Facebook has confessed it was mistaken when it banned an ad featuring the image of Jesus on a cross on Good Friday and says the image now is acceptable for use.

Fox News reported a Facebook official told the news agency: “This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have already let the advertiser know we approved their ad.”

WND reported the image of the San Damiano Cross, showing Jesus in glory, “reigning from his cruciform throne,” was refused by Facebook because of its “shocking content.”

“This is what the monitors at Facebook consider excessively violent, sensational, and shocking,” said a statement from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

The university said it had posted a series of ads to Facebook to promote an online degree program for theology, catechetics and evangelization.

Explained Facebook at the time, “Your image, video thumbnail or video can’t contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.”

The university replied in a statement: “And indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of these things. It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God. It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was ‘obedient unto death, even death of a cross.’

“And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.”

The image shows a fair-skinned Jesus nailed to a cross but virtually no gore.

The slogan with the image is “We teach those who teach the faith.”

The Franciscan University statement about the dispute noted “it was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross: he was God, he could have descended from the Cross at any moment. No, it was love that kept him there.”

Fox News reported a Facebook official said, “Our team processes millions of ads each week, and sometimes we make mistakes.”

Facebook said the ad was approved Monday, but Tom Crowe, Steubenville’s Web communications director, told Fox it was at that time still being rejected.

“That said, it is also true that Facebook approved other ads with the exact same image, which again leads me to believe it wasn’t an algorithm, but was a low-level staffer who skims many, many ads and just had something personal against this one,” he said. “I’ll reiterate that I’m not claiming systemic religious bigotry at Facebook, but in this case it seems something like that happened in a one-off situation.”

He continued: “I hope people take another look at the cross and see what God did for us. Whether it’s a return to faith or an investigation of this weird thing called Christianity.”


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