Facebook considers whether Gateway is 'hate group'


By Diana Chandler

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) — Gateway Seminary is cooperating with Facebook to show the school is not a "hate group" in efforts to boost a post describing the Bible as the ultimate authority.

Image courtesy BP

Facebook refused to boost a post linking Gateway President Jeff Iorg's March 5 blog entry entitled "Logical Progression," which mentioned abortion, gender issues, and polygamy in asserting the domino effect of unbiblical decisions.

"Holding the line on positions based on timeless biblical standards as an ultimate authority has been and always will be important," is the focus of the post Iorg sought to boost. Facebook refused.

"My understanding is Facebook has requested, and we have provided, additional information about me and the seminary," Iorg told Baptist Press today. "They are seeking to establish we are a valid company, not a hate group or a foreign entity."

Facebook requires pages, according to the message the platform sent in refusing the boost, "to be authorized to run ads related to politics and issues of national importance…. To continue," Facebook told Gateway, "please complete the one-time authorization process."

As of yesterday, Gateway was awaiting Facebook's response.

Jeff Iorg

"So far, we have had a cooperative relationship in trying to resolve these issues," Iorg told BP. "We understand their 'flags' but at the same time will not compromise our message. They have not asked us to do that, only to provide documentation to prove our legitimacy."

In Iorg's blog at gs.edu/presidents-blog, he wrote a March 11 entry following Facebook's response to his initial request.

"The phrase 'timeless biblical' sets off warning bells for many people," Iorg wrote. "They prefer standards based on their perception -- 'my truth' or 'my reality' -- rather than anything field-tested by centuries of best practices.

"And biblical?" Iorg wrote March 11. "Who cares about ancient texts? Not many people today seem interested in discovering answers from the ground-source for the Judeo-Christian worldview. And more than that, doing so earns you the label 'intolerant.'"

Iorg's original blog entry was not about abortion, gender issues, or polygamy, he explained March 5, but were only logical examples.

"Gender issues is an example," he wrote March 5. "Recent news reports indicated $8 million has been spent by the military on medical care for persons going through gender reassignment." That is "hard to accept," Iorg wrote, "when the VA medical system cannot provide adequate care for veterans, including the wounded. But, paying for gender-reassignment treatment is a natural outcome of changing laws about gender."

Iorg still expects a positive outcome from Facebook, he told BP.

"We are working to resolve the issues so we can continue to advertise with them," Iorg said. "We expect to resolve this issue in a positive way."

The main campus for Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention is located in Ontario, Calif. The Western Association of Senior Colleges and Universities Commission officially reaccredited Gateway March 4, describing its online program in particular as "high quality" and exhibiting "the best practices in distance education."

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor.

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