This week, Amazon removed books from its website by the late Joseph Nicolosi, the so-called “father of conversion therapy.” Nicolosi spent his career convincing people they could change their sexual orientation and that homosexuality was something that needed to (and could) be prevented. He died in 2017.
For months now, activists have been pushing for Amazon to stop letting gay torture advocates use the company to funnel its products. One petition at Change.org had over 80,000 signatures and argued that Nicolosi’s books have led to “mental health issues including depression, self-harm, and suicide.” For Amazon to profit from that was appalling.
And now those books are off the site. They’re still available elsewhere, but Amazon isn’t offering them. Good on them.
Now Dr. Michael Brown at Charisma is worried that Amazon will come after the Bible next.
… for claiming that sexual orientation is not innate and immutable, and for claiming that change is possible, [Amazon says] Dr. Nicolosi’s books must be banned.
This leads to the logical question: Will Amazon ban the Bible next? There is no hyperbole here.
Why, then, should Amazon ban his books but continue to sell the Bible, which provides the theological underpinnings for Dr. Nicolosi’s scientific work?
After all, gay critics of the Bible refer to the so-called “clobber passages,” referring to verses which have been used to speak against homosexual practice. If these verses, then, have brought such harm to the gay community, why shouldn’t the book containing these verses be banned?
There’s a difference between books that promote harm and cruelty and books people claim justify hate and cruelty. Plenty of progressive Christians would argue the biblical “clobber verses” are taken out of context and that their holy book isn’t nearly as bigoted as conservatives might suggest.
Amazon isn’t censoring Nicolosi because his views are politically incorrect. They’re not selling his books because they’re providing a guidebook for torture. It’s the same reason they got rid of books that claimed drinking bleach could “cure” autism.
If the issue was merely that of disagreement, Amazon couldn’t sell anything concerning religious or politics. This isn’t about a bad opinion. (Amazon is still selling books written by conservative writers.) It’s about immoral, illegal advocacy. It’s about getting rid of a book that leads to death.
There’s no slippery slope. There is no First Amendment violation. There is only hyperbole.
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