Facebook silent on death threats against Christian pastor, ministry

On Wednesday, Rich Penkoski, pastor of the West Virginia-based Warriors for Christ, told the Conservative Firing Line that he and his staff have been inundated with some of the most vile harassment he has ever seen on Facebook, including threats of rape and death.  Penkoski said the social media giant has ignored all of his reports and refuses to take any action to stop the attacks.

“I’ll sodomize you you hateful pricks (sic),” one message read.

“Death to the scourge and death to the breeders,” read another message.

“I renounced my religion so I could f*** your mom… got a thumbs up from my homie Jesus,” read a third message.

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As of Wednesday, Penkoski said his ministry has been forced to deal with literally two straight days of these kind of attacks.  One group, he added, has even plotted to send gay pornography to his page.  Explicit images like this are a violation of Facebook’s terms, as are the threats leveled against him and his group.

But for some reason, the social media site refuses to take any action, and ministry volunteers have spent countless hours deleting messages and banning “trolls,” who seem to be inspired by “Pride month.”

This isn’t the first time Penkoski has been targeted by pro-LGBT activists and it’s not the first time Facebook has dismissed death threats as we reported here.

What makes this so egregious is that Penkoski has been in contact with Facebook staffers in an effort to mitigate these kinds of actions for some time.

As we previously reported, his ministry page was yanked, restored, yanked again and restored.  His original page had over 225,000 followers and those were lost when the page was taken down.  According to Penkoski, Facebook promised to transfer those followers to his new page, but that has not happened.

The company also promised to deal with issues regarding the protection of his trademark and to clear up issues of bias against Christians.

But, Penkoski said, none of that has been done, despite multiple emails and phone conversations.

Now, he added, the site is removing many of his live videos immediately after being published.  According to Penkoski, Facebook blamed it on a “glitch.”

Penkoski told me Thursday night that at this point, he does not believe Facebook is an honest broker.  He further said that he is considering all of his legal options and has already spoken to an attorney.

We reached out to multiple contacts at Facebook for comment, but have received no response as of this writing.

Issues like this, by the way, are what inspired yours truly to write “Banned: How Facebook Enables Militant Islamic Jihad” with American-Israeli Adina Kutnicki.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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