A producer of a tony religious website, beliefnet.com, asked us to review two proposed ads to see if they passed muster with us. The one with the pope was fine as it was a light-hearted quip that conjoined the pope with the Dalai Lama and a rabbi. It reads, “The Pope, the Dalai Lama and Rabbi Schmuley Boteach walk into a bar…” At the bottom, it advertises beliefnet.com with the comment, “We all believe in something.” While not our cup of tea, it did not single out the pope and was not insulting.
However, the one with the Virgin Mary was not: inserted over a picture of Mary with her arms extended were the words, “Religious icon? Garden gnome? Discuss.” Though it was far from the worst we’ve seen, we recommended they drop it. They did just that. End of story.