- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Internet media giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google are not giving Christian and other faith-based groups a fair shake on the Web, according to a new report released Thursday by a religious broadcasters group.

The report, released Thursday by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), stated that many of the biggest new Internet sites blocked Christian content and refused to accept faith-based advertisements. In particular, religious content taking a stand against homosexuality was blocked for fear of offending other users.

“Our conclusion is that Christian ideas and other religious content face a clear and present danger of censorship on Web-based communication platforms,” the 43-page report concluded.

Out of several major Internet-interactive “new media” platforms and service providers, only one - Twitter - did not exhibit a strong anti-Christian bias, according to the study.

Apple and its iTunes App Store, Facebook, MySpace (prior to its recent change in ownership), Google, Twitter, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon were reviewed for the NRB’s John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech, spearheaded by Craig Parshall, senior vice president and general counsel of the NRB.

“Our concern is not just anti-Christian censorship, although we will give examples that seem to indicate that that’s a particular concern,” Mr. Parshall said at a National Press Club briefing. “The current paradigm that we’re seeing with censorship seems to be oriented towards people of faith and ideas that are religious based.”

NRB officials said they did not inform any of the organizations that they would be compiling the report and based their findings solely on what has been published and made available to the public.

Several companies singled out in the report, including Apple, Face and Google, did not return calls seeking comment at deadline.

As an example for their concerns, the NRB researchers noted that in March Apple removed the app for Exodus International, a Christian ministry that works with “individuals and families impacted by homosexuality,” according to the ministry’s website. The organization takes the position that homosexual acts do not correlate with biblical teachings.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told FoxNews.com that the app “had indeed been deemed offensive and removed … [and] it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”

Apple officials acted only after a gay rights groups organized a petition protesting the app that attracted 146,000 signatures.

But the NRB report said that Apple’s policies were “dangerously overboard and vague … and are, in some instances, viewpoint-censorious on the subject of religion.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill “need to know our concerns,” Mr. Parshall said. “… We don’t want legislation or regulation, we want voluntary compliance. But sometimes, you need to take actions to get the attention of the people that you want to be attentive to your issues.”