw man."
Opponents of the ministry have built a false image of people dealing with unwanted same-sex desires or gender identity struggles with unverified claims of abuse that should have been prosecuted or examined under ethics committees or criminal laws.
"But investigations are not allowed to happen when you simply have testimonies that are pretty out there, outlandish claims. And yet they are not allowed to be investigated to find out what the truth is. And so in the jury of public opinion, how can you possibly arrive at not thinking what they're saying? They're not allowing these thoughts to be examined."