Catholic ads in NY: Jesus was 'the original hipster'
April 24th, 2013
07:17 PM ET

Catholic ads in NY: Jesus was 'the original hipster'

By Pallavi Reddy, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='pallavireports']

(CNN) - Ads around Brooklyn bring a new meaning to Joan Osborne's lyrics, “What if God was one of us?”

In a new ad campaign launched by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn this month, people in the borough and neighboring Queens have a new way to view Jesus: “The Original Hipster.”

The ads feature the bottom half of a man - meant to be Jesus - wearing robes with a pair of dirty red Converse sneakers peeking out from the bottom.

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In a news release, the diocese refers to Seth Meyers' joke on “Saturday Night Live” that Converse sneakers are why more Catholics are returning to the church, and says the marketing campaign is “showing a cooler and more welcoming side of the Catholic Church.”

Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, near Queens, is considered to be the "unofficial East Coast birthplace of hipsterism," as a 2012 article in Forbes put it.

Monsignor Kieran Harrington said he understood the importance of relating to the people of the area.

“Jesus appears (in these ads) like people of the L train,” he said. “What is a hipster anyway? Someone who stands against the (mainstream) culture. Jesus stood against the culture.”

CNN Belief: The Curious Case of the Christian Hipster

Ten months ago, the conversation started about creating such a campaign to let people know there are a variety of different faces who attend the church.

Harrington says these particular ads were a collaboration with the ad and PR agency Ruckus. Now they are found in places where the church doesn't usually advertise, including bus stands, restaurants and gyms.

The ads have generated online buzz in Salon, the Gothamist and other sites, and traffic on the diocese's website has gone up 400%, Harrington said.

As for what kind of ads to expect from the diocese next, the monsignor said: “It’s for you to find out.”

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Jesus • New York

soundoff (1,086 Responses)
  1. faith

    dodo made the world and the universe

    April 25, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Science

      You dreaming again faith ?

      April 25, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  2. Austin

    Faith, I am reporting you for being a faithful servant. I'm telling God and asking for a reward.

    April 25, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Carl Spackler

      and on your death bed you will acheive enlightenment, so you've got that going for you.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  3. Brooklyn

    thanks to secular society in the free world, religions here have been tamed.

    Hadn't we tamed these religions, it'd be like the middle east here, except with christians

    April 25, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said.

      christianity had it's chance to rule - we call that time The Dark Ages.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Austin

      Really? My church teaches that Christians follow Christ who suffered unto death. He was not the military ruler that the Jew's wanted to free their nation from Roman dominance.

      Matthew 11 (New International Version)

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      Matthew 11
      New International Version (NIV)
      Jesus and John the Baptist

      11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[a]

      2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

      4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

      7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

      “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
      who will prepare your way before you.’[c]
      11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[d] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • Austin

      Do you understand, JOHN THE BAPTIST, was in jail, and he was unhappy about his circu.mstances so he lost faith in Jesus and asked "is there another messiah?"

      John thought the messiah would be a powerful military leader. and he was the one who baptized Jesus. So if Jesus died and the church teaches that his followers should forgive and turn the cheek, love thy enemy, what are you talking about?

      What you have said is a willful misrepresentation. You have something in common with Hitler.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Austin

      booty funk, that is mentally irresponsible.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Science

      And laws of association makes it part of the devil's cults too ...........does it not Austin ?

      April 25, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Brooklyn

      hey austin,, sad you were brainwashed. Fear does those things to people. Deny it's fear and you have the makings for a terrorist

      April 25, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Squished Kitty Chronicles

      Have you ever thought of putting all your thoughts and posts into book form? You may even sell a copy to your old mom if she hasn't disowned you by now.
      PS: Do you wear red sneaks and blue jeans barely hanging onto your butt, just asking?

      April 25, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  4. Bootyfunk

    Jesus was just another nutty cult leader, like David Koresh or any other. he wasn't the son of god. he wasn't the son of a virgin. he was just a kook that wanted attention. he was either a liar or crazy, pick one. he didn't do any of that magic garbage in the bible, grow up. that book has unicorns and satyrs in it. a guy lives in the belly of a whale for 3 days – like in Pinocchio. there's a talking donkey - like in Shrek! seriously, read the whole bible if you have any doubt. you will walk away an atheist. god is a monster baby-killer. kills the first born of egypt to punish the pharoah. nice. he murdered babies to teach their leader a lesson. what a maniac.

    come on. use your brain. you know god is a myth. you know none of that is real. you can help your brothers and sisters with actions - not prayers. take the next step - think for yourself. you won't regret it.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Believe

      The fact that you even talk about him proves he existed, even if you don't believe. The fact that over 2000 years ago someone who walked this earth and claimed to be the son of God is still be spoken about and prayed to today proves this man was extremely influential.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You really need some lessons on what proof is, and what a fact is.

      Even the best experts only say jesus likely existed.
      An as far as many who believe for 2,000 years, it is just a really good scam. After 2000 years, there is still no evidence that any of it is real. The mounting evidence actually is showing the bible is false, disproven by various sciences.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Ronald

      The Bible, like most religious texts, is allegorical. Whether or not you believe is up to you, but perhaps you should go back to elementary school and brush up on reading comprehension.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Ann

      Believe – We can talk about lots of fictional characters, both recent and ancient. Gilgamesh, Isis, Hamlet, Harry Potter – discussing them doesn't make them real.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Believe

      Richard and all non-believers,

      I don't need to, nor am I trying to convince you of anything. My beliefs are my beliefs and that's it. I don't understand the point of non-believers having to add their .02 cents and not only adding it, but trying to insult people who believe in God. Not only is it childish, it also seems like you yourselves are questioning your own beliefs and you are trying to convince yourselves that you don't believe. To come on here and say "we're dumb, we're brainwashed, the bible is false, etc.", only proves further your lack on intelligence.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  5. faith

    no one walked on the moon and the earth is flat. if u believe otherwise, let's see yur proof!

    April 25, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you can't be that dumb. actually, after reading your posts, yes, obviously you can. sorry i doubted you.

      there is an absolute MOUNTAIN of proof. YOU need to provide evidence to the contrary. YOU need to tackle the evidence that is available on numerous websites. go to http://www.nasa.com. aside from th epics, video, moon rocks, etc., it has been confirmed by numerous independent sources.

      i have a better one - prove your invisible friend in the sky exists. lol.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • faith

      wake me up when she's through.

      sure dodo, we know. no. u r right. u r. seriously.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  6. Bootyfunk

    well, the "original hipster" supported slavery. jesus told slaves to obey their masters if they want any chance of getting into heaven. not exactly loving and compassionate... people should read that whole book before they decide what a great guy jesus is.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • faith

      well, the "original hipster" supported slavery. jesus told slaves to obey their masters if they want any chance of getting into heaven. not exactly loving and compassionate... people should read that whole book before they decide what a great guy jesus is."


      April 25, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      Luke 12:37-38
      37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
      38 "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”


      April 25, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      Luke 12:42-48
      42 And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?
      43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
      44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath.
      45 But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
      46 the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the unfaithful.
      47 And that servant, who knew his lord's will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes;
      48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.


      April 25, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Brooklyn

      however the religious will re- interpret how they choose what to believe. A religion of make-believe enables that

      April 25, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Brooklyn

      hey Bootyfunk,, you just proved what we've been saying.. pick what you will and ignore what doesn't fit your voodoo

      April 25, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      i said jesus supports slavery. i picked the passages where he talks about slaves. seems relevant to me. how have i been unfair? please explain. or is it just an excuse not to face the music...?

      April 25, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      sorry, brooklyn. think i read that the wrong way. late here and i'm tired. seems that you were agreeing. yes, they only read part of that book. and they usually don't read any of it - cheryy-picked passages are read to them on sunday morning when it's not football season. but they don't talk much about passages that tell you how to sell your own daughter into slavery or to kill all non-virgin brides.

      April 25, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • faith

      blah blah blah

      April 25, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • faith

      hey. that's not fair. i thought he murdered everybody

      April 25, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • faith

      u forgot to mention jesus owned several million slaves who loved him and say he was the best slave owner in town.

      god was real. atheist nazi fools prove it and then they deny him. hitler said he believed in god. that's proof, baby

      April 25, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  7. j. grazul

    OMG, Kevin Smiths visions have come true, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FigprdcBGA! I guess no one else has seen "Dogma"

    April 25, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  8. Militant Atheist

    Joshua ben Nobody-knows-who-his real-daddy-was, but most likely the natural son of Joseph of Arimathea (proved in Ex Orient Lux) and Miriam-who-couldn't-wait-until-after-marriage-to-have-$ex, was a nutty blasphemer calling himself "God" and con-artist-magician-trickster.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • faith

      "Militant Atheist
      Joshua ben Nobody-knows-who-his real-daddy-was, but most likely the natural son of Joseph of Arimathea (proved in Ex Orient Lux) and Miriam-who-couldn't-wait-until-after-marriage-to-have-$ex, was a nutty blasphemer calling himself "God" and con-artist-magician-trickster."

      brilliant. my gosh man

      April 25, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  9. vikingwoman

    I suppose if Jesus walked around these day's, he might wear sneaks! He did wear sandals though, per scripture! I also wouldn't think he'd be too happy about advertisements! Cus he was a hippster-radical like that!!

    April 25, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  10. Brooklyn

    tell Brooklyn lawmakers to stop helping the catholic church deny victims. All victims of abuse, no matter who abused. The catholic church lobbies to stop this Bill "http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Margaret-M-Markey/story/50979/"

    April 25, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Brooklyn

      this is who the catholic church is,, they don't practice what they preach

      April 25, 2013 at 6:59 am |
    • Not Godd

      Google se-x crimes by catholic church ?

      April 25, 2013 at 7:11 am |
  11. Science

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    April 25, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  12. Irving


    Maybe we will read the "Bilbi" when you read the Bible.

    April 25, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  13. cash

    the catholic church wants your money,, they'll market and manipulate as they need to.

    Rather. why not call NY lawmakers,, Brooklyn ones especially, and demand the Maekey CVA Bill be passed. This Bill exposes pedophiles and those who cover up the crimes. The catholic church is actively lobbying to block this Bill and Brooklyn lawmakers will help the church escape the truth and deny victims

    April 25, 2013 at 6:47 am |
  14. DrJStrangepork

    The problem with this analogy... Hipsters are not necessarily driven by any more than being contrary. This make me think that Jesus only said love your neighbor because that wasn't what everybody else did, and not because that is what god tasked him to do. It is a dumb campaign, and for that I think it is great. Feebly trying to repackage Jesus the way companies do with everything else shows that the people selling it are running out of ideas.

    April 25, 2013 at 6:45 am |
  15. Truth

    jesus was mentally ill

    April 25, 2013 at 6:39 am |
  16. les

    what these people are doing and saying is wrong. Their views are all wrong. their thinking is all wrong. Read the Bilbi for yourself

    April 25, 2013 at 6:34 am |
  17. les

    i feel for you Rafael. Read John 3:16 then see if you can speak evil of Him, after you find out how much He loves you.

    April 25, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Alvin Cavanaugh

      I find this ad to be extremely repulsive. I understand that Jesus was and is all things to all men, but this article is to me rediculous. After all the Catholics bad press that they have been given, it doesn't make any sense to do something like this. Hopefully this bit of bad taste will remain in one Parish!!

      April 25, 2013 at 6:43 am |
    • Science

      Hey les

      And laws of association makes it part of the devil cults too ...........does it not ?

      April 25, 2013 at 6:44 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Oh the infamous scripture where the christian's imaginary friend sacrifices his imaginary son (the product of raping an innocent girl). If a parent did that type of thing today they'd be in jail (speak to Andrea Yates...prime example of doing something bat shit crazy in the name of religion).

      April 25, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • sam stone

      les: that is a nonsense argument. but, it is probably all you have. pathetic

      April 25, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  18. ned

    so, the church is trying to pull in the 3 people in the world that think it's cool to be a hipster?

    April 25, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • the AnViL™

      ned – sure.. if you can appeal to the retards – i mean hipsters and get them to come to jebus... that's super!

      they do it with rap tunes too! check this one out!


      April 25, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  19. Jim

    Jesus was the original liberal socialist.

    April 25, 2013 at 5:47 am |
  20. the AnViL™

    why are most of the self-professed xians on this board so obnoxious, incredulous, disingenuous and downright dishonest?

    because that's what xianity breeds, cultivates, and teaches.

    tolerance of religious idiocy is coming to an end.

    April 25, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • faith

      report hate speech and threats of violence against christians

      "the AnViL™
      why are most of the self-professed xians on this board so obnoxious, incredulous, disingenuous and downright dishonest?
      because that's what xianity breeds, cultivates, and teaches.
      tolerance of religious idiocy is coming to an end."

      April 25, 2013 at 8:01 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.