A Crossroads Church official said they are not initiating a free speech discussion with big tech companies over a video depicting Jesus, but the headline of an article on their website calls out a couple of social media giants. by using the word “censored.”
The church said tech giants Facebook and YouTube temporarily blocked an Easter video showing re-enactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The church claims that the platforms flagged the videos for violence in a post on its website.
“We had to make a few small adjustments to our online Easter service to use video in the way we expected on some social media channels,” said Kyle Ranson, pastor of the Crossroads online church community, in a written statement. .
Facebook and YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The incident has sparked conversations on multiple topics, Ranson said.
“We are not interested so much in making a statement on free speech as in focusing on the value of the brutal crucifixion of Jesus and what it tells us about how deeply God loves each of us,” he said.
Ranson continued: “The intention of sharing what happened was to create understanding, not to condemn social media companies.”
The church has six locations in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, one in Dayton, Ohio, and three in central Kentucky, including one in Lexington.
Brian Tome, Crossroads Senior Pastor, featured the nearly 50-minute video available on the church’s website. The video includes scenes of a man portraying a bloody Jesus Christ carrying the cross and close-ups of a wooden peg that is driven into a doll while music plays.
There are songs, dance performances, first-person testimonies and the preaching of Tome.
The church, in its post on the website, said social media companies sent “rejection notices” on Thursday night for appearing to be profiting from a tragic event with no clear benefit to users. The church post, written by Ranson, notes at the end that Facebook and YouTube agreed to show the scenes after an appeals process.
“Facebook and YouTube censored our Easter video,” was the title of the website post that takes up the idea that there can be resurrection without suffering and crucifixion.
Crossroads noted that they edited a portion of the church’s Easter video YouTube flagged for COVID-19 misinformation with a reference to the negative effects of the pandemic on mental health.
“We just agreed with their findings and we empathize with the difficult experience many of us have had over the past year,” Ranson wrote on the church’s website. “Ultimately, to make sure we had an Easter video posted on time, we edited that section.”