A newly revealed poster picturing the ultrasound of an unborn Jesus with a halo is adding fuel to the abortion ad uproar in the United Kingdom.
ChurchAds.Net's "Baby-Scan Jesus" poster, which will be used for a 2010 Christmas campaign, has already started stirring debate months before the holiday season. Although the poster's creators say it is meant to spark conversation about the meaning of Christmas, critics of the poster say it is too political and see it as a counterattack on the recent first-ever TV ad for abortion services.
"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, according to U.K.-based The Guardian. "The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context."
Sanderson added, "They should go back to angels and cribs."
The Churchads.net poster message reads: "He's on His Way: Christmas starts with Christ." The group explained that the poster idea came from the 21st-century convention that proud parents-to-be show the ultrasound of their baby to family and friends.
"Our new Baby-scan Jesus poster uses this convention to place the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context," the group explained. "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."
The revelation of the poster comes just weeks after Britain's Channel 4 began airing the nation's first-ever TV ad for abortion services. The abortion ad shows women alone and asks "Are you late?" referring to a woman missing her period. It ends with contact information for abortion provider Marie Stopes International.
Channel 4 and the Advertising Standards Authority have collectively received nearly 1,000 complaints about the airing of the Marie Stopes ad.
"The notion that the destruction of human life can be advertised freely on TV as a service to the public is outrageous and we will be doing all we can to stop the advert from being aired," said Christian Legal Center director Andrea Minichiello-Williams.
ChurchAds.net said it is releasing its poster early to allow supporters to help reserve bus shelter and billboard ads and radio commercial spots before they are sold out. The group noted that by October most spots have already been sold out.
The ecumenical network aims to use the poster to reach 40 million people by displaying it on 2010 bus shelter sites and conveying the message through radio commercials aired on 200 stations.
The "Baby-scan Jesus" poster, scheduled to run from Dec. 6 to 20, is backed by the Church of England, Baptist Union, Methodist and United Reformed churches.