Facebook has banned an advert for the book “Glenstal Abbey – Through the Seasons” that features nude images of the Archangel Michael and the Good Thief, who was crucified alongside Jesus Christ, as these pictures were “deemed ‘too sexual’ by Facebook and against their policies”, as the publisher revealed.
According to The Irish Times, which reported about the matter, Facebook recommended that Columba Books, an Irish religious publisher, use “content that focuses on your product or service rather than the model”.
“The ad isn’t running because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies which apply to an ad’s content, its audience, and the destination it links to. We don’t allow ads that feature people with excessive skin visible”, the social media giant said, explaining its decision to reject the ad.
The publisher’s argument that the imagery in question is an art piece by a Benedictine monk was not accepted by Facebook, which pointed out that content with “sexually suggestive posturing” or showing “a lot of skin” is not allowed, even for an artistic reason, due to their “highly sensitive nature”.
Although an attempt to advertise the release of their book on Facebook failed, the rejected pictures of the Good Thief have still emerged on the social media platform. Newspaper The Irish Catholic, which has the same parent company as the embattled publisher, eventually posted the images on their page.
“Nude paintings in a monastery library? The IC (Irish Catholic) can exclusively reveal that a new book on #GlenstalAbbey from Columba Books features nude paintings called ‘The Good Thief’. Is it appropriate to hang on the walls of a library within an Abbey? You decide!” its caption reads.
Like Facebook, many commenters seemed to consider the paintings inappropriate - at least for the halls of an abbey. They responded “No” to the question posed by The Irish Catholic.
“Why is Irish Catholic posting these homo-erotic pictures is a better question?” one of the commenters posted, while another noted: “It's more suitable to a bathhouse”.
Others seemed to be disappointed with the criticism of the painting.
“Anyone who even thinks this is smutty or dirty or pornography are out of their tiny dirty little sneaky minds”, one user noted.
The images in question are works by monk Br Emmaus, who coincidentally worked as a graphic designer in Los Angeles before taking up a post in the Irish abbey, the library wall of which now boasts the artist’s larger-than-life nude paintings. According to the creator, he painted the Biblical story this way in order “to follow the naked Christ”.