Benetton Pope Ad

November 21, 2011 by staff 

Benetton Pope Ad, It would be easy to get the impression that Christians spend all their time complaining about sex. The latest case of religious outrage doesn’t even go that far – it’s about kissing. Benetton has withdrawn a series of adverts after the Vatican threatened legal action. They featured the pope kissing an Egyptian Muslim leader.

The controversy may have done wonders for Benetton’s advertising budget. Without going to the expense of producing all the posters, it has now got far more publicity than it could have hoped to generate through conventional methods. The alternative explanation – that it was too naive to realise that people would be offended – is difficult to believe.

The Vatican has confirmed the popular stereotype of Christian anger.

There seem to be two subjects that Christian groups complain about loudly – sexuality and the status of Christianity.

To be fair, the Vatican sometimes makes relatively progressive statements about economics and the environment, but the media tend to ignore them, concentrating on the pope’s reactionary views on sexuality and gender. Many churches do speak out strongly about issues such as international debt, government cuts and corporate tax dodging. There are also more radical Christian groups, such as those that have backed the Occupy movement. As a queer Christian, I am delighted there are many Christians who are in favour of equality for LGBT people, although we are failing to speak up as loudly as the homophobes.

We are not doing enough to reduce the impression that Christians put most of their energy into opposing hmosxlity and defending their own status. The pope laments the decline of Christianity in Europe. Christian leaders such as the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, want to take Britain “back” to being a Christian country. Certain sorts of Christians have been used to privilege and the rise of multi-belief societies is frightening for them.

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