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Ad Campaign

Has religion become just an accessory?


sighsnootles's picture



wow... that is an amazing ad.

my thought is that its pretty bang on, actually...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa's picture



Yes, for many, religion is a flashy accessory.
Get the kids ready, go to church, make sure we are seen, and then get the Hell out of there so we can rush to something else.
Work Monday to Friday?
Sorry, religion doesn't fit in there.
You got to do what you've got to do!

jesse's picture



Like the message. Jesse

Birthstone's picture



seems like every rock star or actor who gets an award has to thank God - then everyone says, oh how sweet! they really deserve it!!

Seems like if you aren't going to be cool by being mean, you have to be cool, by being the opposite. A big flashy cross, a streetcorner prophet, and a large visible gift to a church aren't religion- its self-empowering advertising.

I like the ad - the contrast of the glam with what's missing is obvious.

RaeRae's picture



I am shocked that we have put out this add.
Yes it is provocative, but I think that it is too much so.
This add objectivies woman - black woman in particular, plays on stereotypes, and turns this woman into a sex symbol.
The church, especially our church, is not in a place to make such a bold statements, even if only to entertain discussion.
There are bigger issues to diescuss here beyond the 'bling factor'.

lafrance28's picture



I agree with you, I cannot believe the message this image is saying--here I am use me in whatever way you want; after all: I am only a "Black Woman" This is outright disgusting it goes against not only Black women but all women. Why is the church now in business to objectify women? Is this what we are called to do as floowers of Christ.

Black people are constanly being stereotyped but to blatantly portray them as sex objects is appalling.

adam's picture



Yikes. I am pretty sure that this ad has nothing to do with race and nothing to do with women. At the risk of being inflammatory, it is possible to read our own issued into things, and I am wondering if the above two commenter have done that here. I guess it isn't part of my lived experience, but in no way does this look like an objectification of women to me, and I am really struggling with how featuring a black woman is a problem. It is, actually, a fairly realistic portrail of how some people choose to dress and use Christian symbols as accessories.

The idea with all these adds is that to point our something specific and make you think. It is a bit excessive in terms of the amount of bling - but that is the point. The ads are meant to make you think - and this one does. This is my favorite of the new lot.

My complaint about the new ads is that they aren't edgy enough - if anything. But this one is great. Well done.

RaeRae's picture



Hey Adam,
I think that that is part of the problem - it is true that add is trying to focus on a bling bling culture and not on race - the problem is that the bling bling culture is closely tied to race and I am not sure if the church is ready to address that issue in the discussion.

I think that when we focus on parts of a woman instead of the whole (like the scandal a few years ago when a magazine only had Britney Spears mid-drift as their cover) we indeed objectify them; intentionally or not. And although this ad is focusing on the jewlery, the function of jewlery is to showcase the person.

How can we discuss the purpose or expression of the jewlery without discussing the culture that is being represented with it?

It is definately a great thing to discuss; is it a fashion or religous statement? I think we need to be extremely careful about how we decide to open-up that discussion. I fear that this discussion may be opened-up at the expense of others.

Serena's picture



I saw the picture and thought it was another ad about sex.

sighsnootles's picture



serena, you think about sex more than anyone i know.

crosswalker's picture



I personally love seeing someone wearing a cross as it gives me the opportunity to ask them about what it means to them. "That is a beautiful/interesting/different cross that you are wearing...i've never seen anything like it before. Do you wear it because it has special meaning to you, or is it just a nice piece of jewellery to you?"

In this ad, it is definitely a bold statement...and is it a statement of faith? Lots of opportunity there.

My 2 cents...

MonAsksIt's picture



First thing I thought, was that this ad would be perfect in Vogue, it's such a typical mindless, sexy fashion shoot. And crosses seem to be worn by everyone, regardless of where they are on their faith journey. That's why I stopped wearing mine, when the 12 and 14 year old girls started wearing them because they were cute. Mind you that was in the 90's when Madonna first made it big.

lefebvre's picture



well, the girl is cute but we don't know her heart. It could be fashion but it also could be sincere. In my way to see things you don't have to wear any jellery to prove your love for God. People should see it in the way you act.

Vavarka's picture



I agree with RaeRae. I think this a sexist, racist ad just going for bling. I think the problem with most of these ads is that an advertising company is producing them -- not United Church people. There is no way that this would have made it past any committee! The ads in general seem to deal with issues more important to conservative churches. I don't think its a good fit for the UCC.

jude's picture



This add is not consistent with Gods Word
I will not bore you with the chapter and page
My point is
today is pandering to
The lowest common denominator
How low can we go?
The Shoe will drop

squeezed_lemon's picture



i really don't get how this is this because i'm a sheltered white person? but all it's saying is that the cross doesn't mean anything to half the people who wear it. Its a diamond studded status (not the right word...authority?) symbol. On the other hand, Way back when, everybody who was killed because they di something bad was killed on a cross. Jesus was killed beside thieves. So maybe wearing the cross could be a bad thing...I really confused my self jsut writing this...

ChurchGirl's picture



This ad has certainly provoked a lot of thought! I have been looking at this for a while and have been thinking about it in relation to a project on the commercialization of religion and church (my profile has more info). I think this really showed us something that's in our faces a lot. In my school, even with only grades 7 and 8 in the halls, I see people talking about reasons for wearing religious symbols. In all those times, not one person has said 'faith'.

I'd like to e-mail some questions to someone who is comfortable looking at that sort of things closely and discussing it (once again, my profile has details).


Panentheist's picture



First reaction ? Why do you ask?
Next take ... Wasn't religion always a "tool"?

Just recently put the question to the bookclub I belong to: What is it that YOU (speak for yourself) expect from religion. Salvation? Reward and/or punishment?
Speaking for myself, religion is part of the whole kit and caboodle. As such I understand it to be, and use it as such, a major component of an ecological scenario. In that setting religion is foundational. It is up to each individual to make the most of it!


crosswalker's picture



Hey Church Girl...I just read your profile. I'm very impressed with the fact that you are only 12 and can express your thoughts and opinions so well. I could swear I was reading the profile of someone who was in their 30's. I hope your project blesses you and others as you learn and grow in your faith. Keep the faith!

WestPenguin's picture



Hi ChurchGirl,

read your comments and I must say you do express your thoughts quite well....
keep up with your faith journey

As for religious jewelry, it is what it is: a fashion statement.

It's OK to wear a rosary, or a necklace or crucifix.

It's what you wear around your heart that matters; an undying love for Jesus Christ.

WWJD's picture



I once saw a tv show where this guy got a tattoo of two hands praying and I thought "What a cool tatoo!", I didn't for one second think of the religious aspect of the tattoo.Then I went to a summer camp and there we studied christianity and worshipped the Lord and that is where I asked God into my heart and started truely believing in God's word and doing all I could to be closer to Jesus and God. Just recently I remembered the tattoo and I still think its a really great tattoo but now I think that for different reasons.What i'm trying to say here is: Sure maybe people are using religion as a fashion accesory but there is also a small positive side to this.... maybe some people are actually seeing these symbols and rethinking thier way of life??

The_Omnissiah's picture



Hmm, interesting responses...

To all those who think this is racist and sexist, if they had put a white guy there with his hoodie and some bling, white people would be up in a roar because it portrayed white men the way that they just portrayed that african woman...

If you seek insult, you will find it in just about everything, if you wish to lead a happy life...don't.

I'm pretty sure they ment no insult by this.

I believe it's rather disgusting how far this religious icon accessory crap has gone. A few hunderad years ago some of the people wearing this stuff would have been burnt at the stake for the way they act!


I suppose this is the one advantage of the french law that you cannot wear any religious imagry at don't have to put up with this crap.

Peace be upon you all

AlishaErin's picture



I just seen this very ad in a magazine today, and i think it is a great ad, it cought my eye at first glance and it made me think, it is also the reason i loged onto this site, I have been on before but i thought id try it out again.

Elanorgold's picture



Nothing wrong with this ad. It makes the church look do-able in the modern age. It makes me think, "Hmm, well, maybe christians can be cool". This woman seems fully comfortable with herself and her crosses, she wears them so casually. She's confident, sassy and healthy.

StuartAThompson's picture



This is a very interesting ad that uses a lot of persuasive techniques to make its point. I actually wrote an essay about the semiological and rhetorical devices at work here (link to blog). To give you an idea of my position, the essay is titled "One Holy Mess." Very interesting campaign and I'm interested in the discussion.

bellafly's picture



Being a Cashier...i often will see people wear gold crosses, silver cross, heavy chain thin chain, with diamonds and some of other material. But what really gets me, is that i want to challenge people who do wear a cross and ask them, "are you a christian?" Do you really believe in Jesus CHrist?  Do you really know what i means to wear a cross? Some people treat the cross like a lucky charm, like a rabbit's foot or 4 leaf clover.Sometimes the cross represents a loved one that passed on.  Do we ever really consider that the cross was a form of death, punishment? Do we really think of Jesus when we look at the cross? I am a christian, but i fear of wearing christian jewelery because there is an upholding stereotype out there, if i wear it , i must bear what it means. And i'm not ready to represent all of what that cross matter how pretty it looks with what i'm wearing.

But i dare you, ask the next person you see wearing a cross, Why they choose to wear it.

D1VA's picture



I saw this particular ad in either the Chatelaine or Canadian Living magazine.  Because of this ad, I decided to check out & join this site.  The ad led me to contemplate the role of blind (or other religious accessories) in one's expression of faith. 

Long ago, I had a prof who asked the provocative question:  "Why would anyone wear jewellery symbolizing an instrument of death around your neck?  Isn't it equivalent to wearing an 18 carat gold replica of a noose or an electric chair?"  I'm not sure of my stance, but his question certainly made me think.

Some people wear religious symbols as a quiet means of identifying their faith stance.  Many of my friends in the Jewish community wear a Star of David pendant; most received the pendant as a gift following a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  Thus, the pendant is a keepsake from a loved one, as well as a memory of his/her first time undertaking an adult role in the Synagogue (reading the Torah & Haftorah).  I know that many of my Jewish friends felt that it was crucial to identify themselves as Jews; one friend explained to me that wearing the Star of David was his way of preventing another Holocaust.  He felt that public demonstration of Jewish identity was a way of keeping a human face to what could be a misunderstood religion; i.e., if the general population saw enough people wearing a Star of David, they would be less likely to have anti-Semetic feelings.  The example given to me is this:  

If a person of non-Jewish identity heard anti-Semetic comments, they'd be more likely to muse 'Hmm, I see men & women wearing the Star of David everyday at the grocery store, they don't look any different from me.  Why on earth would we mock people who are just like us?'

  I'm certain that some Christians wear the cross or Crucifix for similar reasons of wanting to put a human face on Christianity.  The concept of the cross as bling to accessorize an outfit is a very pertinent concern, however, I'm in favour of nominal Christianity; it makes God ssem less daunting.

LumbyLad's picture



My mother was offended by this ad over all of the others. Yet I pointed out that she wears a little silver cross around her neck. What, really, is the difference? The young lady in the picture has chosen to adorn herself with symbols of the cross. Yes it is provocative to some, but to me it is just her right to express herself as she sees fit.

She may not even be religious. There are many kinds of crosses that mean different things. Maybe she just has a "thing" for crosses. Or maybe she just likes to attract attention.

I find it offensive when people try to take away an individual's right to choose something that hurts no one. I also find it offensive when a simple picture like this is railed against as being sexist and racist. I'm sure they chose a coloured lady so it would bring out these nuts.

But gee, here I am judging all of you! I'm no better than the rest of you. Gulp...sorry.

I don't hold to "live and let live" but I say that as long as something that is expressed causes no harm to anyone, just pass on by if you don't prefer the style. If you want to be upset, choose something that has INTENTION to hurt someone. This ad is mild. At 63 years of age, I find the costume rather "cool". I would just hate to rock n' roll with this lady. I might get hurt!