The use of religion to sell products almost always leads to controversy. Despite the angst that these ads cause, some companies willingly use faith-based themes, taking the good, the bad and the ugly, and subsequently relishing in the press that is garnered. Recent businesses that have entered this realm are Dr. Pepper and Red Bull, with the latter inevitably pulling a commercial invoking Jesus walking on water.

However, it’s not just big, notable companies that use religion to bring business and create controversy. Consider Chapel Bar & Bistro, a local establishment located in Ponsonby, New Zealand. Piggybacking off of a theme that has occasionally emerged and continues to spawn debate — the notion that Jesus Christ had a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene — Chapel decided to unleash a highly-controversial ad.

In it, Jesus and Mary are seen lying together on a bed, with the instant assumption being that something sexual has unfolded between the two parties.

Chapel Bar & Bistro Uses Jesus & Mary Ad to Sell Its Services

Photo Credit: Chapel Bar & Bistro

Perhaps most noteworthy is the positioning of the model who portrays Jesus. He is situated to look as though he is hanging on the cross. With his arms outstretched and his legs crossed, the image in reminiscent of what can be regularly viewed in houses of worship and religious imagery, alike.

Mary is also facing Jesus, with her hands shown in a prayer formation. Under the bed, a box of half-eaten pizza is observed and the line “7 Years of Almighty Nights” appears at the bottom right side of the ad.

This isn’t the first time Chapel has used Jesus in its advertisements. The two images, below, show Jesus and Mary with pizzas above their heads instead of halos. Obviously, these aforementioned images were much less controversial than this new campaign, which purposefully adds romance and sex into the mix to up the ante and to drum up attention.

Chapel Bar & Bistro Uses Jesus & Mary Ad to Sell Its Services

Photo Credit: IBelieveInAds.com/Chapel Bar & Bistro

BuzzFeed dubbed the new image “the most blasphemous ad of the week.” What do you think? Let us know in the comments section, below.

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