ABOVE: CBN News talks with journalist Erin Dunne with the Washington Examiner about Facebook's continuing string of PR gaffes.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story took place in January, but tech giants like Facebook and Google have been under scrutiny all year for censorship of conservative views.
Evangelist Franklin Graham has revealed that he was suspended from Facebook for taking a stand for his biblical beliefs. The temporary ban lasted 24 hours, and while the censorship itself is shocking enough, it was also surprising that the ban was retroactive, resulting from a comment he made two years ago.
"Well, now we know. Facebook has a secret rulebook for policing speech. I was banned from posting on Facebook last week for 24 hours. Why? Because of a post from back in 2016 about North Carolina's House Bill 2 (the bathroom bill)," Graham explained in a weekend Facebook post.
The suspension raises serious questions as critics ask, if Facebook is willing to block one of the most prominent Christian leaders in the world, then what's next?
The stunning announcement also reinforces ongoing reports of censorship against Christian beliefs by other social media giants and the tech companies that control so much of the communication and interaction in our world today – companies like Google, Twitter and Apple.
A Facebook spokesperson admitted to The Charlotte Observer that Graham was indeed punished for his post. And while the spokesperson is now apologizing for censoring Graham, it's clear that some of Facebook's team of 15,000 speech police can censor conservative Christians at will.
Graham says it's just wrong that his biblical comments would be ever considered "hate speech."
"Facebook said the post went against their 'community standards on hate speech.' Facebook is trying to define truth. There was a character in a movie a few years back who said, 'The truth is what I say it is!' That's what Facebook is trying to do. They're making the rules and changing the rules," Graham said.
But he says God's truth will always be the only real truth. "Truth is truth," Graham said. "God made the rules and His Word is truth. Actually, Facebook is censoring free speech. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country's DNA."
And this vocal Christian leader didn't back down, even after the suspension. As soon as his account was back online, he posted, "Since Facebook took down the 2016 post last week, I'll copy it here so you can read it for yourself. Do you see any hate speech here?"
"April 9, 2016--- Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women's restrooms and locker rooms is going 'backwards instead of forwards.' Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense. Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress. I'm thankful North Carolina has a governor, Pat McCrory, and a lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, and legislators who put the safety of our women and children first! HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state."
After Facebook issued an apology, Graham acknowledged it on Facebook as well.