We have now learned more about Google’s decision last year to ban my ministry from advertising our video “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” on YouTube. According to a new report, “Google banned a video explaining Christian teaching on same-sex marriage from advertising on YouTube after backlash from upset employees, according to internal Google communications reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.”
So, enough employees got upset about our video – the dreaded “microagressions”! – that the complaints made their way to Google VP Vishal Sharma, who agreed that YouTube had no business accepting advertising for a video like this.
But before I share Sharma’s actual words with you, please do a little experiment.
Take 6 minutes to watch the video and ask yourself several questions.
First, do I make any major points that are not explicitly biblical? In other words, am I making stuff up as I go along or am I citing Scripture, fairly and in context?
Second, do I express hatred against any group on the video? Is there anything in the video that could be called homophobic?
Third, do I state clearly that Jesus died for all, loves all, and offers redemption and transformation to all? Have I excluded any individual or group from God’s redeeming love?
Fourth, is there a single statement in the entire Bible affirming homosexual practice or homosexual relationships? (It’s notable that on different debates on the subject, my opponents were not able to produce a single scripture to support their views. See here and here.)
Why, then, did Sharma end up agreeing with his offended workers?
In response to those employees who brought our video to his attention he wrote, “It means a lot to me personally and those of us working on this across the Ads and YouTube teams. YouTube is an open platform and we support the free expression of creators with a wide range of views.”
Except that this “open platform” with “free expression” for “a wide range of views” only goes so far. One dare not transgress LGBTQ sensitivities. One dare not present biblical truth in love when that truth is deemed offensive.
Better to try and muzzle the Scriptures – which, in the end, cannot be muzzled – than allow a video which violates no guidelines to be advertised.
Sharma continued, “But we don’t allow advertising that disparages people based on who they are – including their sexual orientation – and we remove ads that violate this basic principle.”
And herein lies the rub. I did not disparage anyone on the video. Not once. I simply stated what God’s Word says, simply and clearly and directly.
Sharma might say in response, “What are you talking about? You said that you cannot be a true follower of Jesus and practice homosexuality at the same time. That’s disparaging people based on who they are – based on their sexual orientation.”
To the contrary, I simply repeated what God’s Words says and what the Synagogue and Church have believed for millennia. Not only so, but in the video I made clear that no one is condemned for having feelings or attractions. The issue is whether we act on those feelings or attractions. And that, in fact, is our choice.
I also repeated what God’s Word said in terms of change, namely, that some Christians used to practice homosexuality but no longer do (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). This was true in Paul’s day, and it is true today.
So, Google’s battle is with the Bible, meaning that, if I simply produced a video reading relevant Bible verses on the subject, that video would not be suitable for advertising either. (Maybe I’ll try that as an experiment!)
It would be one thing if Google said, “Let’s be sure this video is only advertised on conservative Christian channels.”
That would have been perfectly fine, and we would have fully respected that. Our goal was to equip believers with truth, not provoke LGBT viewers on their own channels.
But that was not to be.
Sharma concluded that, “After careful and multiple reviews over the course of a few days, our teams decided to remove the ad in question here as it violates our policy. We’ve communicated this to the advertiser and have been in touch with creators who have been actively engaged on this issue.”
In short then, biblical content about homosexual practice, spoken accurately and with love, violates Google’s policy.
Forget any semblance of Google trying to be even-handed. Forget any idea that Google actually make a serious effort to recognize the diversity of views on socially divisive subjects.
Not a chance. The biblical worldview must be blocked. It cannot be promoted on YouTube.
We had learned last week that Google employees felt our video was “very counter to [their] mission.”
Now, we’ve learned a little more about Google’s internal workings, and what we learned confirmed our worst concerns.
Equality and diversity do not exist in Google.
Fairness and tolerance are nothing better than codewords for unfairness and intolerance.
Certain groups cannot and must not be offended, even with biblical truth.
A line in the cyber-sand has been drawn, and those who cross that line will be punished.
But there’s more that needs to be said, so allow me to be totally candid.
I truly feel bad for Google, as powerful as it is.
In God’s sight, like the greatest human empires, it will be here today and gone tomorrow.
In stark contrast, God’s Word will stand forever (see Isaiah 40:7-8; Matthew 24:35), long after Google is a forgotten thing of the past.
In that light, I truly hope Google will right its ship and allow for the promotion of Bible-based videos like ours.
If not, ultimately, it will be their loss, not mine.
For the moment, please share our video with your social networks and give it a thumbs up on YouTube.
And if you feel discouraged at any point, remember Paul’s simple words: “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8).