Facebook ‘gay cure’ ad sparks outrage

A video advertising gay ‘cure’ therapy has racked up more than 1.5 million views on Facebook.

US evangelical Christian group Anchored North posted the shocking video, which is misleadingly titled ‘Love is Love’ and features a rainbow flag thumbnail – only to call for gay people to repent their sexuality.

The ad features the story of a woman who claims that she was cured of homosexuality because she turned to God.

Gay ‘cure’ therapy has been disavowed by every reputable medical body across the globe, but Facebook has refused to remove the clip – which has attracted 1.5 million views to date.

Last year, PinkNews revealed that Facebook had been taking thousands of dollars from Anchored North to target gay users with a similar ad.

On that occasion Facebook told PinkNews that “this ad violates our advertising policies, and has been removed.”

However, Facebook did not respond to a request for comment this week when PinkNews asked about the new clip and whether it was being displayed as promoted content.

As Facebook does not publicly disclose when targeted ads are taken out, it is unclear how many of the video’s 1.5 million views have been targeted via advertising on the platform.

Facebook moderators rejected users who reported the clip, with an automated message telling them: “We reviewed the video you reported and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

The clip features evangelical ‘ex-lesbian’ Emily Thomes, discussing how she found God and renounced her homosexual lifestyle.

She explained: “I could not stop thinking, what if all of it’s true? Are you sure this is who you are? I couldn’t stop questioning. I need to feel okay. I don’t feel okay anymore.

“I googled verses [of the Bible] on homosexuality. Those who practise homosexuality, which was me… will not enter the kingdom of God. It scared me, really bad.

“I realised that there are people who were in the same place, but they were saved and they were changed, and God could do that for me too, and I needed that.

“I could hold on to my sin and reject God, or turn to him.”

She added: “I knew what I wasn’t going to do, because it was right there in black and white.

People say, I was born this way… but you feeling a desire for sin just proves you need grace like me. It’s not gay to straight, it’s lost to saved.

“Even the world would paint a different picture of what sexuality is, God’s word is clear and he can save.”

Gay cure therapy has been disavowed by the World Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the UK’s National Health Service, and dozens more health bodies across the world.

The practise has been condemned as harmful – and experts say it can increase the risk of suicide and depression.

Responding to the video, one commenter said: “This little video is enough to push gay kids over the edge to suicide.

“If God changed her, why didn’t the prayers of my daughter count? So so wrong. I’m willing to bet good money that she is on the bisexual spectrum, or else she is really doing an injustice being in a relationship with that young man.

“Let me tell anyone who is gay and watching this video that God created you just exactly as you are and ‘he saw that it was good’. You are loved and precious.”

Another added: “My heart breaks for this girl, being frightened into living a life she doesn’t want to live. So very sad. I hope one day she can be true to herself again”.

A further commenter wrote: “Why can’t we just love everyone for who they are?

“Why do we have to have a religion control our lives to the point we hate each other. It’s not lost to saved. It’s called everyone deserves to be happy.”

A previous ad from Anchored North, which was specifically targeted at Facebook users who had liked pages or groups related to “gay pride”, pushed people to attempt to “cure” their homosexuality.

That ad, which has more than 200,000 Facebook views, warns that gay people face “eternity in hell” and must “acknowledge their wrongdoings to God”.

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.

“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.”

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 were 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.”