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Evangelical Trump ally Tony Perkins is furious with Facebook for banning disgraced conversion therapy group

Nick Duffy October 14, 2020

Family Research Council boss Tony Perkins with Donald Trump (Getty)

Trump ally and ‘religious freedom’ ambassador Tony Perkins is furious with Facebook for removing a group that was promoting conversion therapy.

Perkins hit out at the social media giant for removing the Facebook page of Restored Hope Network, an offshoot of the defunct and disgraced conversion therapy practitioner Exodus International.

Restored Hope Network had used its page to promote ‘ex-gay’ stories of people who claim to have “walked away” from the gay lifestyle, as well as promoting the discredited idea that religion can cure people of “unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender confusion”.

Attempting to visit the page now displays the message: “This Page Isn’t Available. The link may be broken, or the page may have been removed. ”

Tony Perkins is furious with Facebook for pulling down ‘ex-gay’ group.

Perkins, a Republican-appointed religious freedom commissioner and a member of the president’s unofficial evangelical advisory board, attacked Facebook for pulling down the page.

In a mail out to supporters of his anti-LGBT+ Family Research Council on Tuesday (13 October), Perkins blamed the “cancel culture mob” for the decision.

He raged: “Facebook’s axe came down on RHN with no advance notice, and no explanation. Restored Hope Network (their website, fortunately, is still up) is the world’s leading network of Christian ministries serving those with unwanted same-sex attractions.

“They believe that through a combination of psychological insight and spiritual transformation, it is possible to see a reduction in such attractions, and many have testified to experiencing such change.”

Perkins went on accuse Facebook of “responding to pressure” from LGBT+ activists “waging war upon” what he terms “sexual orientation change efforts”, suggesting activists “claim falsely that there is no evidence such counselling is effective and abundant evidence that it is harmful.”

He continued: “If Zuckerberg meant what he said, he should un-cancel Restored Hope Network immediately.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins talks with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after President Donald Trump introduced Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins talks with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after President Donald Trump introduced Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Despite the baseless claims of the evangelical leader, every reputable study conducted into conversion therapy has found it to be entirely ineffective at ‘curing’ people of being LGBT+, while it has also been linked to a plethora of negative outcomes including depression, self-harm and suicide.

Nearly every major medical body has disavowed conversion therapy, and the UN’s independent expert on LGBT+ issues published a report calling for a global ban due to the harm it causes.

Facebook pledged to act against conversion therapy content in July, amid a change of heart on extremist content that has also seen it vow to tackle Holocaust denial.

Family Research Council leader has extreme anti-LGBT+ record.

Perkins has strong links to the Trump administration, and is often photographed alongside the president and his top officials at evangelical events and rallies.

The evangelical leader was appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2018 despite his extreme anti-LGBT+ beliefs.

Perkins claimed in a 2018 blog post that decriminalising homosexuality was a “mistake”. The evangelical leader has also been condemned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League for repeatedly linking gay rights to the Holocaust and comparing gay people to Nazis.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins delivers remarks at the opening of the council's Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins delivers remarks at the opening of the council’s Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In 2014 Perkins insisted Christians are “going to find ourselves being loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over before we realise we are in such terrible danger”.

He claimed that Christians are being sent to “camps”, and that soon gays are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians”.

Under the leadership of Perkins, FRC also cheered on the imposition of a harsh new anti-gay law in Uganda.

More: conversion therapy, Counsel. A Facebook, Donald Trump, Facebook, Restored Hope Network, Tony Perkins

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