In addition to smiley faces, high heels, and frogs, Unicode is rolling out a new batch of 250 emojis, or emoticons, including a set of religious icons, reports the Religion News Service.
Unicode is the character coding system that gives a unique number for every character, allowing different companies to have access and the support for universal emojis.
The new emojis will feature three types of crosses, the dove of peace and the Om symbol, a mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin. They will join an emoji cast that includes an angel and a devil.
The new emojis will be available with the Unicode 7.0 update. But that doesn’t mean users will have them right away. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have to decide which emojis they want and how they’ll look before customers have the option to use them.
Apple, Microsoft and Google declined to comment on whether they plan to use any of the religious emojis.
Rick McGowan, technical vice president of Unicode, said symbols are added because of their 'widespread use as text symbols in one context or another.' McGowan also said symbols are added after they are proposed by Unicode members or by the general public through an online proposal form.
But with the lack of religious emojis before this announcement, other apps have been vying to fill growing need.
Michelle Sullivan and Ana Streczyn founded GodsMAC Apps in 2012 and released the apps Holy Emojis, Pic Christian and Pic Christian Pro.
While parts of Holy Emojis and Pic Christian are free, Pic Christian Pro sells for $2. The description says that Pic Christian Pro combines the first two apps, including picture collages and emojis, and uses the slogan 'With Pic Christian, you are God’s Messenger.'
The Holy Emojis app was the first to give Christians more than 100 emojis, including a symbol of a Jesus fish or cross.
FULL STORY Move over, smiley face: New religious emojis on the way (Catholic News Service)