Christians are divided on their views of a controversial ad campaign in Australia showing Jesus becoming an organ donor while nailed to the cross. Over 16,000 have signed an online petition in protest.
The ad, published online on Oct. 14 by the Dying to Live organ donor campaign, features two Roman soldiers speaking with Jesus about becoming an organ donor in Australia.
The exchange ends with Christ agreeing to help others by donating His organs. The guards explain some of the rules and procedures when it comes to registering to be an organ donor, including the need for a person's parents to be informed.
That prompts two actors depicting Mary and Joseph, Jesus' earthly parents, to show up and give their approval.
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A petition on Change.org seeking to ban the ad has been signed by over 16,000 people as of Wednesday morning.
"This advertisement is clearly mocking our Lord Jesus and it is offensive. No faith has suffered as much as Christianity and many Christians are martyred all around the globe for their faith," the petition states.
"No other religion will ever tolerate this kind of mockery and disrespect. We are calling on you to make a stand and protect our faith by banning this disrespectful ad," it adds.
But others disagree.
"It uses the self-sacrificial example of Jesus to communicate an important message," Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, told The Daily Telegraph.
Beside Christians signing the petition, some Muslims have also been offended by the way Jesus was depicted.
Founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Keysar Trad, argued that the ad "showed irreverence toward venerated figures." Keyser added that the video "will cause offence to some Muslims and some Christians."
Filmmaker Richard Todd who's responsible for the ad said that it's supposed to raise awareness for organ donation, given that 36 percent of citizens are registered donors, yet 70 percent have said they're willing to donate.
"That is why it's important for every Australian to know they can register online via www.dyingtolive.com.au, and to have a conversation with their family. Even if you have already registered, your family can still veto your decision in the hospital during what is of course a very distressing time, and it's important therefore to 'own' this decision together," Todd said, according to Mumbrella.
"We, the Australian public, have it in our power to go from one of the lesser-performing transplant countries in the developed world to one of the best. What a wonderful Christmas present for Australians on the transplant list whose lives are often defined by uncertainty, pain and deteriorating quality," he added.