Rev. Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP

The African Christian Democratic Party has added its voice to criticism of Red Bull’s “Jesus” advert, saying it undermines the Christian faith.

ACDP leader the Rev Kenneth Meshoe called on Thursday for the removal of the advert from television screens, saying it also denied “the miracle of Jesus walking on water”.

The advertisement features a person depicting Jesus, who is fishing with two disciples from a boat. The Jesus character, disillusioned after not catching anything, leaves the boat and walks away. His skill at walking on water then prompts a discussion as to whether he might have taken a Red Bull to enable him to do so, but Jesus later retorts that no miracle was involved – he just knew where the stepping stones were.

The advertisement has caused outrage in Christian circles, with many saying it is offensive and blasphemous. Meshoe said the advert, by using the Bible story of Jesus walking on water, was scornful of the Christian faith. “We question the reasoning of Red Bull’s marketing manager’s claims that they are using well-known stories that happen to be Christian stories, whilst excluding those of other faiths such as Islam,” he said.

“We believe that hundreds of complaints from Christians who find the advert distasteful and blasphemous should be respected by Red Bull, and the only way of showing their respect is to remove the ad from our television screens.”