Vimeo's message to ministries that reach out to individuals who wish to escape the grip of same-sex attraction is unmistakable: unless you embrace and celebrate homosexuality, you cannot use our services.
Why did it happen?
"I think we became too well-known and effective in reaching homosexuals in particular who want to change."
Has Vimeo always been pro-homosexual?
"They've always had that bias, but we've been on there for almost nine years and never had a complaint – until a few months ago."
What about those accusations of your content inciting hatred?
"We have always been gracious and kind and respectful towards homosexuals. They can't find a shred of evidence in any of our videos for what they're charging us for – and that sort of tells me that it's really a political activist act."
So what's the bottom line?
"Vimeo doesn't want people to find Christ. They don't want people to know that homosexuals have sexual brokenness, just like heterosexuals, and that Jesus Christ can bring healing to that brokenness."
Dr. David Kyle Foster, director
Pure Passion Ministries
(in an interview with OneNewsNow.com)
If Jesus has changed your life and set you free from homosexual practice, your testimony is not welcome on Vimeo – not now, not ever. And if you see homosexuality as another aspect of sexual brokenness, something for which Jesus died and something from which you can be healed, your opinion is not welcome on Vimeo. Case closed, door shut, end of subject. In the words of Dr. David Kyle Foster, director of Pure Passion Ministries and himself a former homosexual, "This is pure religious bigotry and censorship."
Last December, Vimeo contacted Foster to inform him that some of Pure Passion's videos had been marked by a moderator since "Vimeo does not allow videos that harass, incite hatred or depict excessive violence."
They instructed him to "remove any and all videos of this sort from" from his account – he had 850 videos on Vimeo – and let him know that his account would be reviewed in 48 hours. If his ministry failed to remove the allegedly offensive videos, then, he was informed, "your videos and/or your account may be removed by a Vimeo moderator."
But Foster's ministry is not the first to be unfairly censured. Last year, Vimeo closed the account of Restored Hope Network, which is an association of ministries that help people deal with unwanted same-sex attractions. Vimeo also closed the account of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which is an association of psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists who have had the temerity to stand up to the PC establishment and who refuse to celebrate LGBT activism. For such a horrific ideological crime, their Vimeo account is no more.
Vimeo's message is clear: If you have same-sex attractions, whatever their cause, you must embrace them, if not celebrate them.
Foster was quite aware of Vimeo's history, but he was not about to go down without a hearty protest. So he wrote back to Vimeo, saying, "You must have the wrong account. We are an award-winning Christian ministry that only posts content that helps people, not hurts them. We never defame anyone. We never incite hatred or depict violence of any kind. Our message has been one of love from start to finish."
He explained that, "Our videos help sexual abuse victims, people who have been sex trafficked, those who are addicted or in any other condition that causes them distress. We are constantly receiving professional awards and commendations from people who have been helped by the world-class experts who populate our videos."
He even asked Vimeo to please cite "any video that does otherwise and we will have a second look. It would be a shame to remove the hundreds of videos that help people in very desperate circumstances - some of whom have even claimed to have been prevented from suicide by the messages of hope that we produce."
The next day, Melissa B., a "Trust and Safety Coordinator," responded: "It seems that a number of your videos go against the Vimeo Guidelines of: 'We also forbid content that displays a demeaning attitude toward specific groups, including: Videos that promote Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE).'"
By this logic, Alcoholics Anonymous would not be welcome on Vimeo, since their videos demean alcoholism; or weight loss videos would not be welcome, because they shame the overweight; or testimonies of Christian converts from Islam would not be welcome, because they shame Muslims.
In reality, all these videos are welcome on Vimeo, because none of them cross the forbidden line of saying: If you're not happy being gay (or bisexual or transgender), God has a better way.
Foster wrote back again, explaining why they were targeting the wrong account. And he noted that, "The testimonies of people who have been significantly helped by our videos is practically endless. Why would anyone want to censor such a voice for the broken and helpless?"
Surprisingly, Vimeo accepted his explanation, telling Foster he did not need to remove his videos "at this time" but asking him to keep their guidelines in mind "for any future uploads."
Unfortunately, on March 16, the cycle started again, with Vimeo giving Foster one week to remove the supposedly offensive videos.
When he wrote back, noting that the matter had previously been resolved, he received an email from Sean M. who explained:
Your statement equating homosexuality to "sexual brokenness" betrays the underlying stance of your organization. To put it plainly, we don't believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don't allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view.
Please remove any and all videos that discuss homosexuality as a condition requiring healing. We also consider this basic viewpoint to display a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow.
You can see why Foster described this as "pure religious bigotry and censorship."
- Vimeo is forbidding you from agreeing with the Bible when it comes to human sin and brokenness.
- Vimeo is forbidding you from preaching the gospel of transformation when it comes to homosexuality.
- Vimeo is engaging in blatant, unapologetic, aggressive anti-Christian censorship.
Foster wrote to me privately, pointing out that Vimeo allows "videos of terrorists and pornographers," which made their stand against his ministry even more hypocritical.
He and Sean then engaged in a series of emails, but this was Vimeo's bottom line: They recognized that Foster's ministry was not "overtly vitriolic." However, "Referring to homosexuality as a 'dysfunction of sexual brokenness' or 'sexual distortion' is not OK, nor is reference to 'the fact that God can transform the life of anyone caught in homosexual confusion' .... Vimeo disagrees wholeheartedly with the notion that homosexuality is a form of brokenness, or something that requires healing, or something that people need to seek freedom from."
To repeat: This is forbidden on Vimeo!
To paraphrase: Dr. Foster, we know you're not hateful, but don't you dare proclaim your testimony of transformation in Jesus, and don't you dare imply that there is anything wrong with being gay. Not a word!
Then, on March 24, all 850 videos were removed and the Pure Passion account was closed.
This is an outrage, and it needs to be addressed. Here's what you can do today:
- Write to Vimeo and ask them to restore immediately the account of Dr. David Kyle Foster and Pure Passion, stating politely that this is a form of religious censorship and bigotry. If you can say something positive about Foster's ministry through your own experience, do that as well.
- Subscribe to Pure Passion's YouTube channel, which, at least for now, has not been shut down. There you'll find videos from speakers like Kay Arthur and John Bevere, addressing issues of sexual addiction and pornography, videos exposing the horrors of sex-trafficking, and videos of ex-gays.
- Consider getting a copy of Foster's powerful "Such Were Some of You" DVD.
- Share this article with a friend.
- Pray that the message of freedom and liberty in Jesus – from ALL brokenness and sin – would be proclaimed even more loudly and powerfully in the days ahead. May Vimeo's efforts to silence a powerful ministry (along with other excellent ministries and organizations) result in the amplifying of this ministry's message.
Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, is a biblical scholar, apologist, worldwide speaker, and activist. He is the host of the nationally syndicated, talk radio program "Line of Fire," and he serves as president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, NC, as well as adjunct professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books, most recently "Breaking the Stronghold of Food."
This column is printed with permission. Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.