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Chesus Christ; MPs slam church poster lookalike of communist firebrand Guevara.

A STUNNING poster of Jesus looking like famed rebel Che Guevara sparked uproar last night.

Ex-Tory MP Harry Greenway branded it "grossly sacrilegious" and said the churchmen behind it should be excommunicated.

He added he would protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, in the "strongest possible language".

The stark red and black image was unveiled yesterday in a shock attempt to get people back to church at Easter.

With it comes the message: Meek? Mild? As if! Discover the real Jesus. Church. April 4.

But Mr Greenway, sponsor of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said: "Jesus was perfect. It is grossly sacrilegious to liken him to Che Guevara." And Tory MP Ann Widdecombe added: "We should be modelling ourselves on Christ, not modelling Christ on us."

The campaign was launched by the Churches' Advertising Network, which caused a storm with its ad of the Three Wise Men having a bad hair day.

It wants the posters displayed at churches, bus stops, railway stations and hoardings throughout Britain.

CAN spokesman the Rev Tom Ambrose said: "We want people to realise that Jesus was not a meek, mild wimp in a white nightie, but a real, passionate and caring person.

"Jesus was a revolutionary figure - more revolutionary than anyone in the 20th century. He was crucified exactly because he was revolutionary."

Fellow churchman Peter Owen-Jones stressed: "We are not saying that Jesus was a communist.

"We are exploiting the image of revolution, not the image of Che Guevara."

Argentinian Marxist Che helped Fidel Castro overthrow the Cuban dictatorship in 1959 and set up a communist state.

He was killed leading a rebel group in Bolivia in 1967.

The Rev Ambrose conceded that the poster - aimed at all Christian churches - might spark problems.

He said: "There is a danger that people will see it and expect something radical from their local church, which they might not get.

"We cannot control the product. Christianity is not a tin of beans."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kwatra, Anjali
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 6, 1999
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