The pastor of a small-town Baptist church in Georgia says he got banned from YouTube after he posted video of a Sunday sermon he gave about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
“Apparently, they didn’t like me preaching on radical Islam, so I got booted and banned,” said Daniel Ausbun, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Moreland, Ga. “This is sermon censorship.”
On Aug. 24, Ausbun delivered a sermon about the Islamic State, terrorism, radical Islam and Christian persecution in the Middle East.
“So many people in the church had been asking about it,” the pastor told me. “This was almost more of an educational sermon.”
Based on a copy of his sermon notes, the pastor based his message on several New Testament verses – including Matthew 24:9. That verse reads: “Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name.”
Ausbun told his congregation that Middle Eastern Christians were given a choice to convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave immediately or face death. He also warned that ISIS is recruiting Westerners. He encouraged the church to pray for the Gospel message to advance despite terrorism and war.
About three-and-a-half years ago, Ausbun started a YouTube channel for church members who missed the Sunday service. Over the years, he posted dozens of sermon videos without a single problem – until Aug. 27.
“I received an email from YouTube telling me that my account had been terminated for violation of the terms of service and their community guidelines,” he said. “They actually terminated my entire account.”
Ausbun said he decided to read YouTube’s community guidelines, and that’s when he put two and two together. They thought his sermon amounted to hate speech.
YouTube clearly states that it doesn’t permit “hate speech” – and that includes “speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion” and so on and so forth.
“They didn’t tell me exactly why they terminated my account, but by default there was nothing else wrong,” Ausbun said. “It had to be hate speech.”
For the past week he’s been trying to reach someone at YouTube to explain what happened. So far, his calls have gone unreturned. I sent them a message, too. So far, no response.
“They didn’t like what I preached on,” Ausbun said. “I shared about radical Islam from a Christian perspective, and they consider that to be hate speech.”