Facebook recently shut down Restored Hope Network’s (RHN) entire page, removing the organization’s presence from the social media platform.
RHN is a coalition of ministries, therapists and pastors who offer Christian help, support and healing for those struggling with unwanted homosexual and transgender desires, actions and identities. They also provide information and support for churches, friends and family members on these difficult topics.
For years the organization has had a presence on Facebook. The ministry shared articles and videos about people walking away from homosexuality and gender confusion. Posts would give details about upcoming conferences and workshops for those caught in conflict between their sexual feelings and their biblical faith.
“People looking for change should be free to find services and resources from counselors, schools, churches and ministries like ours to help them achieve their desired goals,” she added.
Paulk identified as “gay” up into her college years, until she had an encounter with Jesus Christ. That began her journey of healing past hurts and wounds; learning how to respond differently to temptation; embracing and enjoying her femininity; growing in her faith; and finding freedom from homosexuality.
She first realized, over the summer, that Facebook was limiting RHN’s posts. The group would get notices from Facebook about deleting a post – often ones that told someone’s story about leaving homosexuality or transgenderism. But then the company would reverse its decision.
Now, however, the whole page is gone, “without notice or explanation by the social media giant,” the organization said. The ministry believes that deleting the account is part of Facebook’s “ongoing effort to deny the truth that unwanted same-sex attraction can be overcome.”
Restored Hope Network’s current Facebook page
The removal follows the company’s announcement in July that it would ban content from Facebook and Instagram related to so-called “conversion therapy,” calling such content “hate speech.” Facebook called the stories about leaving homosexuality and transgenderism “attacks on people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Activist groups immediately began calling for the removal of posts from RHN’s website, also targeting other groups that help people leave homosexuality.
Paulk explained that “conversion therapy” is a “deliberately and misleadingly provocative term coined by the LGBTQ activist community that does not describe any type of actual counseling assistance offered to men and women who struggle with same-sex attraction.”
Nor does it describe the work of RHN’s ministries, which use basic Christian practices – such as teaching, worship, healing prayer, confession, receiving forgiveness and discipleship – to help believers grow in their relationship with Christ. Radical LGBT activists and their allies fight to ban even this kind of help for those who want to live according to their faith and values but wrestle with gender confusion or same-sex attractions.
“Facebook is deciding they have the authority to silence the stories of those of us whose lives have changed,” she said. “Their dismissive action – canceling our page as if it never existed, leaving a vague ‘the link may be broken’ message in its place – is shameful. Not even extending us the courtesy of a notification, a chance to offer our side of the very politicized story, is unconscionable.”
Paulk wants others to experience the relationship and intimacy with God that she found. In telling her story, she writes, “Because of God’s kindness, I’m able to thrive despite life’s ups and downs and continue to share my hope with others. I can say that trading my ways for His ways was the best trade I have ever made in every sense.”
In spite of the company’s actions, the ministry and its members will continue their work of supporting people who want to leave homosexuality and transgenderism. Paulk said in the press release, “We will remain here, fighting for their rights, despite Facebook’s best efforts to muzzle us and disenfranchise them.”
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