This well-meaning campaign from Churchads.net, an ecumenical Christian advocacy group, is intended to “capture people’s attention, generate headlines and create countless conversations about the true meaning of Christmas.”
“It is an incredible piece of naivety on their part,” said Terry Sanderson, director of the NSS. “If they are hoping to stop the secular drift away from Christmas as a Christian festival, they risk doing the opposite. It gives the impression that it was politically motivated, that they are trying to put across some sort of subliminal message. The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context. They should go back to angels and cribs.”
The “Ultrasound Jesus” campaign is backed by a number of Protestant Christian organizations including the Church of England, the Baptist Union, the United Reformed Church, the Anglican and the Methodist churches.
From their perspective:
“If we Christians really want to keep Christmas focused on Christ, we must constantly re-tell the story of his birth in ways which engage positively with the public’s interest.
In the 21st century, proud parents-to-be proudly announce the coming birth by showing friends and family the scan of the baby. Our new Baby-Scan Jesus poster uses this convention to place the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context.
It is highly impactful. It has a sense of immediacy. It creates anticipation. And theologically it speaks of both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ.”
However, anti-abortion activists have read clearly what the NSS described as “some sort of subliminal message”. John Smeaton, the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children:
“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. I just hope and pray that this poster campaign has the effect of saving many lives. Let’s promote it in every way we can.”
It’s important to note that these are Protestant churches involved in the ad. The C of E, for example, is not 100% against abortion. But in the wake of the controversy surrounding Britain’s first national campaign for abortion services, I simply can’t see how this ad will not provoke endless arguments that have nothing to do with putting the “Christ” back in “Christmas”.
What do you think?