As most people who use Facebook know, the social network rolled out a rainbow flag emoji to commemorate Pride Month this June — and as most people who use Facebook know, a public entity showing any kind of acknowledgement that gay people exist tends to make some conservative Christians a little anxious.
But in a few cases, “anxious” isn’t strong enough a word. As The Huffington Post pointed out this Friday, Christians spoke out across Facebook demanding that the social media platform give them a cross to counter the Pride flag. One of the most engaged posts was from Arizona-based internet preacher Joshua Feuerstein, who posted an image that immediately went viral:
The post, which as of this writing has almost 30,000 likes and almost 10,000 shares, has a huge contingent of Feuerstein supporters commenting while others light up the comment thread with rainbow colors.
“I remind everyone that the rainbow is God’s promise to us and He will never leave us,” one commenter wrote. “He extends this promise to the LGBT community giving them each a chance to turn to Him. So every time they look at their flag they can be reminded that God is real, He loves them and He is still waiting.”
“Amen. nuf said about pushing the ‘gay’agenda!” wrote another commenter. “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! BUUTTTT, God loves you! Only God can ‘define’ or ‘judge’ Jesus died for my sin and yours! Forgiven not Perfect.”
HuffPo reached out to Facebook to see if the outcry was getting any sympathetic ears, but a spokesman from the social media giant wasn’t having it. “This reaction is not actually available on Facebook, and is not something we’re working on,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Feuerstein’s rants go well beyond emojis. Around this time last year in the wake of the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killings, he posted a video to Facebook calling out what is presumably the Black Lives Matter movement. “You want to know what the problem is? It’s that we have this movement in America that is absolutely degrading the lives of good police officers. … Today, we’ve got kids that are growing up in these different homes where the parents are not respecting police or cussing them out and callin’ ’em pigs, telling kids not to trust ’em. That’s the problem!” Feuerstein said.
He even called for violence against Planned Parenthood. In a now-deleted video from the summer of 2015, Feuerstein urged his followers to “punish Planned Parenthood” and make its employees “fear for their lives.” In the thirty second video, Feuerstein graphically, and inaccurately, described what he perceives to be Planned Parenthood’s practices before giving a final warning: “I say tonight, we punish Planned Parenthood. I think its time abortion doctors need to run and hide and be afraid for their life.”
Featured image via screen grab