Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Foetus Jesus

With only 199 shopping days left before Christmas, the churches have already planned their festive ad campaign, a scan of baby Jesus in the womb, complete with halo.

It was created by advertising executives from, a consortium of churches including the Church of England, Methodist, Baptist and United Reform churches, but not the Catholics. Some of Britain's top award winning ad execs and designers work for them for free.

Frances Goodwin of ChurchAds said: 'This is the kind of thing proud parents-to-be show their friends and family. Our poster reflects this new way of announcing the news of a new arrival and places the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary setting. It offers a fresh perspective on the birth of Christ - creating anticipation and alluding to both his humanity and divinity'.

And to his serious spookiness. Without the message at the bottom, this could easily be a poster for a horror movie. Come to think of it, it still could be.

The poster will be widely displayed, including at bus stops, which might not win it much approval from the parents of small children if they have to explain what it is and how a baby gets into the womb. They might also have to explain to more scientifically-minded children how a halo could show up in a scan where ultrasound bounces off solid objects. Smart kids may not be satisfied with the answer 'it's a miracle' and may wonder how Holy Mary feels about having a large hula hoop in her womb.

A more serious consequence of the campaign is that anti-abortion groups are seeing it as a great opportunity to spread their message. The director of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child said: "This advertisement sends a powerful message to everyone in Britain where 570 babies are killed every day in the womb, 365 days a year, under the Abortion Act. Whenever we kill an unborn child in an abortion, we are killing Jesus".

Killing Jesus - that's not at all emotive. And not that effective for non-believers and followers of other religions. SPUC can't even get their facts straight. The latest official figures from the Deparment of Health are 518 abortions a day. This may not make a huge difference but is symptomatic of their rather casual relationship with facts.

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society commented: "I hope that the Church of England isn't trying to use its Christmas poster campaign to make a political point. If that's the intention, we may have questions to ask at the Charity Commission".

Even if the churches are not deliberately using the posters to comment on abortion, they really should be aware of how groups like SPUC will hijack their campaign. After the first ever ad for an abortion advisory service on TV recently, pro-lifers will be looking for any way to hit back.

The posters won't go up until December 6th but will be available to buy online. A previous Christmas poster showed the Holy Family at a bus stop instead of in a stable and the 1999 Easter campaign had a really lame version of the Che Guevara poster.


  1. It would also make an excellent retro rock album cover. Oh, it already has - Black Sabbath's 'Born Again' (except that one had horns; also an immaculate conception)

    It serves as a reminder of the utterly ridiculous idea of a virgin inseminated by an angel. Christianity would do well to drop all the fairy tales and to concentrate on His message about being a certain way.

    David Godsmark

  2. I really love this for its appallingly bad taste. It might be the best religious propaganda ever.