Hippy, playboy Jesus ad riles Belgian bishops
Catholic bishops in Belgium have protested a new TV ad depicting a pot-bellied, hippy Jesus performing miracles and picking up scantily-clad girls up in a nightclub, a church spokesman said Friday.
reports that RTL, one of the biggest media groups in Europe, has been running the ad on its main Belgian channel in order to promote Plug youth television, portrayed in the offending item as the coolest thing that even Jesus, with all his powers, could hope for.
It sounds harmless enough. But some are not happy about it.
"We have expressed our disapproval to the president of RTL's administrative council" Jacques Santer and the ethical advertising body, demanding the withdrawal of this publicity campaign, Father Eric de Beukelaer told AFP.
But what is it that offends him so much? He thinks that lines were clearly crossed in how Jesus is portrayed.
"An advert for cheese or pate featuring gourmet priests or nuns is one thing, but to turn Jesus into a walking billboard, that crosses the line," he said, stressing that along with tolerance must be respect for the sensitivities of believers.
"To see Jesus depicted as a good-for-nothing, backwards adolescent, that crosses the limits of respectability," he added.
At the end of the advertisement, God admonishes his son Jesus for demanding a subscription to Plug TV, thundering "you still want more!"
Plug TV and RTL-TVI defended the advert, which is also being shown in cinemas by the way, arguing that it was not blasphemous but contained a message about a "laid-back Jesus addressing youth."
We will have to wait and see what comes of all this. For the moment, people are sure to be divided over the issue.