Since Jesus' death — and ultimate resurrection — the cross has been controversial.
The Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic college in Ohio, said last week Facebook blocked one of its ads, which depicted Jesus on the cross, because it was “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent” in nature.
In a statement, the college said it agreed with Facebook's characterization of the image, noting in a press release, “The Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things.”
An ad we placed was rejected by Facebook today for content that is “shocking, sensational, and excessively violent.”
— Franciscan U (@FranciscanU) March 30, 2018
Facebook is now apologizing for the incident.
The image, which was posted on Good Friday, should not have been scrubbed from the social media site, Facebook said in a statement, which Fox News obtained.
“Our team processes millions of ads each week, and sometimes we make mistakes,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have already let the advertiser know we approved their ad.”
The decision to remove the ad was particularly noteworthy, given the California-based company had in the past approved many other similar posts from the religious college.
The Catholic university sees the mistake as a “teachable moment.”
Rejection is how the world responds to Jesus — the son of God — humbling himself to the point of death on a cross, Tom Crowe, the university's web communications director, said in a post about the dust-up with Facebook.
“I hope people take another look at the cross and see what God did for us,” he told Fox News. “Whether it's a return to faith or an investigation of this weird thing called Christianity.”
Jesus remained on the cross, Crowe said, not because of the nails but because of his immense love for humanity.
“He could have descended from the cross at any moment,” the college spokesman wrote. “No, it was love that kept him there. Love for you and for me, that we might not be eternally condemned for our sins but might have life eternal with him and his Father in heaven.”
Crowe believes Facebook's decision may have been discriminatory.
He told Fox News that Facebook had approved other ads “with the exact same image” in the past.
“Which again leads me to believe it wasn't an algorithm,” he explained, “but was a low-level staffer who skims many, many ads and just had something personal against this one.”
Crowe made clear he wasn't suggesting “systemic religious bigotry” exists within the social media site but said this incident is an isolated example of religious discrimination.