Churches whinge and squander golden evangelism opportunity


The ABC reports…

“Gambling company Sportsbet has displayed “extraordinary arrogance and hubris” in floating a giant Jesus air balloon over Melbourne to promote betting on the World Cup, Reverend Tim Costello says.

Rev Costello, the chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, said the stunt was an overreach and against the principles Jesus stood for.

“There seems to be no corporate or civic responsibility to say ‘hang on, is nothing sacred?'” Rev Costello said.

“Is betting to absolutely dominate not just casino and gamble areas and TV rooms, but now literally the sky?

“This is extraordinary, if they knew anything about Jesus they’d know he’d be overturning tables in the gaming halls, because they’re highly addictive and destroy lives.”

Sportsbet spokesman Matthew Campbell said the company expected some criticism but stood by its marketing campaign.

“We realise that some people are entitled to their opinions, but from our point of view with over half a million followers on social media, we think we’re talking to the right people and those people might have a different opinion,” he said.

Mr Campbell said the promotion was about the Socceroos, not gambling.

“It’s not actually about having a bet; it’s about rallying the troops behind the Socceroos, who are massive underdogs,” Mr Campbell said.

“It’s a balloon replica of a famous statue that is used extensively to promote the World Cup.

“You can’t turn on the TV promotion without them showing the Christ the Redeemer all the time.

“All we’ve done is bring it to Australia and give it a Socceroos flavour.”

Rev Costello has called on the sport’s governing body Football Federation Australia (FFA) to speak out against the campaign.

“One of the great statues in Rio is Jesus, and Brazil is a Catholic nation that takes its faith seriously and its football fanatically,” Rev Costello said.

“You don’t exploit those things that are sacred to people simply for your own advertising reach and I think that soccer as a world game should be sensitive to that and certainly express their disdain for these types of advertisements”.

FAA officials are in Brazil and not available for comment.

This is not the first time the gambling company has caused a stir with a controversial marketing campaign.

Last year, Sportsbet promoted a rugby clash between Australia and Britian with a giant sign sprayed on a paddock near the Melbourne Airport depicting the two countries’ lion and wallaby mascots copulating, coupled with an offensive slogan.

The sign was condemned by the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria.”



3 thoughts on “Churches whinge and squander golden evangelism opportunity

  1. Yeah, ok…I agree, most Christians, including myself I think ice just displayed, assume a greater awareness of who Jesus is than actually is there! However I think, of the stories I read, most tried to not just complain, but to outline what it was about Jesus that made the balloon so offensive…but, at the same time assumed the greater part didn’t need explanation.

    I apologise for assuming you knew nothing about problem gambling.


  2. I understand only too well the problem of gambling addiction because I’ve experienced it myself.
    But I think it’s time Christian leaders walked AND chewed gum at the same time.
    Churches, of course, should continue to stand on moral issues where harm is being done to the community, but at some point they have to use these opportunities to get their positive message out (which they also fail to do at Christmas and Easter when they’re handed the public airwaves on a platter)

    I used to live in multi-cultural Melbourne .. and I think you have to take a step back from the Christian culture .. and acknowledge .. most people seeing the story would be going .. ‘who or what is Jesus and why is this an issue?’

    I can’t imagine the average Melbourne pokies player or TAB punter having any clue about who Jesus is or was ..

    I think you have to assume most people are as unaware about the world around them as Ricky Muir…

    I work with 25 year olds who don’t know who Mikhail Gorbachev is and don’t know how to pronounce the name.

    (Gough Whitlam, was he in the band ‘The Whitlams’?)

    Churches need to go further than just saying ‘Jesus is more than a swear word’ and SWAMP the media with explanations of who Jesus was ..

    This is not America where most go through Jesus basic training.

    So any pronouncements from the church about the offensiveness of a giant betting-agency sponsored Jesus balloon flying over Melbourne will just go over people’s heads.


  3. You understand nothing of the pain gambling causes individuals, families and entire communities if you think what Christians did was whinge and miss an opportunity. You also show a lack of understanding of who and what Jesus stood for….Jesus was FOR the poor and oppressed, whereas Sports Bet is OUT FOR the poor and oppressed.

    I disagree that it was an opportunity missed, by stating what Jesus stood for as opposed to what Sports Bet stands for, Christians are promoting the gospel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s