Canadian church group launches controversial campaign

LONDON - A Canadian church is tackling the controversial issues of gay marriage and sinful sex in a humorous £5m advertising campaign and squirrel viral designed to break down the stereotypes associated with going to church.

The project, by The United Church of Canada, includes a series of magazine and newspaper ads that the church hopes will encourage new members to sign up.

One ad has used figurines of two male grooms on a wedding cake to promote the issue of gay sex marriage and poses the question, "does anyone object?".

In another, whipped cream and chocolate sauce is featured with the question, "how much fun can sex be before it's a sin?".

Despite having the largest membership base in Canada, the project aims to encourage people to join the United Church of Canada after a membership decline resulted in numbers dropping to 573,000.

Malcolm Roberts, who developed the ad campaign for United Church, told CCTV Newsnet: "We wanted people to recognise [United Church members] do have humour, they can laugh at themselves. People can ask them questions about moral, spiritual issues, whatever is on their mind."

A website, WonderCafe.ca, has also been set up by the church as a forum of discussion where users can openly debate the controversial issues.

A humorous viral featuring pet mascot EZ Answer Squirrel has been included on the site to answer tricky theological questions from users. The Squirrel helps with taxing questions such as does "God hate me if I'm gay?" or "Does this croissant look like the Virgin Mary". The answer to both questions, in case you were wondering is no.

WonderCafe creators say the site was opened because "we believe that it's important to have a place at which you can explore your spirituality and life's big questions on your own terms".

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum.