When an LGBT advocacy group uploaded a video on YouTube of Michael Lowry, a young gay man explaining how he was held against his will by members of a North Carolina church and assaulted, it was removed without explanation.
That’s what Brent Childers, executive director of Faith In America, accused YouTube of doing in a story published Wednesday on the Washington Blade website. He said that the video streaming site did not explain why his group’s video was removed and that he was “dumbfounded” that YouTube allows more explicit content in comparison to the video in question.
Childers said: “YouTube allows a controversial video that pokes fun at Islam. But here we have a video in which a person is telling his own personal knowledge of how this bizarre Christian church treats gay youth or those suspected of being gay, and they remove the video.”
He added that YouTube is “giving cover to a church that believes it is OK to harm gay youth and families in the name of religious teaching” while stifling his right to tell his organization’s side of the story.
YouTube has yet to comment about the video’s removal.
Faith In America, which seeks to end religious bigotry against LGBT people, has been following the Word of Faith Fellowship church for some time and believes that it exerts strong influence over the lives of its members and their families. The church believes that homosexuality is a sort of “demonic possession.”
Lowry, a former member of the Word of Faith Fellowship, said that in August 2011, the church held him against his will and then a group of men came after him and assaulted him repeatedly.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s office, which investigated the case, released a report written by Lowry last year saying that the men assaulted him because he was gay and that he “had demons in him and…was going to hell.”
The church denied holding Lowry against his will and assaulting him in a statement on their website.