Will YouTube Block the Bible?
I know the very question sounds outlandish, but in light of recent developments, it’s only fair to ask: Will YouTube block the Bible?
If you’ve followed the LGBT outcry surrounding our recent video on the Bible and homosexuality, you’re aware that YouTube came under tremendous criticism for running ads for our video (along with one from the ADF) on some LGBT YouTube channels. (See here and here for details.)
As a result of the outcry, which was totally disproportionate to YouTube’s offense, the internet giant responded with a strong statement on June 7, directed to “our LGBTQ community.”
YouTube noted that, “Over the past few days, we’ve heard many questions around monetization and how ads are served against videos by LGBTQ creators. We know this has been both confusing and painful, and want you to know that we hear you.”
Here, YouTube was explaining why many LGBTQ videos were demonetized, something that also produced an angry response. Perhaps YouTube will change this policy soon? We shall see.
What is Disparaging?
But what’s clear is that YouTube will not stand by certain content it deems “disparaging.” As the statement reads, “YouTube is an open platform and we support the free expression of creators with a wide range of views. But we don’t allow paid advertising that disparages people based on who they are and we remove ads that violate this basic principle.”
Now remember, this statement came as a direct response to conservative Christian ads running on LGBT channels. One was the ADF video about Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman, which can hardly be accused of “disparaging” anyone.
The other was our video “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” This video simply states what the Church has believed for the last 2,000 years, virtually without exception, until recent decades. There was nothing controversial in the content (in terms of historic Christian beliefs), and there was nothing disparaging in our commentary.
We responded to the leading “gay Christian” arguments, we used no demeaning terms, and we did not engage in name calling. We simply stated the orthodox Christian (and Jewish) teaching that homosexual practice was sinful in God sight. We also emphasized that through the cross, Jesus could forgive.
That content, however, appears to have gone too far for Google and YouTube.
Google and YouTube Take Aim … is the Bible Next?
First, we were notified that Google would no longer allow us to advertise the video. This means that we cannot promote a video which simply recounts the biblical teaching on homosexual practice.
According to their email to us, “We wanted to alert you that one or more of your ads or keywords have been disapproved. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to show your ads on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements until you edit your ads or keywords to make them compliant with our policies.”
The Disapproval Reason stated, “Inappropriate content: We value diversity and respect for others, so we strive to avoid offending users with ads or promoted content that’s inappropriate for our ad network. Please remove any content that promotes hatred, intolerance, harassment, intimidation, exploitation, violence, or self-harm.”
So, to repeat, YouTube will not allow us to run ads for a video simply stating what the Bible says about homosexual practice. Does that mean that, according to YouTube, the Bible “promotes hatred, intolerance, harassment, intimidation, exploitation, violence, or self-harm”?
What if you wanted to run ads for a video featuring the reading of Leviticus? Or Romans? Or 1 Corinthians? All those books contain explicit statements condemning homosexual practice. Will YouTube forbid these ads as well?
Next, we discovered that our video had been completely demonetized, meaning, that it was deemed unsuitable for most advertisers. (We were previously told by a contact person at Google that the video was not controversial. What happened to change that verdict, other than a massive LGBT protest against the video?)
To be clear, we did not produce this video to make money. Instead, we put money into the video to get the message out, but YouTube no longer allow us to do that.
Worse still, it will not allow us to generate any money from the video, despite the fact that other videos we produced with similar content were previously approved. (For the record, the little income we do earn on YouTube is used to produce more videos. None of it is used for personal profit.)
What we know for sure is that: 1) YouTube will not allow us to advertise a video on the Bible and homosexual practice. And 2) YouTube has determined that no one can advertise on our video, making it ineligible for financial profit, even it was viewed 10 million times.
Do you understand why I asked at the outset if YouTube will one day block the Bible?
The Good News
The good news is that all the negative attention has drawn more viewers to our video. Not only so, but you, our readers and viewers, have responded with lots of “Thumbs Up” and many positive comments. You’re doing a great job of pushing back against LGBTQ intimidation tactics.
So, keep sharing the video with your friends, and if you haven’t given a Thumbs Up yet, click here and give it a positive vote. At least for now, YouTube has not taken the video down. For that, I’m thankful.
But to add to the drama, in the next few days, we’ll be releasing the second of our “Consider This” video series. It’s called “The New Conservatives?,” and we shall see what controversy it stirs.
Stay tuned for the latest breaking news.
Update: As this article was about to be posted (and within two hours of when it was written), I noticed that YouTube had changed the status of our video, showing it was monetized again for ads. On June 7, the official status was listed as, “Not suitable for most advertisers. Confirmed by manual review.”
Now, on June 10, with no explanation given, the status color has changed from yellow to green, which we have never seen happen before. Is there an internal battle going on at YouTube, or is this a technical glitch? Either way, as I said, stay tuned for the latest breaking news! (This does not mean YouTube will allow us to advertise; it means that, for the moment, others can advertise on this video.