Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ Facebook ads target gay people to threaten eternity in Hell

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PinkNews Exclusive
Facebook is taking money from evangelical gay ‘cure’ activists who are using the social network’s ad tools to target LGBT  people and claim they face “eternity in hell”.

US-based evangelical group Anchored North, who describe themselves as “next-generation evangelists”, are using Facebook to aggressively target “evil sinners” – including gay people, women considering abortion and atheists –  with online ad campaigns.

The group, which appears to have significant funding for advertising and professional-quality video, has a string of promoted content on Facebook.

One shocking ad, which was specifically targeted at Facebook users who had liked pages or groups related to “gay pride”, pushes people to attempt to “cure” their homosexuality.

The ad, which has more than 200,000 Facebook views, warns that gay people face “eternity in hell” and must “acknowledge their wrongdoings to God”.
Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ Facebook ads target gay people to threaten eternity in Hell
It features a man who claims that God “cured” him of “same-sex attraction”, adding that his homosexual life made him feel “empty and dead inside”. He claims that after turning to the church, God spoke to him and told up to give up his “gay life”.

He explains: “I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality was not who I was, that my identity was in Christ.
Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ Facebook ads target gay people to threaten eternity in Hell

“Homosexuality is the deal-breaker when it comes to Christianity… it’s unloving to let people spend their lives apart from God.”

The group warns: “Jesus can make you a new creation and save you from eternity in Hell. Today, acknowledge your wrongdoings to God and trust in Jesus Christ to present you blameless when you die. He will never fail you.”

The gay ‘cure’ ad has hundreds of negative reactions from LGBT people who were targeted, and PinkNews understands a number of people have filed reports to Facebook – but it remains online.

One targeted commenter wrote: “I am a proud, queer woman, and am honestly heartbroken that people believe God does not support LGBTQIA+ folks

“My sexuality does not affect my faith and my knowledge that God made me who I am, and loves me as such.”

Another said: “You cannot pray the gay away.  With enough brainwashing and a church full of people telling you that you’re disgusting and must deny yourself love and attraction and the threat of eternity in hell, of course this guy gave up his identity.

“How sad how absolutely sad to see someone that desperate for acceptance.”

Speaking anonymously to PinkNews, advertising industry insiders estimated the cost of promoting the group’s video at roughly $5,000.

A spokesperson for Facebook told PinkNews they were “investigating” the ads after a request for comment.

Facebook’s Advertising Policies state: “You must not use targeting options to discriminate against, harass, provoke, or disparage users or to engage in predatory advertising practices.”

But despite Facebook’s supposed ban on aggressive targeting, the tax-exempt, non-profit group have been extremely open about their use of “next-generation evangelism” on social media to target “sinners”, who they say are in the grasp of “evil”.

In addition to the ads targeted at gay people, the group’s videos take aim at women considering abortion and atheists.

A spokesperson said: “We’re missionaries and evangelists using the tools of our time to reach people with the gospel.”

Explaining the decline of church attendance, they added: “If they’re not going to be in churches, we have to reach them where they’re at, and where they’re at is on the internet, consuming media. They’re being lied to left and right and they’re being torn apart by darkness, by sin, by evil.

“The internet gives us the ability to throw the seeds of God’s word out like wildfire.”