Nigerian televangelist, T.B. Joshua, has called upon his followers to “pray for YouTube” and not to respond with hate after the video streaming platform shut down the church’s channel for posting videos claiming to “cure homosexuality”.
“Help me pray for YouTube,” Joshua said in his Sunday sermon posted on Facebook. “Pray for them, we must consider them friends, we must be strong”.
Last week, YouTube suspended Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) YouTube channel, which is one of the most subscribed Christian channels on the platform with over 1.8 million subscribers.
The suspension came after a British group – OpenDemocracy complained against claims made in the clip.
In one video, a woman was seen being severely beaten to get her free from the “demon of homosexuality” inside her.
Facebook also removed several videos from its page, which has over 5.6 million subscribers, for violating the company’s policy prohibiting “attacks on people based on their sexual orientation or gender”.
The decision caused a stir and an outcry over the social media in Nigeria, where the evangelical community is extremely powerful and churches number are in the tens of millions.
Nigeria is among the most religious countries in Africa where there are laws against homosexuality. Violators could be sent to prison for 14 years.
TB Joshua, who has a massive influence including heads of state and politicians among his followers, is famous throughout Africa for his “miracles” and “resurrections”. He is one of the richest pastors in the world with an estimated fortune of several million dollars according to Forbes.
He has since set up another YouTube channel which has 24,000 subscribers in less than 24 hours.