Saturday, November 19, 2011
The clothing manufacturer Benetton is known for its controversial ads, and here it goes again. The latest campaign labelled Unhate features a number of world leaders bussing one another, including the pope in a lingering smooch with a Muslim cleric. Personally I find it disrespectful and unnecessarily provocative. The Vatican has threatened legal action causing Benetton to pull the ad, but the milk has been spilt in the age of the internet.
Personally I find it disrespectful and unnecessarily provocative. Hey, if they made me pope I would be offended. This ad did get me thinking. Pope Benedict's recent gathering in Asissi, bringing together representatives of the world's religions as well as atheists committed to peace was at least an "air kiss" on the cheeks of those who had formerly been viewed as enemies. It was an Unhate initiative which should have received much more attention.
The Christian story has at least one vignette of a kiss of betrayal (Judas in the garden) and a beloved parable about a father who welcomes his wayward child back home with a kiss and embrace. We have a long history of the "kiss of peace" as a form of greeting, although we Protestants are a tad frigid when it comes to that one.
What do you think about the Benetton image? What about the imagery of the kiss of reconciliation and peace?