The video-hosting platform Vimeo recently shut down the account of Fairview Baptist Church, in Edmond, Oklahoma. The church’s video channel was closed after it posted videos from a conference held at the church, “God’s Voice: A Biblical Response to the Queering of the Church.” First Stone Ministries, which provides help and support for those struggling with unwanted homosexuality and other sexual sins, sponsored the event.
The God’s Voice conference featured worship by Dennis Jernigan and speakers such as radio host Janet Mefford and First Stone Executive Director Stephen Black. Several individuals told their stories of finding freedom from homosexuality or transgenderism.
A letter from Vimeo to the church said the videos were removed for violating the company’s terms of service or guidelines. The company said that videos or accounts may be removed if they “make derogatory or inflammatory statements about individuals or groups of people.” Evidently holding to a biblical view of sexuality is considered “derogatory or inflammatory.” The letter continued, “We also forbid content that promotes Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE).”
Initially, all the church’s videos were removed, including hundreds of sermons unrelated to the subject of homosexuality or transgenderism. Later, those sermons were restored, but not the conference videos.
This isn’t the first time Vimeo closed the account of a Christian organization supporting those leaving homosexuality.
- In 2015, the Restored Hope Network, a network of ministries that helps people with unwanted homosexuality, was advertising its annual “Hope Conference.” Vimeo first took down the advertisements, then closed the ministry’s account in 2016.
- In 2017, Vimeo shut down Pure Passion Ministries account, which had over 850 videos proclaiming healing from pornography and sex addiction; male and female homosexuality; transgenderism; and sex trafficking. David Kyle Foster, the ministry’s Executive Director, noted that Vimeo hosts other accounts with violent and sexual images, but shut down his videos designed to “help sexual abuse victims, people who have been sex trafficked, those who are addicted or in any other condition that causes them distress.” Foster eventually posted all his videos on YouTube.
- In 2018, Vimeo closed the account of Church United, a California organization that equips pastors and churches to change and shape “the moral culture of our communities.” Five of their 89 videos focused on California Assembly Bill 2943, legislation that threatened Christian groups with lawsuits for proclaiming a biblical view of homosexuality.
Vimeo’s website says the company “empowers video creators to tell exceptional stories, and connect with their audiences and communities.” The company has made it clear, however, that exceptional stories of the gospel’s power to set people free from homosexuality or gender confusion are not allowed.
Author and talk show host Dr. Michael Brown puts it succinctly, “If Jesus has changed your life and set you free from homosexual practice, your testimony is not welcome on Vimeo — not now, not ever.”