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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Pot-bellied Jesus ad irks Church
By Frances Harrison
BBC religious affairs reporter

Catholic bishops in Belgium have protested against a TV ad depicting Jesus as a pot-bellied hippy picking up half-naked women in a nightclub.

The advertisement is being aired on the country's main TV channel to promote youth channel Plug TV.

The Catholic Church says this sort of portrayal of Jesus is disrespectful to believers and that it is wrong to use him for advertising.

However, Plug TV denies that the advertisement is blasphemous.

'Number one dad'

The ad shows a long-haired hippy Jesus grooving along as he tries to get into a nightclub and is refused entry by the bouncers.

Jesus makes the sign of the cross and sweeps aside the bouncers, shrinking them so they are left in his wake as dwarves.

This Plug TV version of Jesus then drinks whisky at the bar and magically turns two brown haired frumpy women into blonde babes wearing bikini tops and red horns.

The Jesus character then disappears into a huge limousine with the women but his attention is distracted by an advertisement for Plug TV before he is recalled by God who is standing on a cloud, wearing a T shirt with "Number one dad" written on it.

The God figure tells Jesus off for wanting to watch Plug TV as well as everything else - saying "you still want more".

The Catholic Church has expressed its disapproval to the TV channel - saying advertising is not the same as journalism and should not share the same concerns about freedom of expression.

The Church believes this advertisement "crosses the limits of respectability".

Plug TV however argues it is not blasphemous but contains a message about a "laid-back Jesus addressing youth".

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