Facebook resists demands from Christian campaigners to add crucifix reaction icon

The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, February 1, 2017. | Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Social media giant Facebook has resisted demands from Christian campaigners to add a cross reaction emoji on its platform.

The proposal to add a crucifix icon came after Facebook unveiled a "rainbow flag" reaction emoji on June 9 to mark LGBT Pride month.

Facebook stated that the flag emoji was part of its efforts to "celebrate love and diversity," while reaffirming the company's stance as a "platform that supports all communities." The new emoji has also been seen by some as a tribute to the rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker, who died in March.

On June 24, Hikmat Hanna, an openly conservative Christian, posted an image asking for a cross reaction emoji, arguing that if LGBT flag was fine for Facebook, it should have no problem adding a crucifix icon on the platform.

Hanna's post caught the attention of Arizona-based evangelist Joshua Feuerstein, who then shared the image to his two million followers.

The image has gained significant attention from Facebook users, having been shared over 9,000 times, garnering 20,000 likes and drawing more than 2,000 comments.

While some comments were supportive of Hanna's proposal, others challenged the idea, noting that Facebook will also have to add symbols for other religions.

"OK so by that logic there should be one for Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and all other religions. Stop feeling persecuted, because it's not like they have reactions for all faiths except Christianity," Jamie Dunham wrote.

Another user appeared to take a defensive stance, saying: "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."

On Thursday, a Facebook spokesperson told the Huffington Post in an email that there are no plans to make cross emoji available on the website. "This reaction is not actually available on Facebook, and is not something we're working on," the spokesperson wrote.

Feuerstein drew controversy in 2015 when he unsuccessfully tried to order a cake with the message, "We do not support gay marriage," from a Florida bakery. That same year, he made a video criticizing Starbucks for failing to add any reference to Christmas on their festive red cups.

He recently called for a boycott of McDonald's fast food chain after it released its rainbow colored French fry boxes last month as part of its efforts to celebrate gay pride month.

"I'm tired of corporations trying to influence our families like this. SHARE THIS and let people know to STOP EATING at McDonalds!" he wrote.