From The Universe
dated October 31, 1999:
By Marie Parry
A controversial advertising campaign using the image of the Sacred
Heart was banned in Northern Ireland after Catholics objected to it.
American organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (Peta)
sparked controversy with a poster campaign which depicts Jesus with a
slice of orange for his halo.
The poster, which was due to debut on the Falls Road in Belfast, was
withdrawn after the billboard company, TDI, expressed fears that the
board would be "burned down".
The poster campaign was intended to encourage people to become
The caption read: "Jesus was a vegetarian, Show respect for God's
creatures - follow him".
But the choice of venue and imagery immediately sparked a fierce
backlash in the Catholic community. Fr John McManus, spokesman for the
diocese of Down and Connor said: "The tampering of the image of Christ
was regrettable, distasteful and unfortunate.
The Sacred Heart is an image which is held in such devotion here -
people don't want to see it used in this way."
A spokesman for Sinn Fein said that Peta's message would have
"appealed to anyone, not just Catholics", but by using the image of
Christ in such a "controversial" way they had alienated their audience.
But, despite being refused permission to put the poster up on the
Falls Road, the pressure group refused to halt the campaign.
Instead, the group drove the poster around Belfast on a mobile
Anthony Butler of Peta said: "We refused to let them thwart us and we
got a great response. Most people reacted with surprise and amusement.
Some people found it offensive, but they obviously had a guilty
conscience - people don't like to be faced with how factory animals are
Mr Butler denied that the orange halo used in the poster was a
deliberate reference to the political tensions in the province.
He said: "The design was just intended to make the poster
eye-catching - in fact it was meant to be a slice of lemon."
He added: "We're very pleased with the campaign
"It is unfortunate that some people have reacted so strongly to the
poster but the church has a duty to take a strong line against animal
Reproduced with thanks.