United Church of Canada Releases Ads – Bobble-head Jesus, Pro-Gay Marriage…
By Hilary White
VICTORIA, The United Church of Canada, in a bid to boost its ailing and aging membership, is initiating a $10.5-million project that includes advertisements for magazines, community newspapers and on the Internet featuring a bobble-head Jesus doll, and references to gay “marriage.”
One ad shows a wedding cake statuette with two grooms and the caption, “Does anyone object?” Another ad features a photo of a bible filled with coloured post-it notes labelled, “agree” and “disagree”.Â The ad featuring a bobble-head statue of Jesus has the caption, “Funny (or) Ticket to hell.”
The church has set up a website where readers are to be invited to discuss “controversial” issues such as homosexuality. The site features a video ad called “E-Z Answer Squirrel” ridiculing the doctrinal clarity of traditional Christianity in which a squirrel answers religious questions. “Easy answer squirrel, does God hate me because I’m gay?” The squirrel pulls an acorn lighting the answer, “no.”
The United Church of Canada, founded in 1925 as an amalgam of four Christian denominations, is well known for its activism in support for same-sex unions. It has also long led the religious left in officially endorsing legalized abortion.
The Globe and Mail quotes the head of the project, called Emerging Spirit, Reverend Keith Howard who said, “We are trying to increase the visibility and awareness of the United Church of Canada.”
Howard said, “We have become aware that particularly for people in the 30- to 45-age group, many of them do not even know that the United Church exists, much less what we stand for.”
While the United Church remains the largest Protestant communion in the country, its numbers have shrunk steadily, especially in the crucial young adult age range. Howard said that the United Church commissioned a report that convinced them that Canadians are put off organized religion because of its “rigid” doctrinal and moral requirements. The Church does not seem to think that its rejection of many Christian norms has anything to do with its declining numbers.
The church’s report concluded, “The United Church of Canada must establish its own unique positioning, promote its own values and help people break damaging stereotypes of organized religion.”
Other statistics show, however, that it is precisely those religious groups that retain strong and clearly defined doctrinal propositions about God and the purpose and value of human life, including clearly defined moral precepts, that gain and retain the interest of young adherents and converts. Islam, for example, is growing in Canada, as is Catholicism.
The United Church, the Anglican Communion and a number of what are often termed “mainline” Protestant churches have blurred moral and doctrinal precepts and have seen a concomitant large drop in attendance.
The Anglican church of Canada, which also holds as absolute few if any of the ‘classical’ Christian doctrinal propositions, approves of homosexual activity and has no meaningful objection to abortion, is facing imminent “extinction” according to recent data. One study shows that between 1961 and 2001, Anglican numbers declined 53 per cent. The Anglican Church is losing about 13,000 members each year and is likely to cease to exist by the middle of this century.
The research, by Keith McKerracher, a retired marketing expert who serves as an advisor to the Anglican church, reported that membership in the United Church of Canada fell from 1.04 million to 638 000 during the same period - a loss of 39 per cent. The Presbyterian Church in Canada dropped 35 per cent.
Visit the United Church’s new website