Right-Wing Christians: 1, Leftist Christians: 0

So early last week The Christian Left (website; blog; Facebook page) took out this Facebook ad:

Yesterday Facebook sent TCL an email, which in part read:

Thanks for advertising with Facebook. We have reviewed your ad(s) and determined that the one or more of them do not meet our guidelines … .

Reason(s):

·  The text of this ad contains language that is not suitable for display on Facebook. …

·  This ad has been disapproved due to negative user feedback concerning the ad’s content. In general, ads that receive negative user feedback contain offensive content or are targeted improperly. …

Facebook pulled the ad!

The bummer is that at least a dozen members of the TCL Facebook page volunteered funds to pay for the ad (which cost $25 dollars a day; the plan was to run it for seven days). And for the days the ad did run, it brought TCL 25 new Facebook page members a day.

Volunteers stepping forward to literally pay for an idea that worked. Sweet, right?

And then … bam. Sweetness abort.

It’s easy to get a FB ad pulled; all you have to do is hit the little “X” in the upper right hand corner an ad, and then choose from the list of given reasons why you want that ad to go away. One of those reasons is “Offensive.” Enough people click that choice, and I’m sure Facebook just automatically suspends the ad.

So I guess it’s not that big a deal that this ad got yanked.

Still, it’s kind of scary to think that there are Christians out there so angry, and so reactionary, that they would actually go through the little process of hitting the buttons they know will do the most damage possible to an ad as innocuous as this.

Then again, why would I be even slightly surprised by anyone doing that? I get hate mail all the time from crazy right-wing Christians.

Ah, life. How great would it be if everyone just got one already?

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://www.roccocapra.com Rocco

    Love your closing line!!

    • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

      I second that. Excellent line!

  • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky Garrison

    John – I wouldn’t put it past some progressive Christians to click the ‘dislike’ button as well. After all, you are infringing on their turf and they don’t like it when someone else tries to play alpha dog here.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Enemies everywhere!

      • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky Garrison

        Just saying don’t assume it’s always the fundies – Wallis Waffles too you know. :)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Becky: No, you’re totally right, of course. In the dark, anyone can screw you. (Um. Sorry for crudeness. In hurry just now. U know what they say: Haste makes … bad taste.)

  • DR

    I need to stop being surprised. I really do. This should be my default, false hope is postponed grief and these people are not going to go down without a fight.

  • Plutocycle

    But he’s THEIR God…they “own” him and need him to defend their ego and fear-based opintions.

  • Brenda

    Oops – I’ve clicked “offensive” on some ads I thought were just unnecessarily consumerist or negative about body image…I didn’t think FB would really take action! I guess I should stop being so obnoxious… do unto others, etc. you know. :)

    • Mindy

      Nooo, Brenda, you should continue to exercise your freedom of speech, and share your opinions. Everyone, even fundies, have a right to do so. We just have a right to argue with them. :)

  • Rick

    Right-wingers don’t want anyone to have freedom of speech but themselves.

    • DR

      This is precisely my belief as well.

      • Steve

        Of course, right-wingers say EXACTLY the same thing about us, and to a certain extent they’re right. Both righties and lefties have among them those who would shut down any dissenting speech.

        • DR

          That’s true as well, it’s smart to not be blinded by my own ideals. I’ve clicked on a few Sarah Palin ads myself that I find offensive. They get to have the same experience.

  • A’isha

    I think in addition to be angry and reactionary, they’re scared. Scared that more people might actually want to join progressive Christian groups than their hate-filled Christian “right” groups.

    I wonder how many people would have to email facebook expressing anger of the removal of this ad for fb to realize they removed the wrong ad.

    • Mindy

      It’s all about fear, Ai’sha. The fear of having long-held beliefs challenged leaves them reeling – if they were wrong about this, what else might they have been wrong about . . . ? The worms are squirming right out of the can.

      • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        I think the proper term for it is “cognative dissonance.”

        And, yes, it’s a hurtful thing to go through. Everyone goes through it at various points in their lives – whether it’s the things you find out as you grow up, or meeting someone who doesn’t fit sterotypes or prejudices you’ve developed, etc. The reaction to it is either a little shock and fear, then acceptance and broadening of the mind, or – more fear.

  • http://www.practicalinspirations.com Susan K. Stewart

    I don’t consider myself liberal or progressive, but not far right conservative either. There are some Christian who can’t fathom that other Christians could be libertarian (how I identify myself) or liberal. (See John’s book “I’m O.K. You’re Not.”)

    How can we vote to have your ad put back up?

    • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      There’s someone I know on a videogames (Legend of Zelda) fan board who idenitfies as both Christian and Libertarian. I got into a couple of fights with him on a sideboard for non-games disscussion that I no longer go to. We didn’t fight over religion (we agreed on a lot of things there), but we had some nasty throwdowns regarding politics and economics.

      But, we get along when talking about the games we like (even though he strongly dislikes my personal favorite of the series), and he likes my writing enough to encourage me to write articles for the main site (for which he is an editor)… so it all works out.

      We just have to stay off certain topics with each other. Heh.

  • Debb

    Don’t just blame Fundamentalist Christians. The Fundamentalist Atheists are even more aggressively hateful.

    • JST

      Most atheists I know are far kinder and loving than most of the Christians I know.

      Atheists do not get a ‘get out of hell free’ card that allows them to do bad things without fear of punishment. They live in the here and now and they act kindly toward other people because that makes the world here and now a better place.

      If they attack Christianity, you should ask what Christianity has done to them and why they fear it, rather than throw yet another stone. Do not forget that were it not for Christians, we would not be occupying other countries, our poor would have decent health care, and we would not have a society in which poverty is a character defect and wealth is evidence of God’s favor.

      • Bob

        :thumbup:

      • DR

        love this!

      • Mindy

        ditto.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

        Love it. AND none of my atheist or agnostic friends spank their kids either. And their children are delightful.

    • Bob

      I think this comment is just as narrow-minded as most conservative rants about politics and religion. Don’t fall into that hole where you generalize based on a few interactions. My experiences with athiests have been challenging, but respectful… much, much better than any argument w/ a conservative so far. I’m not about to cast a label based on any of my experiences as I would hope none would do the same to me.

    • DR

      Gosh, I don’t really agree with this. While true, there are a lot of bullies out there who are atheists and quite myopic in their view points, for me their anger is understandable. Look at what we as a Church have put them through. Their laws in America are infused with a theology they don’t ascribe to, their politicians are often voted in due to religious belief that they don’t support. Our legal, educational and financial systems are emeshed with Christianity. The evils the church commits in the name of God are swept under the rug and not acknowledged, they are often the first group to push us toward the human rights that we often adopt last. I think they are just tired of us and would like to live in a country where their own approaches are respected, where they are considered moral and loving human beings who care about important things.

      • Rebecca

        DR – so true. Having 2 kids who are now avowed atheists after being raised in the Christian church I can see that it must be the most frustrating thing in the world to hear “we are a Christian nation” thrown about politically and culturally….what some people say so proudly methinks makes God (and some of us who also call ourselves Christian) cringe…

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          Not all atheists are perfect in morals and peace, either, or uber-intelligent, or any of the host of other “positive sterotypes” some of them would have you believe they *all* are by default. They arent’ superior beings any more than Christians are. Trust me, I’ve seen them get vicious (and irrational) – on the Internet.

          Then, again, there are people like my agnostic/athiest friend who is very kind, tolerant (and wants me to find peace, even if its with a God she doesn’t believe in).

          In any broadly-defined group, don’t you dare sell me that “all are this” or “all are that” because humanity doesn’t work that way and whenever anybody does, it seems like they resort to the No True Scottsman fallacy. I say that as a Christian who knows that there are lots of Christians who suck despite having people early in my “walk” try to tell me that “all True Chrisians” were saintly, so when I see atheists (or pagans or anyone else) doing that kind of thing, it really sticks in my craw because I’ve *seen the mean* as it were. In other words, if you want me to own up to the Inquistion, how about you own up to Stalin’s Russia? It’s not like you as an *individual* are defined by the worst of “your group.”

          That said, (here is where a lot of online angry athiests never seem to believe me or still say I suck and am worthless despite this) – I completely and utterly *CRINGE* at this “Christian America” stuff. When a politiician or candidate starts doing the Jesus-talk in a clear bid for power (see Donald Trump), it makes me feel *slimy.* I mean, I can’t snap my fingers and just get rid of my beliefs. Jesus doesn’t seem to want to leave my spirit and/or brain alone. If I could snap my fingers and just “stop believing” just like that, I’m sure I would have by now, but mine is a belief that “goes against wordly power.” When I see this I think “If I weren’t already ‘trapped’ as it were, why would I *want* to be a Christian?” I HATE how it’s basically lip-service for a power-grab and has essentially become a political buzzword and married to people with money who lack compassion. It’s like this American Christian cult that’s far removed from the stuff that I *actually read* in the Bible. Oh, yes, I’ve actually read the thing cover to cover and then-some.

          Er, in some of my fantasy fiction, I wound up creating a religion of materialism inspired by both pushy atheists and Prosperty Gospel Christianity. The people who follow it have so far, in the story series in which they appear, been essentially the the “bad guys” even though I’ve been trying for a philosophical gray-and-gray world.

      • Rebecca

        Beautifully put, DR.

  • http://twitter.com/belovedmama Christelle

    John- you scare the crap out of me because you are willing to go THERE… everywhere I want to go, but scared to do so… Why? perhaps I’m scared of being stoned- I don’t know- perhaps because I was raised by what could best be described as throwing Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell into one body- Yep- that best describes my father- when describing my upbringing- I usually say that I was raised farther right than you can throw- o.k. – actually farther… Then I grew up… I wandered into unexpected territory… I was given the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing human beings one can possibly imagine- I’m still searching- still trying to be brave on what I know my true stance on controversial issues is and should be… I want to be brave and just dive right in… BTW, I’m attending my first SD Pride to support my very best friends in the world… Daddy would be proud. ahem. Thank you for helping me come out of my own closet… We all have one, in some way. Baby steps.

    • DR

      I think it is so brave for those of you who grew up in really conservative households to be here, to participate and to allow yourselves to be challenged. I really do, I don’t say that enough. You remind me of marathon runners I’ve trained with who when they started, had never ran a mile. It’s so much work and sacrifice to be able to cross that finish line. My family was (and still is) conservative, but not like what some of you faced. It’s a long process for all of us to receive the Grace we’ve been given in this time to really shake our faith up. I think you’re already brave. xoxoxo

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Christelle: Are you sure afraid of being stoned?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        (Kidding, of course. Thank you.)

      • Christelle

        John, Let me think about that. Yes. I’m def afraid of being stoned.

        • http://twitter.com/belovedmama Christelle

          Have you met my people? Just sayin’. Oh wait- I’ve already been stoned, figuratively speaking, of course.

    • Rebecca

      My brain just broke trying to think of how large one body would have to be to contain both Jerry “Where’s the Doughnuts?” Falwell and Rush “Screw the Doughnuts, Hand me the Oxycontin” Limbaugh.

      • Inquisitive Raven

        No, no, no. It’s Rush “I’ll have my doughnuts with a side of Oxycontin” Limbaugh.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

      “We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

      Christelle, Welcome. The recovering fundamentalists hand out over here >. And we are forever grateful to John who gives us space to share our voice and encourage others. Yes, closets of many kinds….and, like they say, It gets better.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    I click the offensive button on the right-wing crap everytime it shows up in my FB window, along with penile enlargement ads, Sarah Palin ads, Michelle Bachman ads, Glenn Beck ads and Tea Party ads. Hopefully I’m helping to even the playing field a little tiny bit.

  • Mark

    I think.. that ad reached, precisely, the souls it was meant to.

    Purpose served. Great job!

  • Reed

    RE: “It’s easy to get a FB ad pulled; all you have to do is hit the little “X” in the upper right hand corner . . . ” (etc.).

    Not quite THAT easy. I’ve been reporting Liberty University’s ads for months. I find it offensive that they’re advertising their various “degrees by internet” on FB, and that Jerry Falwell’s toxic influence is still pervading the Web although he’s been dead for years (rather like zombie preacher D. James Kennedy still inveighing against tolerance and ‘those homosexuals menacing our children with their Godless chosen lifestyle”).

    I guess some animals are more equal than other animals when it comes to FB advertising dollars – or can buy more influence (the coming rage, I’m told, with Citizens United and other shadow corporations and shell groups becoming a huge growth industry).

    • Rebecca

      Reed, I’m glad I’m not the only “angry, reactionary lefty” hitting “X” every time I see Liberty University appear on my screen. I’m in Europe, so for a while, there were some pretty raunchy dating ads appearing regularly on my Facebook sidebar; it’s good to know “X”ing them may have actually had some effect.

  • Rebecca

    I didn’t realize this was how FB did things (never tried clicking on that X)…in reading the posts, I was thinking that I never really see ads for right-wing stuff on my page. Since FB is so good at “gleaning your leaning” from your posts and clicks, etc…this ad probably appeared on lots of people’s pages who are click-happy on all the “like if you love Jesus, I know 90% of you won’t post this”-type of crap. Therefore, more right-wing Jesus lovers saw the ad and experienced that instantaneous Jesus-type rage (you know, He showed us that RIGHTEOUS anger against those money-changers!) that would lead to RIGHTEOUS clicking….

    boy, am I gonna be looking for those ads and clicking away now! Thanks for the heads-up John :)

    • Mindy

      Bingo, Rebecca! You are so right. I had that same flaming rage when a picture of Palin popped up several months ago telling me that several of my friends “liked” her and I should, too. I was already to start that reactionary clicking, then I realized it would take me through a process and that I simply wasn’t about to waste an extra second on anything regarding her. But I have no doubt you are spot on here -

  • http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/ gnomic

    Try again with a slightly different ad. Keep trying and keep changing the ad…slightly. I know a number of Christians that would likely join your organization if given the chance as they are not hateful enough to fit in with the 666 or 700 Club crowd. Don’t give up until they nail your other hand to the mouse!

  • Dallas Jenkins

    1. Lefty Christians send hate mail, too.

    2. Who knows what the religio-political (yes, I know that’s not a word) makeup was of those who deleted the ad?

    3. Do you really think that whoever did “x” the ads on their page (even if we assumed it was right-wingers) KNEW the “damage” it would do? Do you really think there was that much intent? Does x’ing out an ad you don’t love make you “angry” and “reactionary?”

    4. Does anyone really think that if an ad promoting the opposite side of the religio-political spectrum was out there, that leftists wouldn’t “x” it out and consider it offensive?

    • DR

      Why would a liberal christian x that ad out? One never knows who does anything, but there are some reasonable conclusions to draw that are probable.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Dallas:

      1. No, we don’t. Liar.

      2. I do.

      3. Yes; yes; in this case, yes.

      4. Yes

      I can’t believe how insanely reactionary you right-wingers are.

      ;-)

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Hey! Two-thirds of my lovely avatar got cut-off! MORE RIGHT-WING DEVILRY!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Now I’m seeing if that’s been fixed. God, I hope so. It hurts me to know the world isn’t seeing my face at every possible opportunity.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Curses! Oh, well. Your loss, world.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            My forehead now wants its own blog. Bummer.

      • wildduck7

        As if left wing Christians or any left or progressive person is not reactionary! Give me a brake! You left progressives invented reactionary! You love to use it to bring divisiveness to all mankind.

        • wildduck7

          I meant break, just a word reactionary blooper!

          • DR

            Please grab a paper bag and breathe.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Or don’t. Sheesh.

        • rjw918

          >>You left progressives invented reactionary!

          ROAR! And we invented conservatism,too!

          ====

          re·ac·tion·ary adj rē-ˈak-shə-ˌner-ē

          Definition of REACTIONARY

          : relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction; especially : ultraconservative in politics

          ====

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reactionary

      • Mindy

        OMG, John Shore, I swear I was typing the exact same thing to Dallas. Almost word for word! For some reason, I scrolled down before sending and saw yours. !!! Great minds, and all that . . .

  • Dallas Jenkins

    For the record, I think anyone who pays much attention to an ad on their page, much less takes the time to “x” it out, is probably someone I’ll never hang out with. Just saying that it’s silly to imply that this “incident” is unique.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      So you’re saying there’s just about no one on Facebook you’d hang out with. Fine. Be that way.

  • Don Whitt
    • Don Whitt

      Oops. I just discovered a blog comment tag. heh heh…well, don’t I feel silly?

      What the response above should have said is

      “INSERT SHORE FAMILY MOTTO HERE”

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        LOVE IT!

  • AnonyLox

    Anonymous stands by you. Together, we are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

    • DR

      Hahaha!

  • http://www.lifewalk.info David Foreman

    Does it just block the ad, or the advertiser? Can you just keep running new ones?

  • Interesting Name

    You are now on the front page of Reddit.

  • Linda

    I never knew that X would delete an ad for others. i thought it was just for marketing purposes. They would stop sending me ads with that particular marketing content if I X’ed it.

    Hmm.

  • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

    There is no way to know if some right-winged fundies were behind it, why not some Muslims? Catholics? Mormons? JW’s? Atheists? Humanist?, Satanist?, Jew?….. Naw, John’s right, gotta be the right-winged wacko’s…….

    • vj

      This occurred to me at first too, but then I realized that Facebook specializes in TARGETED ads, so it was most likely shown to people who identified as ‘Christian’ on their profiles, and/or had numerous links/status updates referencing Christianity…

  • Don Rappe

    We know the ad is dead. But we do not really have cause of death. Maybe then, it’s too soon to try anyone for murder.

  • SugarMags

    Goodness. I “x” ads all the time (well, when I have time, and when an ad is particularly annoying by showing up over and over, while simultaneously being irrelevant) and had no idea FB would ever use that to actually block the ad. I thought it was just to stop them from showing for ME. Offensive? I’m not sure I’ve ever used that particular “reason”, but that’s still a goofy thing to base blocking an ad on. They don’t give you enough choices, so if someone chooses offensive, how can FB determine that the ad is offensive in the “illegal” sense (porn, racism, etc) and not just “oh, that offends me because I’m sensitive”? I will definitely change my ad-blocking behaviors for the sake of every advertiser’s freedom of whatever. :P Thanks, John.

  • Siri Erickson

    I think it is sad that progressive Christianity is “offensive” and “controversial” but right-wing and conservative Christianity is somehow considered normative and mainstream. ARG!

  • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

    The ad I found offensive was one yesterday that told be I should use their product/service if I want to “impress your Christian peers”. Talk about getting the message worng…

  • Larry

    John, I enjoy your writing as well as the videos. The one about who gets in heaven is priceless. I do not know if I am a right wing or a left wing Christian, just a guy trying to live by the example of Christ. To me, several of your posts above seem mean-spirited.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Several of my posts above? Not following.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X