The “Our Lord’s Prayer” Hoax

I have come across certain circulations that claim Facebook is banning people from posting ‘Our Lord’s Prayer’ and unfortunately, some right-wing groups are adding voice to this hoax especially with the recent fact-check link that appears under a post with “Our Lord’s Prayer” as the content.

It is quite disturbing what we have turned Christianity into at this time. We have become too paranoid and extremely fearful of what doesn’t even exist. It is true that to some extent and in some places, Christians have been persecuted or subtly shut-up for teaching Biblical truths like the Bible’s stand on some social issues however we cannot campaign for the truth using a lie.

“Facebook has been instrumental to the Church”

Since Facebook started, many religious organisations and Churches have used its features to push their agenda and successfully so. Today, a lot of Church ministries have online services using Facebook live streaming features, you could also create groups for Church online where you carry out some ministry activities.

While the owner of Facebook is not a Christian but from a Jewish reformed background who had previously publicly said he was an atheist, Facebook itself has remained a neutral tool.

“we cannot campaign for the truth using a lie.”

“The ban is a hoax”

This hoax didn’t start today and while there are always fresh claims that garners so much attention and media publicity from especially the right wings, the hoax originated from a satire website, The original report which was a satire has been removed from the website although various versions of the article are still online.

Facebook has debunked various claims that it is banning religious contents let alone “Our Lord’s Prayer”. Facebook may not be exactly what you want it to be but at least, Facebook has not banned religious contents and how the hoax is creeping into some supposed mainstream Christian media is quite disturbing and every well-meaning believer in Christ Jesus should be worried.

“Our Lord’s Prayer is currently flagged”

Yes, some posts on Facebook containing the Lord’s prayer is currently flagged. At least, the ability to post it means that there is no ban. However, why was it flagged? In the picture below, you could see that a post which had nothing else but the prayer was flagged with “False Information”.

Some weeks or couple of months ago during the #ENDSARS protest, Facebook flagged many posts about the #ENDSARS as containing false information. However, Facebook and Instagram later issued an apology for letting down their community “their online community in such a time of need”. 

The false warning directed users to a separate issue entirely and this was probably because #ENDSARS sounded like something that had to do with SARS virus while it was in fact about SARS, a defunct Nigerian police unit. The false flagging was as a result of a technical glitch. Can we say it is the same scenario with what is happening presently or is it some kind of agenda to silence Christians?

We know that if there was any agenda, this isn’t part of it as people can still freely write core Christian teachings and prayers on Facebook. I have always used Facebook since 2010 and most of the times, I had written on Christian doctrines freely. 

Here is what we know:

1. The fact-check label on some posts with Our Lord’s Prayer was meant to debunk the false claims that Facebook “banned” users from sharing Our Lord’s Prayer, NOT to an attack on the prayer or Christianity itself.

2. People are sharing our Lord’s Prayer to see if it’s true that Facebook banned them from doing so NOT because they want to pray the prayer alongside others on social media. Some people whose post are flagged have also given voice previously to hoax.

3. Fact-checking has been automated on Facebook so it automatically detects posts with Our Lord’s Prayer and fact checks them to prove the hoax wrong.

“The Agenda of Paranoid Christians”

I am worried because many believers push certain fake news without making investigations. This shows our state and how we don’t ask questions but gulp down stuff hook-line-sinker! Why are Christians always the prey to some lies originating from satirical websites?

We are being extremely fearful of nothing! We are always being suspicious of who is trying to rob us of our religious rights but many of us are okay if others are rob off theirs as long as they don’t subscribe to our doctrine, lifestyles and opinions. 

For example, many Christians (from my experience in Nigeria) have no problem with those being homophobic, they believe a homosexual can be rightly stoned to death and it doesn’t matter but they see nothing wrong with polygamy anyway. They will support a racist as long as this racist sounds like a Christian, they will support partial treatment and only see “fair treatment” as when they are treated right and superior to others. This clearly shows that we are rather not into Christ but self.

We want every single policy to favour us alone but not favour others and that is why we see freedom only from our angle; when we are treated fairly but not when others are treated fairly. 

Sometimes, we push these kinds of agenda because we are paranoid and scared of losing our comfort, not because we can fight for the gospel at all cost but because we want to fight for our comfort at all cost even if it means fighting against others. The early Church wasn’t fighting for comfort, they were aggressively focused on preaching “Jesus and him alone” despite the discomfort.

When we go back to the drawing board and allow the love of God affect our worldview, we will be more concerned with reaching out to people in love without trying to use lies, politics and hate to push selfish agendas which birth paranoia tendencies. It is this paranoia tendency that makes some Christians susceptible to lies like the “Our Lord’s Prayer Ban Hoax”.

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24

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