Is “The Parable of the Good Faggot” Sexually Explicit Material?

I don’t make too much money from my Adsense account, but it is good to think that it at least helps to cover costs (not by any means all of them), so it was alarming tonight to find this urgent message on my Adsense account:

Google AdSense ad serving has been disabled to your site

This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. ——————————————————————————————————————————- Hello, During a recent review of your account we found that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program policies (https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=48182&stc=aspe-1pp-en). ————————————————– EXAMPLE PAGE: http://myqueerscripture.blogspot.com/2011/05/parable-of-good-faggot.html Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of this website or other sites in your network. VIOLATION(S) FOUND: ADULT/EXPLICIT TEXT: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content, including sexually explicit text. More information about this policy can be found in our help center ( https://www.google.com/adsense/support/as/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=105957 ). ACTION TAKEN: We have disabled ad serving to your site. ACCOUNT STATUS: ACTIVE Your AdSense account remains active. However, please note that our team reserves the right to disable your account at any time. As such, we encourage you to become familiar with our program policies and monitor your network accordingly. Issue ID# 15805149 ————————————————– Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely, The Google AdSense Team —————- For more information regarding this email, please visit our Help Center: https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=1342779&stc=aspe-ai4-en.

What makes it porn? I haven’t a clue. “Faggot” is one possibility, another is that the victim is left “naked”. But by that standard, the original Bible passage would also qualify as “sexually explicit”. J suspect that this could be a case of some Google functionary being offended at the very idea of a Bible passage being retold from an LGBT point of view and vetoed it on the fallacious assumption that anything at all that deals with gay themes is “adult” (just as some web filters automatically block a wide range of lgbt material, but accept exactly comparable straight sites as “educational”. Amazon experienced a similar problem last year, when much its LGBT catalogue was suddenly labelled “adult”, until public outcry got it to recant.

I thought this was a serious discussion of a well-known Biblical parable. Google seems to think it is porn. I’ve written to them, asking for clarifiaction of their ruling:

This is a serious discussion of a biblical passage, in which as a committed and practicing Catholic, I have written about an insightful reflection by a Catholic theologian.

 Similar observations apply to other posts on this site. Unless the objection is simply to biblical reflection from the perspective of a gay man, I cannot begin to see what there is in the post, or elsewhere on the the site, that could be considered remotely “adult” or sexually explicit. Can you please clarify?

I’d appreciate any help in getting this publicized. I thought that Google likes to be considered supportive of LGBT equality, but this is a bizarre contradiction of that idea.
Here’s the “Parable of the Good Faggot” that Google is objecting to,  copied from its regular home at “My Queer Scripture”.

The Parable of the Good Faggot

Fr Geoff Farrow has a post on Delivery “Salvation”, in which he describes an encounter with two young men who came to his door attempting to deliver some salvation, in the form of a pep talk on heaven and hell. We are all familiar with the scenario. How many of us though, have the presence of mind to reply as he did, by quoting from the Gospel of Luke:
Jesus was asked about the afterlife in the Luke 10: 23-37. “Rabbi, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?” The question, by a lawyer, was prompted because there were 614 laws that an observant Jewish person was expected to keep. To break one law, was to break them all. In the rabbinic tradition of questioning/discussion this question was posited, “What does God expect of me?” “What is essential, or central?”
This question is applicable to contemporary people as well, regardless of one’s religion (or lack thereof), “What must I do to achieve my full potential, to be truly whole and at peace?”
In the rabbinic tradition, Jesus answers the lawyer’s question with two other questions. “What is written in the law [Torah/Bible]?” In addition, “How do you read it?” Incidentally, that second question is of critical importance, because our motive in reading any spiritual text, will determine its spiritual value/harm in our life.
The lawyer responded by citing a passage from Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 “Hear, Oh Israel!” that is prayed by observant Jewish people to this day, as Christians pray the “Our Father.” And Leviticus 19: 18, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus approves the lawyer’s quotes and says, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you shall live.”
Luke notes that the lawyer, “because he wished to justify himself” asked, “and who is my neighbor?” Jesus then tells the story of the Good Samaritan.
Interestingly, Samaritans were regard as being beyond any hope of eternal life since they had comingled Judaism with pagan beliefs and practices. Their theological beliefs and religious practices were seen as flawed, heretical and impious. Jesus deliberately selects a suspect minority group who were believed beyond hope of eternal life to illustrate what God expects from us. I suppose that if Jesus told this parable in the USA today, it would  be the story of the Good Faggot.
 
He does not elaborate further on this idea of recasting the familiar Good Samaritan as a Good Faggot, but there is no need. It has been done before, for example by Richard Cleaver, in the introduction to his book “Know My Name“. I summarise his telling here:

Cleaver imagines a modern traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho, who is attacked by muggers and left for dead in the gutter. A bishop comes past  in his Cadillac, which had been given to him by a car dealer, one of the most generous financial supporters of the diocese. Seeing the half-dead body at the roadside, he first thought it was just a pile of litter. Realizing it was a human body, he considered stopping, but decided against: he saw that the body was naked, and feared that taking a naked man into his car might cause a scandal. So, he drove on, consoling himself that these kinds of social services were better left to the professionals.
He then describes another traveller passing by, a prominent Catholic layman. He too thought of helping the man by the wayside, but then considered the implications. If the man was already dead, it was too late for help, and he would find himself caught up in endless bureaucratic red tape. If he was not dead and recovered, there was a danger that the injured man might find a reason to sue him for any mishap en route to the hospital. There was also the problem of the man’s nakedness -  what had happened to his clothes? There was an assumption that the man obviously was not a man of god to be in that state, or must have done something to bring about his own misfortune. So he, too, went on his way.
Then a third traveller came past, a gay man returning home from his head office in Jerusalem, where he had just been fired, because someone had discovered he was gay, after his lover had beaten to death in a gay-bashing. When he saw the injured man, he immediately stopped, and was reminded of his lover’s beating and death. Realising the man was still just about alive, he applied what first aid he could, loaded him into the car and drove him to the nearest hospital.
“Later, the newspapers got hold of the story and came to interview him.  The bishop read the story and called a press conference, at which he announced that the diocese was giving its Good Samaritan Award to the man who had helped the mugging victim he himself had driven past.
At the award banquet, held at the episcopal palace, the bishop stood with this arm around the good Samaritan and gave a little homily about showing mercy to the neighbour in distress. This act, he concluded, showed a true Christian spirit. He turned to the man and shook his hand, adding, “God will bless you abundantly for this.”
“Oh, I didn’t do it for religious reasons. It just seemed to me like the human thing to do. I haven’t been to church since my priest refused me absolution when I confessed I was in love with the redheaded guy who was captain of the football team.” The gay man smiled at the cameras.
The bishop was trying to figure out how to deal with the question he knew was coming next.”

Cleaver, Richard: Know My Name: A Gay Liberation Theology

Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 comments for “Is “The Parable of the Good Faggot” Sexually Explicit Material?

  1. May 24, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Terence, I read the entire repost as well as the original page, so I’m curious what word would make it porn?   Faggot?   At least they kept your account still active.

    • May 24, 2012 at 6:49 am

      What makes it porn? I haven’t a clue.

      I spotted Google’s message on my Adsense account only late last night, just on the point of going to bed, so I did not have time to do more than post just the basic fact of Google’s action. I’ve since incorporated a response to Loganbear’s question into the main post, together with the text of my query to Adsense.

  2. Chris Morley
    May 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I think it will be the word faggot. Probably it’s on a list of unacceptable words. I do however wonder if action has been taken following a complaint from a fundamentalist objecting to the queer retelling and Adsense hasn’t done anymore than accept the complaint without giving it any proper thought.

    On their program policies page https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&stc=aspe-1pp-en&answer=48182 , see:

    “Content guidelines

    Publishers may not place AdSense code on pages with content that
    violates any of our content guidelines. Some examples include content
    that is adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance.
    View full content policies.”

    Try to click “View content policies” to see how they explain their ADULT/EXPLICIT TEXT rules.
    I can’t get that ‘link’ to do anything. When my mouse is over it, it displays the address as
    javascript:toggleLayer(‘sc3′);toggleZippy(‘a3′)
    which is not an active link.
    Maybe with a different browser on a Windows machine it will work (I’m on a Mac using Firefox).
    Or try to log-in to your Adsense account “for a more customized Help Center experience” and ask / search for “content policies” from there.

    Sorry can’t help more.

    • May 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks. Chris.

      I also think this is a knee jerk reaction to a fundie complaint. I’ve written to Adsense (no response yet), and unfortunately have just hit a patch where I’m juggling two jobs invigilation and deliveries, as well as attending to blogs, and just don’t have too much time to do too much more.

  3. Chris Morley
    May 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I did a bit of searching: “Adsense content policies adult/explicit text rules”
    and found this page  http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/69358
    ” ADULT/EXPLICIT TEXT: As stated in our program policies, AdSense
    publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or
    mature content, including sexually explicit text. More information about
    this policy can be found in our help center (https://www.google.com/adsense/support/ … wer=105957). ”
    Unfortunately that link doesn’t work

    The post basically says you have to figure out what’s upset google yourself – this example was a link to a song by the Dead Kennedy’s called “Kinky Sex Makes The World Go Round,”
    the song has nothing to do with sex of any kind, but is about
    corporations starting wars for profit.
    So in that context, the word faggot, perhaps in association with naked etc, may have triggered the account suspension.

    That page also suggested you try ‘Post a Question’ on forums here
    http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!categories/adsense/i-have-an-active-account-working-with-adsense

    Also check out this “family safe” explanation page. http://adsense.blogspot.co.uk/2007/11/play-it-safe-family-safe.html

    Don’t think in terms of ‘porn’, family-safe is a much more sensitive standard.

    …. “may include any material that is not appropriate for *all audiences*.
    While this obviously includes full nudity or sexual activity, it may
    also *include textually explicit sexual content*, …

    I wonder if this is the problem,
    faggot + naked + gay man and this piece of the story
    “when I confessed I was in love with the redheaded guy who was captain of the football team.”

Leave a Reply