The First Amendment covers freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But what if someone’s religion does not allow homosexuality?
Facebook apparently deems that kind of speech to be “hate speech.” When the founder of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, posted on Facebook that he had a moral objection to Democratic candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, his post was removed. The post stated, “No amount of politics, no amount of media persuasion or #LGBTQ lobbying power, no celebrity endorsements, will ever make homosexuality right. It is clearly condemned by God (Romans 1), & nature discriminates against it. We don’t want #MayorPete teaching kids that Wrong is Right.”
According to a screenshot attached to LaBarbera’s tweet, Facebook told him, “Your post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech and inferiority. No one else can see your post. We have these standards to protect certain groups of people being described as inferior to others.”
Christianity and Catholicism have objections to the act of homosexuality on a moral, traditional basis. So does traditional Islam. In fact, a news page called “Islamic Breaking News” on Facebook shared an image of the “[f]irst gay Muslim wedding” in the U.K. The page wrote on the post, “This is what caused Allah to destroy the people of Lut. A.S.” Commenters on the post wrote, “May All Mighty Allah grant them punishment,” and “Its against the preaching of all prophet of Allah.”
The post has been up since Jan. 18. It has not been removed for “hate speech.”
Facebook’s hate speech policy states, “We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability.” Furthermore, “Expressions that a protected characteristic shouldn't exist” are also banned from the platform.
Could the problem be criticism of Buttigieg? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has worked with the Democratic candidate before, recommending campaign hires for the South Bend mayor.