Gambling Ad Mocking Crucifixion of Jesus Christ With 'Nailed on Bonus' Banned in UK

Holy Week
Members of the Italian community take part in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Bensheim, southwest of Frankfurt, April 3, 2015. Thousands of spectators watched the yearly Passion Play performed by about 100 laity actors. Holy Week iscelebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. |

An advertising authority in the U.K. has banned a gambling ad that mocks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith by promoting a "nailed on bonus."

The ad in question, made by Boylesports, features an image of a hand nailed to a piece of wood, with the text reading: "In memory of the dearly departed JC, we are offering you a sacrilecious [sic] bonus this Easter weekend. ... So don't just sit there gorging your own body weight in chocolate, that's disrespectful. Get on Boylesports Gaming and get your nailed on bonus."

The Advertising Standards Authority said in a ruling on Wednesday following a complaint that the ad is very offensive to Christians.

"We considered the offense was likely to be particularly strongly felt by those of the Christian faith at Easter, when the imagery would have a particularly strong resonance. We considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and concluded that it was therefore in breach of the code," the organization said.

Boylesports tried to argue in its response that the ad was not actually meant to mock Christians.

"They acknowledged that the image represented a crucifixion, but pointed out that the image of the hand was the only element displayed, as opposed to images which they believed would be seen as more gratuitous or associated with worship," the ASA shared.

"They believed there was no religious symbolism in the image and that crucifixion was a common practice in Christ's time. They believed that the language and imagery associated with crucifixion had been absorbed into everyday culture and cited examples from film, music and everyday language."

At the end, however, the gambling company agreed to pull the ad, which the ASA welcomed, and warned the company to make sure future ads do not cause "serious or widespread offence."

Back in November, several leading U.K. cinemas refused to show an ad for the Lord's Prayer by the Church of England, arguing that it could offend people of other faiths.

The Digital Cinema Media said that "some advertisements, unintentionally or otherwise, could cause offense to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith," but added that "in this regard, DCM treats all political or religious beliefs equally."

The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Anglican Communion leader, argued that there is nothing at all offensive about the prayer ads.

"This advert is about as offensive as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day," Welby said at the time. "Let the public judge for themselves rather than be censored or dictated to."

The CofE added that it was "disappointed and bewildered" by the decision, calling it "plain silly."

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