Aussie ad misuses religious figures

Lsmb marketing webCHICAGO: In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Christian-Hindu-Buddhist-Jewish leaders have urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to withdraw its “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad launched on September 4, which they say trivializes various religious figures.

This “new integrated campaign continues with the theme that Lamb is the dish that brings everyone together, with the creative content for online, social and TV showing the Gods, Goddesses and Prophets of different faiths and beliefs coming together over Lamb at a modern day spring barbecue”, an MLA release about the video ad states.

Senior Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher and well-known Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California Elizabeth Webb Beyer; in a joint statement in Nevada; said that it was highly inappropriate to drag , highly revered religious figures to sell Australian lamb meat This disrespectful marketing could be disturbing for many faithfuls.

Contradicting the MLA claim that lamb brings everyone together and unites us, Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer stated: Love, and not lamb meat, united us and brought us together. Moreover, icons of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, taken frivolously and inappropriately used; they noted.

“We, the faith leaders, were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers,” Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer added.

Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer also urged Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints reportedly received by it regarding this ad.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha, a highly revered deity in Hinduism meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed.

MLA, with about 50,000 livestock producer members and headquartered in North Sydney, “delivers research, development and marketing services to Australia’s cattle, sheep and goat producers”. Dr. Michele Allan and Richard Norton are Board Chair and Managing Director respectively.

An apparent stubbornness of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) continuing with its “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad launched on September four despite universal condemnation, Hindus may launch worldwide boycott of Australian lamb meat.

With ads like this playing with the sentiments of communities worldwide resulting in boycotts, how long Australia would keep its position as “one of the largest exporters of red meat in the world” with “Australia’s $22.9 billion red meat industry”, Rajan Zed wondered in a statement in Nevada.

Rajan Zed also took great exception to the “Fight of Gods” video game released on September 4, saying that it trivializes some highly revered religious figures. “To sell video game for mercantile greed was very disrespectful, highly inappropriate, insensitive and could be disturbing to many,” he added.

Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people, Zed added.
Peace was at the core of major religions, while this video game seemed to be full of violence. Moreover, the highly revered religious figures were not meant to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground, Zed noted.

“Fight of Gods” from developer Digital Crafter, and published by United Kingdom headquartered PQube, is said to feature “a roster of ten larger-than-life fighters” and is available on Steam platform. It has been termed as “greatest tournament ever devised” and claims “mythological beings and holy icons must battle to uncover the truth and save the world”. David Pain is CEO of PQube, while Ken Wei is CEO of Digital Crafter.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government reportedly blocked access in the country to Steam, one of the world’s largest online game stores, over its sale of a game which allows a variety of gods to beat one another up.

The move comes after the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission asked for the game to be removed from the service saying that the game could lead to “untoward incidents” and that removing it was necessary to ensure solidarity, harmony and well-being of the multi-racial and multi-religious people in the country, according to ‘The Star’.

India Post News Service

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