Xians cross at Rooney
Offence-seekers have been tripping over each other in their rush to express their dismay at the recent Nike ad, featuring England footballer Wayne Rooney painted up with the cross of St George in his habitual goal-celebration pose.
Wayne’s a good Catholic boy and I think the obvious crucifixion nuance is one part of it, but the aggressive nature of the pose is something we could do without.
And the Rev Rod Thomas of the CofE evangelical group Reform (catchy slogan: “Our overall aim is to win the nation for Christ”):
It’s quite a disturbing image and because the paint is wet, it really looks like blood
It therefore brings to mind the crucifixion to many people, and why Nike would want to do that, I haven’t a clue, unless it is simply as a publicity stunt.
The trivialisation of Christ’s suffering is highly offensive to Christians and to God. This will cause real hurt to people.
But being offensive to Christians isn’t going to get you anywhere, so let’s try to recruit some other offendees:
The other aspect of it is the aggression contained in it, bound up with the flag of St George, which you might see as a throwback to the Crusades, which is hardly going to go down well with Muslim countries. It’s offensive on several different levels.
Also in the Mail is an opinion piece by Stephen Glover in which he hilariously describes the advert as having “confused theology”:
Rooney is part Woden, the Norse god of war, part the suffering but triumphant Christ.
The cross is so iconic that it sadly being often used in advertising in a tasteless manner.
There are surely other ways for Nike to get their message across. Footballers are exalted celebrities. I’m not blaming the players, but their agents should think a little more carefully about the kind of publicity they get sucked into.
Nike defend their poster:
This shot is not intended to have religious connotations. It’s a celebration of Wayne Rooney’s unique goal celebration style represented with a St George Cross. Wayne celebrates with his arms outstretched.