Australian Christians Not Too Keen on Ads Linking Jesus and Islam

Few could have seen this coming, but an Australian billboard campaign implying Jesus was Muslim has failed in its goal of bringing Christianity and Islam into glorious harmony. Erected in Sydney by a Muslim group called Mypeace, the "Jesus: A Prophet of Islam" billboards have sparked vandalism and more than 65 complaints with the nation's Advertising Standards Bureau. The oversight group opted to let the billboards stand, rebuffing critics who filed complaints such as, "There is absolutely no chance a 'Jesus is the Son of God' billboard would be displayed in Iran." Giving regulators credit for making the right call, opinion writer David Penberthy of Australian news site The Punch noted that "following the lead of Iran on a free speech issue is probably not the path we want to go down here." Still, the ads remain hotly contested, especially now that Mypeace is preparing to launch duplicate billboards in the city of Adelaide. The plan may have been to raise awareness of the Koran's positive references to Jesus as a messiah, but you have to assume the ad is being replicated based on its controversy, not its educational effectiveness. Any thoughts on how such a billboard would go over in the United States?

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."