National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Mary’s Ultrasound Draws Fire

BY Tim Drake

Register Senior Writer

December 5-18, 2010 Issue | Posted 11/29/10 at 1:36 PM

 

Much like the Fruit of her womb became a target some 2,000 years ago, the Son of God draws similar attacks today.

An ecumenical nonprofit in England has come under fire for their Advent campaign designed to put Christ back into Christmas. Their crime? Creating billboards and posters that show Baby Jesus as an ultrasound, with a halo. The ads, created by ChurchAds.net, say: “He’s on his way. Christmas starts with Christ.”

The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper had the story this summer.

“It gives the impression that it was politically motivated, that they are trying to put across some sort of subliminal message,” said Terry Sanderson, director of the National Secular Society. “The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context. They should go back to angels and cribs.”

ChurchAds.net, a coalition of various Christian churches (including the Church of England, the Baptist Union, the United Reformed Church, the Anglican and the Methodist churches), denies that the ads were meant as pro-life or political ads.

“We wanted to convey that Christmas starts with Christ,” said Mike Elms, vice chair of ChurchAds.net. “We put a halo on it because theologians speak of Jesus being fully human and fully divine.”

The “Baby Scan Jesus” ads are being placed on billboards and posters in churches, retail stores, bus shelters and homes. ChurchAds has also created two clever radio ads: one an airport announcement, the other a humorous telephone message from St. Joseph about the birth of his Son. (See links at NCRegister.com.)

Last year, the group aired ads on 170 different radio stations, reaching more than 10 million people. This year, the group hopes to air ads on at least 200 stations, and hopes its “Ultrasound Jesus” campaign will reach 40 million people.

The billboards and ads are running from Dec. 6 through 20.

Register senior writer Tim Drake writes from St. Joseph, Minnesota.