Abortion | Catholic Church | Facebook | Italy

Anti-Gay Facebook Troll Enrages Italy

084442999-cd4943f6-0f8d-4e62-a920-d20cb15dfee1Last week, the Italian internet was briefly galvanized by an anonymous troll with a rather Catholic-looking Facebook page (see right), apparently created to advocate for the abortion of gay fetuses. Yes -- gay fetuses, which, claimed the troll, doctors now have the ability to identify with some specificity. The page launched on June 19th, with this exhortation:

Too many people have been misled by the false morality of the sodomites. But now, thanks to the miracle of science, we can prevent this. Yes, it is terrible to abort even the poor children burdened with sodomite genes, but it is the lesser evil. 

(The translation's approximate, but that's the gist.)

The page stuck around, and its author stayed busy. Eventually, if I've got the translation right, it seems the author began to provide fake reports from clinics about the murder of infants -- in one case, a report of gay babies who'd been strangled with their umbilical cords. Fake testimonials from fake mothers appeared, including this one:

After my [unborn] son was diagnosed with homosexuality, I wandered aimlessly and craved death above all things ... After aborting the homosexual fetus I became pregnant again. My son is now healthy. I have seen God. I am happy.

It was all insane. It looked like the mindless jabbering of an under-supervised and over-caffeinated 14-year-old with psych issues. None of it was very worth thinking about. Except -- for some reason, this particular detonation of nuttery managed to capture the attention of thousands. By the end of last week, when public furor over the troll caused Facebook to can his account, the profile had racked up more than 2,000 comments, and illicited comment from Italian politicians. Paola Tanning, some kind of official with the Democratic Party, threatened legal action against Facebook if the troll's page didn't disappear. Paola Concia, a member of the Italian parliament, publicly expressed solidarity with any gay kids who might have seen the page. And Stoppello Daniel, a famed lawyer who deals with cases of threats and discrimination against gays, told La Repubblica that the Facebook page was actionable:

In my opinion, [the page demonstrates] abuse of popular credulity -- Article 661 of the penal code -- in which you try to deceive people by promoting scientifically false and completely unfounded hypotheses, exploiting ignorance ... We shouldn't underestimate the fact that [the profile constitutes] a public incitement to abortion.

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  1. Fundamentalist churches will fall over themselves to legalize abortion if this ever becomes possible

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 1, 2012 9:04:26 AM

  2. ahyes...the christians - lying again.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Jul 1, 2012 9:05:07 AM

  3. Late '90's there was a made for tv movie that addressed this ... Can't remember the name. Does anyone??? I think it was something along the lines of "The world of the goldman's"

    Posted by: Ron | Jul 1, 2012 9:28:12 AM

  4. Oh that's a good one! Throw those fundamentalist of any stripe into a moral Catch-22: which do you hate more, abortion or gays? You can't pick both! Someone should try that here (US) and expose their own internal bullsh!t inconsistencies.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jul 1, 2012 9:39:37 AM

  5. Couldn't we turn this around by using it against their argument that sexual orientation is a choice, that we're not born this way?

    Posted by: Roth | Jul 1, 2012 9:40:37 AM

  6. My concern is that this might just turn out to be a hoax concocted by a gay man. I hope not.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 1, 2012 9:46:27 AM

  7. Troll is the correct term for whomever made this FB page, but they are also shills who deliberately wanted to create controversy. This kind of ignorant, childish and sometimes dangerous activity. Happens all the time, including like I've posted before, the many fake 'hate' crimes that occur.

    If you are not aware, google 'Liberation Theology', 'Saul Alinsky'. Fake 'outrages' and manufactured controversy are common tools used by trolls and shill on the left and right.

    BTW: The way most 'radicals' [of any ideology] advocate censoring free speech in Europe is disturbing. Italy is not going to collapse because some ahole[s] put up an obnoxious fake FB page, or because someone says something rude, obnoxious, or something you just plain don't agree with. Remember this next time you're lectured about how 'progressive' certain people or countries are; 99% of the time what it means is opposing speech and ideas have been censored/stifled and people are literally afraid to say what they really think. It simply sends real homophobia, racism, etc. underground, even radicalizes it and can make it appear attractive to unbalanced people. There are numerous places in the world praised for their 'progressive' laws and such, but generally that's the reality; laws were passed by powerful interests groups that say the 'correct' thing, and make everybody feel good. Add to this what I said above about censoring free speech [yes, that means things you disagree with, find obnoxious, etc] and you've got something that looks good....on paper at least. The reality is even Sweden, the Netherlands, and other places held up by especially radical far left 'progressives' as Nirvana, the average person has had their ability to speak their mind about 'sensitive' issues stifled and censored, and most people [just like most in the U.S.] are apathetic, so they just shut up. In some countries, even places we feel close to because our laws and culture are based and aligned with them, like the UK, have laws that allow police to arrest someone just for saying something 'mean spirited' or 'racist', and you can be imprisoned, and people are, routinely. Of course the people who advocate these censorship and 'hate' speech laws want to reserve the ability to use 'hate' speech against those people and things they don't like, and they do.

    These types of censorship and 'hate' speech laws and the general mentality behind those who advocate them, hasn't come to fruition in the U.S. nearly to the extent they have in more 'progressive' countries like our neighbor, Canada [which has extra-judicial 'Human Rights Tribunals', for example] and many Euro countries, including the UK. So comparing attitudes among various societies/nations regarding controversial and 'sensitive' subjects is a difficult undertaking, again because real free speech is stifled and censored, and people are afraid to say what they may be really thinking. In the advanced western 1st world, only in the U.S. can you still say what you really think on 'sensitive' subjects, like 'racism' and 'homophobia', etc. without fear of being arrested and/or charged with a crime.

    I prefer knowing as well as possible people's true attitudes about things like homosexuality and not get statistics and surveys telling me what I want to hear or designed to make me just feel good, like you would and do in societies that actively restrict and censor free speech on these subjects.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 1, 2012 9:56:40 AM

  8. It's satire. And like any good satire it provokes thought and exposes hypocrisy (how does one reconcile being dogmatically "pro-life" and rabidly anti-gay?).

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jul 1, 2012 9:59:52 AM

  9. Of course Europe has had a horrendous track record in the near past [late 19th, early-mid 20th century] regarding things like racism, eugenics, etc. which cultivated in war[s] that killed HUNDREDS of millions of people, widespread devastation, an attempt at annihilating a specific 'race' [Jews]. But the people and ideologies responsible directly for these events were from both the far right AND far left. It wasn't just the Nazis and Fascists, it was also Marxists and Communist on the far left, who actually probably ended up killing more people than the Nazis, and enslaving a nation [Russia] for 70 years, resulting in nation in 2012 that is far less 'progressive' and advanced socially, economically, and politically than it's western Euro neighbors. So Europeans can be excused to some extent for their hyper-sensitive attitudes on certain things. But what's really going on is 'radicals' are using this 'guilt' to control and stifle speech. This is certainly not a healthy thing.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 1, 2012 10:10:44 AM


    That should read CULMINATED not 'Cultivated'

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 1, 2012 10:12:33 AM

  11. @Ron

    the Name of the movie I believe you are talking about is:

    The Twilight of the Golds


    Posted by: Derek | Jul 1, 2012 10:21:53 AM

  12. I think it's interesting... almost a new twist on performance art.

    Insanely provocative, it brought out people's core beliefs, beyond whatever religious fable they may follow.

    Or, maybe just whack-job. ;)

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Jul 1, 2012 10:22:40 AM

  13. Agree that this is a beautiful satire. There actually is science to suggest that hormone levels in the fetus contribute to determining sexual orientation. So, theoretically scientists might be able to predict the orientation of an unborn child. If orientation could be predicted, would a fiercely Catholic nation choose abortion over introducing another "sodomite" into the world? The FB page was merely calling attention to one of many inconsistencies in the Christian faith.

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 1, 2012 10:37:06 AM

  14. @Jason and others,

    This 'satire' is actually being used by people like this Italian Democratic Party woman to censor free speech. So it may indeed be a 'brilliant' piece of satire, but it's being used for base political and ideological purposes. And it can genuinely confuse less shall we say sophisticated people.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 1, 2012 10:41:17 AM

  15. It must be satire. C'mon folks, you KNOW that the Pope would say (if you could determine in the fetus that a child would grow up to be gay, which ya still can't), he'd say 'let the child be born gay and live his life in torment so we can judge and try to change him his whole life anyway...."

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Jul 1, 2012 10:42:17 AM

  16. Regardless of what it is, it's addressing the real problem facing human progress, that being religion. Until humans stop believing such nonsense we can never evolve scientifically and morally.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Jul 1, 2012 10:46:54 AM

  17. There needs to be an Italian Article 661 in the US. It would land most Republicans in jail.

    Posted by: David | Jul 1, 2012 10:57:25 AM

  18. Actually there was an alien invasion on Oct 30-1938 in new Jersey.

    ---opp's that was another media outlet- but they arrived in New Jersey

    Posted by: anthony | Jul 1, 2012 11:14:53 AM

  19. "And it can genuinely confuse less shall we say sophisticated people." -- RAT

    So can The Onion. So DOES The Onion, from time-to-time. Should it be banned?

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jul 1, 2012 11:29:33 AM

  20. The credulous believed it because it sounds just like something the Christianists would advocate for. When they're not busy pushing for the death penalty for gays in Uganda. Or outlawing even saying the word "gay" in Tennessee.

    And it's a shame Article 661 isn't used to go after "unfounded religious hypotheses"...i.e. all of them.

    Posted by: Dagoril | Jul 1, 2012 11:33:54 AM

  21. Gay fetuses? What does the sonogram show a limp wrist or something?

    I thought Christians believed that being gay was a choice and a learned behavior? They can now tell by looking at the fetus how the child will choose. Oooooo. I think their kung fu is more superior than standard science.

    Posted by: Dale | Jul 1, 2012 11:46:02 AM

  22. NO Anastasia. You obviously miss my point completely.

    Although I would say it's incumbent on individuals and groups who advocate hate or radical ideology that targets certain groups for scorn to temper their speech and be aware of the many mentally unstable people and just plain gullible who could, have and well go out and harm others after being indoctrinated or influenced by something they heard or read. This is true for the far right and far left, and for any body actually.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 1, 2012 11:50:48 AM

  23. If I read this article correctly, then it is important that it be noted: neither The Vatican, the Roman Catholic Curia, the Roman Catholic Church's conservative lay organizations, nor The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nor any other Catholic organization stood up and protested that Facebook posting (regardless that is has now been proven to be bogus).

    What does this tell us about the "official" Catholic position should it be proven ultimately (and it is practically a scientific given) that "homosexuality" is actually genetic?

    Can one assume that in this case The Church would support terminating a pregnancy if it could scientifically be proven that the fetus would develop naturally and be born with same-sex orientation?

    The silence was disturbingly deafening.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 1, 2012 12:10:08 PM

  24. Ummmm....there are no genetic tests for homosexuality in utero. The article is- a hoax. Whether satire or not Inc different question.

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Jul 1, 2012 12:15:49 PM

  25. If I were guessing this seems more likely to have come from a gay or pro-gay source. Since there is no genetic (or any other) test to determine the sexuality of a fetus in utero, the Facebook page serves no real anti-gay or Right-Wing purpose. Instead it promotes the idea that being gay IS inborn and creates horror at the idea that abortion could or should be used to wipe them (us) out.

    It's trolling alright, and by getting Italian politicians and others to publicly endorse the rights of unborn gay children I'd say it worked splendidly.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 1, 2012 12:48:18 PM

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