WASHINGTON -- An advertising campaign designed to help people focus on Christ at Christmas will portray an ultrasound scan of the Son of God in His mother's womb on British billboards in December despite criticism that it promotes an anti-abortion message.
The advertisement shows a sonogram image of an unborn child with a halo around his head. The message at the top of the ad says, "He's on His way," while the text at the bottom reads, "Christmas starts with Christ."
Promoters of "Baby Scan Jesus," as they have named the ad, hope it will reach 40 million people from more than 2,000 billboard and poster sites Dec. 6-20 in England, according to the Guardian, a British newspaper.
A critic called the ad incredibly naïve. "The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context. They should go back to angels and cribs," said Terry Sanderson, director of the National Secular Society, the Guardian reported in June in one of its stories about the ad.
Trustees for ChurchAds.net, the ecumenical charity behind the campaign, said the ad "is not, in any way, designed to either support or campaign against abortion." The poster "announces the imminent birth of the Christ child in the way that many modern-day parents choose to announce the coming birth of their own child," they said in a written statement.
A British pro-life leader, however, saw the ad as a "wonderful help in changing people's minds in the abortion issue."
"This is not a cluster of cells but a human person and it just happens to be the God man Jesus.... That is a very, very powerful statement that will strike a chord with the general population," said John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, according to the Guardian.
Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, commended the ad: "The picture of a scan is one of the most defining moments of a pregnancy these days -- it's full of promise and anticipation. I'm delighted to see this year's Christmas advert and pray it will encourage many people to sit up and take note of the Christmas message."