LGBT activists and other critics have pelted a Christian pastor's mail with threats, gay porn, and other hate messages after he spoke out against Facebook's new rainbow flag emoji.
Speaking to The Christian Post on July 6, Pastor Rich Penkoski said he and his colleagues have banned more than 900,000 Facebook users for posting a rainbow flag emoji on their Facebook page Warriors for Christ. He lamented that nobody had asked them for their reason for not wanting the pro-LGBT emoji on their page.
"The thing about the rainbow flag is nobody asked why we didn't want it on our page. The issue was that the rainbow emoji is a pride symbol for homosexuality and we are a Christian ministry," Pastor Penkoski told the Post. "We don't celebrate sin and we are not going to embrace it now. We know, as Christians, that sin leads to death."
The West Virginia pastor also lamented the way gay blogs and publications pounced on them after "The Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta wrote about their anti-gay stance on Patheos.com. Almost overnight, they began receiving death threats and hate messages, which prompted Penkoski to change his phone number and list the local police station as his home address.
Penkoski also said somebody sent fecal matter and gay porn to his house, plus he found out that his car had been keyed. Another threatened to rape him if he disrespected the pride flag. For him, no decent human being would issue such threats regardless of their religious background and that these hate messages just aim to silence Christians.
"People can't stand that. They can't stand any disagreement," Penkoski added. "They automatically assume that it is hatred and nothing can be further from the truth."
Meanwhile, Facebook has recently announced that the rainbow pride reaction emoji would be making a comeback in selected countries. The feature was added in June to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, but was removed in July, NBC News reported.
A Facebook representative sent NBC an email that said netizens in countries with Pride celebrations will be able to use the rainbow emoji during their designated Pride month. The social media giant, however, warned that the new feature is still in the testing phase and will not be available in all locations.