On the 9th of June, Facebook unveiled a rainbow flag reaction emoji which allowed users to celebrate and honour the LGBTQ community.
It was well received by many, not unexpectedly.
The move was a part of Facebook’s efforts to spread love and diversity online during Pride month, which to be honest is something the Internet needs more of. Facebook also wanted to acknowledge their support of all communities with the flag.
For the queers in particular, the icon felt like a special nod to the rainbow flag’s creator, Gilbert Baker, who died in March.
However, some conservative christians were not so pleased by the social media giant’s gesture leading them to demand for a cross reaction emoji.
On June 24, Facebook user Hikmat Hanna posted an image asking the social network to create a cross reaction emoji. The next day, Hanna’s post caught the eye of Arizona-based evangelist and internet personality Joshua Feuerstein, who shared the image with his more than two million Facebook followers.
Feuerstein’s conservative views are well-established. In 2015, he unsuccessfully tried to order a cake that read, “We do not support gay marriage,” from a Florida bakery.
In December of that year he also took Starbucks to task after they released festive cups that made no direct reference to Christmas.
Feuerstein’s post has racked up more than 19,000 likes, and has been shared more than 9,000 times. While some shared the same conservative views as Feuerstein; “You can’t cheat nature. God cannot create people of the same sex to ever fall in love with one another,” one person commented. “He can’t.” Added another: “People took a symbol like the rainbow which means beauty and a non-destructive action and turned it into a destructive sinful symbol.”
While others took a defensive stance; “Perhaps as Christians, we should be more worried about our own sins and learning the word of our lord before passing judgment onto others or worrying about what reactions Facebook has available,” one user wrote. “Just a thought.”
Nonetheless, Facebook has squelched speech on the emoji request. In an email to the Huffington Post, a Facebook spokesperson addressed Feuerstein’s request, “This reaction is not actually available on Facebook, and is not something we’re working on.”