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. In all honesty

    For the Christians...asking me to believe what you believe exactly the way you believe it is impossible for me. I'm sure it is for the atheists too.

    For the atheists.....just let it go, man. Just let it go.

    April 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Pete

      I'm sure there were plenty of people telling MLK to "just let it go" as well.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • lol??

      Petester, where'd ya get yer name? MOhammmud?

      April 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • lol??

      You wouldn't be a lost jew hater, ya know the jews that ain't jews? Plenty of christian pretenders that pretend the rapture! Cuz the jews are special! 'Cept they're NOT. Poor widdle muslims, wantin' a dream. DIVORCE DUDES. Wurld rules! Understand??

      April 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  2. faith

    take this punk's threats straight to the fbi and homeland security. don't let up until you are satisfied they "get it" with this terrorist.

    "William Demuth
    Is that all the compensation your cult thinks it is going to have to pay for its crimes?
    We will bankrupt you, stigmatize you, imprison your leaders and expunge your madness from our culture.
    And just remember for a moment all those you folks have stepped on?
    They are itching for some payback.
    I would prefer a sucular society, but if given the choice between your faith and the muslims, I will support the Muslims every time. Not because their lies are better than yours, but simply because they will do to you what you guys did to the Jews.
    They will wage a genocide against you, and I will cuddle up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the hell out of the show.

    William Demuth
    Your beliefs are bigoted obsolete and dangerous
    We shall be free of them, by force if need be.
    Your days in the sun are done, and all those you have abused are itching to get a little payback"

    April 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • fred

      The Christian bible is loaded with far worse threats against humanity. Get over yourself.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • LOL

      Can anyone tell who said what including faith whenever faith posts anything?

      April 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • faith

      I said what I said in the post before hand. Its present was as I had quoted it seen.

      Just because you won't understand don't make arguments.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • LOL

      I guess that is your way of saying that you "top-posted". Now where is a date and time for your quote. You've been untrustworthy in the past regarding quotes so show where your quotes came from or we consider them bogus.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  3. Seyedibar

    It hardly matters how many ways christians reinterpret, redress, and reform their folk hero. It will not change the fact that the man in the tales never existed.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Larry

      Oh, Jesus the man may have existed, but that Christ guy, the one who supposedly is the only one who can get people into heaven and who's coming to slaughter all the nonbelievers ... soon (no kidding) well, that's the character that so many don't take very seriously.

      It's like saying that, while Vlad may have been a pretty bad guy who impaled his enemies by ramming poles up their wazoos, that doesn't mean that we should believe that he could turn into a bat at will and didn't cast reflections in mirrors. Lots of real people have had incredibly tall tales told about them. What's wrong with suspecting that Jesus was one of them?

      April 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Puzzled

      I have been trying to figure out for MONTHS if Yeshua (a Jewish Rabbi) actually was alive or not. I can't figure it out. Shouldn't just for the sake of history be accurate one way or the other somehow?

      April 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  4. biggles

    He was god almighty.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Cunning Linguist

      Emphasis on the "was".

      April 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      A master of many tongues?

      April 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  5. MrHighMighty

    Interesting that these Catholics put out an advertisement that seeks to make Jesus Christ appear more accessible, but in their theology and practice the Catholics continue to surround Jesus with barriers and detours and intermediaries.

    April 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  6. Joel

    I don't know about 'Hipster", but what Yeshua did was the will of the Father 24/7. The Son of God revealed to the world and to the religious leaders of the day Who God Is, and what He expects of us. He taught us a lot by Word and example. But what He really came to do was atone for our sins. He is the promised seed of Abraham through whom God will bless all the nations of the earth by faith. His ministry was awesome, but far more reaching was His death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Receive Him as Savior/Messiah and Lord and you will know the peace of the Lord. Shalom

    April 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • sam

      I just want to be really clear on this though. God sacrificed a part of himself TO himself to absolve creatures he made from sins he invented. That's one convoluted loophole. If you think that's ok, then hey, keep it and enjoy.

      April 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Pete

      The guy gets executed in exactly the same way that thousands of others were killed after what, two or three years of preaching, and you call that successful? It was only by the luck of having it sponsored by an Emperor's mother that Christianity became as popular as it did. Of course, other religions never had a fraction of this kind of good luck and still hung around. Even religions started by people who openly admitted that starting one was a great way to get rich prosper. The secret of the success of religion is people's gullibility ... and their fear.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • He lied

      He said he would come back within one lifetime. It didn't happen, after 2000 years it still hasn't happened

      April 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Pete

      He lied
      They got around that with the legend of the Wandering Jew. The amazing thing is that people actually believed it.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  7. borderlinereckless

    Reblogged this on Reckless Abandon Wrapped in Common Sense and commented:
    How will you be a hipster in your lifetime?

    April 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Answer

      "Come to my site because I can't be bothered to do my own blogging."

      April 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Answer

      "You've posted a comment on CNN, now come and post into mine."

      April 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  8. lol??


    I woke up in a Soho doorway
    The policeman knew my name
    He said, "You can go sleep at home tonight
    If you can get up and walk away"
    I staggered back to the underground
    The breeze blew back my hair
    I remembered throwing punches around
    And preachin' from my chair

    Who are you
    Who who who who
    Who are you
    Who who who who

    April 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  9. Well...

    With the orange high tops back in the bronze age, the totally different from the original name and so on it's no wonder nobody is sure if he even existed or not.

    April 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    People who don't want their beliefs laughed at shouldn't believe such funny things.

    April 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Not so

      A god is someone's way of dealing with their mortality. Most of us, most of the time, all get by feeling no need to comment on other people's dieties. I understand though, orange sneakers are tough to overlook.

      April 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  11. Jesus Chr-

    Sneakers, mohawk, several tats... I bet the atheism version of just plain fictional seems like a compliment now huh?

    April 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Pete

      "Sneakers, mohawk, several tats..."
      Sounds like 80% of the newly-minted youth pastors out there these days, young women included. They're like teachers fresh out of ed. school; trying to look "cool" for the kids, but only making them hate them all the more. Sad!

      April 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  12. bostontola

    Today is the 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick's announcement of the structure of DNA. 60 years. How can 60 years go by with the chemical understanding of evolution and still a huge population denies it!

    April 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Answer

      Education isn't a necessity to the downtrodden religious tards.

      April 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • sam

      Chik-Fil-A is their answer.

      April 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Boris

      They're not thinking of it in terms of evolution. They would just like to just find a way to develop a way to raise McNuggets from birth – no feathers or appendages...

      April 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      denial is not just a river in Egypt ...

      April 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Science

      Dyslexic doG................ it runs deep........................down the Mississippi too ? Denial that is .

      April 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • It's been 2000 years

      Since jesus said he would come back within one lifetime and 2000 years later there are over 1,000,000,000 people that denie something is wrong with the picture

      April 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  13. Reality

    And summarizing with:

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (References used are available upon request.)

    April 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  14. lol??

    C'mon scabies, tighten up on yer coagulatin',

    Hi everybody
    I'm Archie Bell of the Drells
    From Houston, Texas
    We don't only sing but we dance
    Just as good as we walk

    In Houston we just started a new dance
    Called the Tighten Up
    This is the music
    We tighten up with

    First tighten up on the drums
    Come on now, drummer
    I want you to tighten it up for me now
    Oh yeah

    Tighten up on that bass now
    Tighten it up, ha, ha, yeah
    Now let that guitar fall in, oh yeah
    Tighten up on that organ now


    April 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Science

      And the sand is waiting for you lol??


      April 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Akira

      You're taking me back to my childhood with that one, lol??.
      How about some 'Crazy World of Arthur Brown' lyrics? Seems apropos, no?

      April 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ponyboy Garfunkel

      And now for the truly obscure:

      Hi everybody, we're the Nazz from Philadelphia, home of tuna fish hoagie.
      In Philadelphia, we do a little thing called the loosen up. It goes like this.
      First we loosen up on the drums. OK, now we loosen up on the bass. All right
      let the guitar player fall in. Now then, now then, the organ player. Get
      loose everybody. Do the loosen up. You can do it now. Ain't nothing to it
      now. Loosen up baby. Get loose. Hang loose baby. Hang loose mother.
      Hang loose fungo bat.

      "Loosen Up" by The Nazz (60's band featuring one thin and pale, Todd Rundgren)

      April 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  15. HeavenSent

    Catholics are misled they need to learn the truth.


    April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You agree that their god does not exist. Welcome to the 19th century.

      April 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • I wonder

      "Catholics are misled they need to learn the truth."

      And just WHO do you think put together that goofy book that you read and quote so often?!

      April 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  16. EX catholic

    Just more garbage and gibberish from the RCC! That's why I have been saying that IDOLATRY IS NOT RELIGION. IDOLATRY is a Very Serious SIN. DO NOT be Deceive by these Idolaters, they don't know Christ, they don't understand Scripture, their worship to mute Idols is worship to demons. Don't listen to them, don't follow them DON'T BE DECEIVE by these Fakes.

    April 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Science

      Surprising New Function for Small RNAs in Evolution.........time to pound sand maybe ?

      Apr. 19, 2013 — An international research team in including Christian Schlötterer and Alistair McGregor of the Vetmeduni Vienna has discovered a completely new mechanism by which evolution can change the appearance of an organism. The researchers found that the number of hairs on flies' legs varies according to the level of activity of a so-called microRNA.


      April 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • EX catholic

      @ Science,

      Good for you dog! Keep barking and don't forget to scratch when the fleas bite you!

      April 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      right. be decieved by other fairy tales

      April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Science

      No thanks ...............splat goes the fairy in the sky !

      Have a great lie ...................EX

      April 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Science

      Oops ..........life too !

      April 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jesus hipster

      ...and you think you've made JESUS happy talking down on the catholic church the way you have?
      You think you are smarter than all the lettered men down 2000 years......
      ont take yrself so seriously

      April 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • IDOLATRY is a Very Serious SIN

      ?!... I thought all sins were the same in seriousness? So some sins are better than others? Like for the same "price" I can have one gluttony or 2 lies or ½ a blasphemy? So I if I can save up enough not telling lies to have a free forn-ication?

      April 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  17. Benny

    This is a ridiculous campaign. You can't appeal to hipsters by saying Jesus was a hipster; hipsters hate being called or thought of as hipsters. You're basically making Jesus look like a poser. Juuuust saying.

    April 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • sam

      Good old Buddy Jesus!

      April 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And yet if hipsterism isn't hip, it's unhipness makes it hip. The hipster who embraces their hipsterism is unhip and therfore extra hip.
      It's a vicious circle.

      April 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • lol??

      get with it dcc,

      Cool jerk, cool jerk, cool jerk, cool jerk
      We know a cat who can really do the cool jerk
      We know a cat who can really do the cool jerk
      This cat they're talking about
      I wonder who could it be
      'Cause I know I'm the heaviest cat
      The heaviest cat you ever did see
      When you see me walking down the street
      And they clapping and they speak
      All the business they wish to whisper it
      But they know I'm the king of the cool jerks
      Cool jerk, cool jerk, cool jerk, cool jerk
      Ah ha ha

      April 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  18. Bob

    Too many sick and cheesy Christian videos being posted, so it's time to hear the truth about religion, from George C.

    April 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion


      April 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • jim

      bob, do you not know how old that video is? the man is dead, let him rest in peace, he has learned how wrong he was except the part about the catholic church, oh yeah I forgot, that's how old it is. j

      April 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam

      jim, how has he learned how wrong he was? Go ahead, spit it out, it'll be funny to watch.

      April 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • jim

      sam you dope did you not read my whole comment?

      April 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • jim

      sammy, maybe you really do not know George at all and maybe you have not watched his performances.

      April 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Dee Anne

      I'm not sure showing a model wearing sneakers and representing it as Jesus is the best approach. First of all, the sneakers look too large (note the up-curve of the toes of shoes) and the whole thing looks unrealistic. Perhaps doing a campaign based on the "look of Love" might be more appropriate. What does love look like? Acceptance of one's self, of others whatever their creed, color or nationality, helping the less fortunate, kind words to lift those who might be having a bad day, a simple smile while recognizing another's existence...the list goes on and on. There are plenty of pictures of what Jesus spoke of...of how He lived on this earth. Dirty sneakers do not support His reason for being here. Being portrayed as a hipster? Sounds like they needed to hire a more in-touch person to come up with a campaign. I like that they are trying to show that God relates to us, meets us where we are, but the visual message is, to me who is a Christian, not doing that.

      April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Dee Ann, why does anyone need to be "hired" for that, and for other god-fraud-selling activities that moronic Christians seem to need to keep their pathetic pyramid scheme going.

      As usual, Christian god can't do the job himself because he doesn't exist.

      April 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam

      jim. Asshole. "He has learned how wrong he was". Everyone knows he's dead, dumbass. That's why I asked you to tell us how he 'learned he was wrong' about religion. Can you not fucking read?

      April 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Jim, have you spoken to George since he's died? Do tell.

      April 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • jim

      I can not believe no one understood my comment but my aren't we testy when we do not know what someone is talking about. no one talked to the dead (not possible) akira buI think you already got that part and sammie?............

      April 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Terry

      Umm, jim, we all got what you were trying to tell us, you buffoon. We were just all laughing at your sheer fucking stupidity in your thinking that we didn't get it.

      April 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • sam

      Run along, now, jim, you little short bus window licker.

      April 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • jim

      sammie and friends, it must hurt real bad to feel so lost out on what to say. I am so sorry you guys have to come up with answers that are so lacking in educated language but have to use the foul ignorant speech that emulates the fellow in the cartoon that started all this. please accept my apology for causing you to spew out the manure you seem to feel will be accepted by others that share in an educated dialogue.

      April 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  19. whoa

    check out a new atheist page – Poetic Atheism – on facebook.

    April 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • lol??

      Was Poetic Justice the first entry? Coagulators are a widdle light on that subject.

      April 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Akira


      April 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  20. Dale


    April 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Boris

      Eeeewww! Xtian cardboard "music". Maybe three or four chords at most.

      April 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Dale

      Boris-what a cacophony of sound bites you make!!

      April 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • meifumado

      What a boring song.

      April 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      This song is nothing more than a repetitive, brainwashing chant.

      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      April 25, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Vine

      “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” Peace replaces a television set, now stop demanding that television set. Keep calling out for Lennon and you will find peace. You are as absurd as Lennon.

      April 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      Really? This brilliant quote from Mr Lennon is straight to the point, and elementary enough that even simple people would grasp what he was saying. Unfortunately, John still overestimated the intelligence of ignorant pricks like you. To put it in 1960s terms, you "jesus freaks" are the only absurdities here.

      "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.
      I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right." - John Lennon

      April 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • .

      Pissed off that people still take Lennon's word's to heart, Vine? Lennon was right. Get your stupid nose away from the television set. That shit'll rot your brain, fool.

      April 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • eh

      Dogs still barking!

      April 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      And since Vine is into absurdities...

      It's time for another episode of "Bowling for god" with Benny Hinn. Enjoy!


      "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.
      I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right." - John Lennon

      April 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • eh

      Is it true barking dogs don't bite?

      April 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @eh – "Dogs still barking!"
      @eh – "Is it true barking dogs don't bite?"

      While every dog has its day, the other 364 belong to the cats!


      "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.
      I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right." - John Lennon

      April 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • eh

      threatened dogs continue to bark!

      April 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Akira

      Has our resident little Bibletroll found a new handle?

      April 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • eh

      Looks like the resident barking dog keeps changing handles.

      April 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
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About this blog

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.