Commenting on the controversy around the announcement of a Churchads.net 'Ultrasound Jesus' poster advertising campaign, Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society thinktank Eklesia, said:
"Whether it's the 'atheist bus campaign' or this Christmas message from the churches, public comment and advocacy around religion and belief excites a good deal of response, much of it pretty heated.
"As we all adjust to living in a mixed-belief society where no one group of people, religious or non-religious, can automatically get their way, the need to take stock rather than to take offence will become ever more significant - but for some it's a big cultural adjustment.
"There seems little 'subliminal' about the Ultrasound Jesus image, contrary to what some have alleged. It's a pretty straightforward depiction of a late-term womb, such as most parents will be familiar with - though the halo is not the first thing many will immediately identify with their much-loved little ones!
"However, the notion that foetal images have now been captured exclusively by one lobbying cause, or that they are somehow 'off-limits', is a perception which itself might need questioning and thinking through some more.
"At the same time, no-one, whether they are pro- or anti- this poster can realistically claim that the arrival of Jesus on the scene is an apolitical event. Historically, he confronted the status quo in the interests of the marginalised and the poor, and was put to death by a toxic combination of misplaced religious and political authority.
"The figure of Christ will inevitably create controversy and contention - but that can happen in a positive, peaceful and forward-looking way."
More on the poster campaign: http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/12369