Why don't religions advertise?

I mean like commercials for the new improved KJV or postage-paid postcards for Budda that fall all over the floor when you pick up your Time magazine. Maybe a billboard of the last dinner with the slogan “You’re Invited!” Daren Stevens could have a field day with this stuff, and judging by the success of the omelette maker* infomercial, people will buy [into] just about anything as long as it’s on TV.

Zealots of many religions seem hell-bent (har!) on “selling” us their ideas. Why are there no commercials on TV with sparkling personalities trying to win us over? If it could work by knocking on doors, why not just broadcast it right into your living rooms:

Holywood personality: The NEW Catholic church! Eating meat since 1966!

The first 20 matches to the word “bible” at Amazon.com don’t even return an actual bible. Lots of things like The PC Upgrade & Repair Bible and 30 Days to Understanding the Bible but no actual bibles.

You’d think if they really wanted to spread the word, the mass media would be the way to go. Maybe they could use “be all you can be” now that the army isn’t using it any more.

*[sub]A small folding plastic dish that costs $20.00, no kidding.[/sub]

I don’t know about your local stations, but I always see commercials for Latter-Day Saints. Lately, there’s also been an explosion of “Act Now!”, “Not Available In Stores!” advertisements for Christian Contemporary/Songs for Worship CDs and tapes.

I’ve seen those commercials for “The Book” all over the place, and there are always little mail-order ads in the Sunday magazine section of our newspaper for nostrums like Lourdes water and glow-in-the-dark rosaries.

I just think you’re not lookin’ hard enough. :slight_smile:

There is some organization that has put billboards up in cities all over the country that have threats from God printed on them, with God’s name signed to them. For example: “Don’t Make Me Come Down There!” Or “If You Keep Taking My Name In Vain I’ll Make The Traffic Even Worse!” Apparently, Christians think that threatening people is the best way to convince us that God loves us.

And I almost forgot about those “God” billboards that have been showing up regionally in different areas of the country. Stuff like “Don’t make me come down there! - God”.


And the fundies wonder why we don’t have much respect for religion anymore…


Teach me to look before I hit Submit Reply, why don’t you? :smiley:

I might add that most of the “God” billboards aren’t threatening. Other examples include “Let’s meet at My house before the game on Sunday” or “I don’t doubt your existence”.

The point is, though, that religions can and do advertise.

Most of the fundamentalist religions seem to advertise on radio. They have entire stations unto themselves. We have people at work who listen to this all day long . They certainly advertise. TV ads are probably too expensive for most religious advertising.

Churches advertise as well. Our local paper has a “Worship Directory” every week with ads from local churches telling when services are, sometimes what the sermon topic is going to be, etc. It’s probably most helpful to someone visiting or new to town, but I guess if a sermon topic seems interesting to someone, they might go to that church to hear it, and that church might get a new member.

Many churches advertise on signs outside the church, too. There is a large evangelical church around here that specializes in “witty” sayings such as “Our building is prayer-conditioned”.

There are also many ads for churches in the Yellow Pages.

I’ve also seen a bus bench with an ad from some religious organization that says “Ruin your lawyer’s day: Forgive your spouse.”

I thought these were cute. My favorite was placed in the South during the Summer. It went, “You think it’s hot here?”

There’s a billboard near where I live that goes even further:

"Do you believe in God but don’t know what to do about it? Try Islam!"

The rest of the billboard is contact information, presumably of the local mosque or something. I’ve always thought that billboards were an odd way to spread your views on the ultimate truths of the universe, but at least it’s better than soliciting me in person.

Catholic Churches in Downtown Chicago have billboards that say “if you’re waiting for a sign this is it” Advertising for prietst.

JoHo’s walk door to door.

So do Mormans…

Religious organizations DO advertize for their religion. Maybe not totally in the crass way you state, but they do advertize. I think the other posters have given you good examples, but I will give you other ways:

  • Buddhists magazines and books with postage-paid postcards that fall advertising for a seminar, meditation place, etc.

  • Bumperstickers for various faiths

  • Baha’i faith billboards promoting their issues with free 1-800 numbers

  • Mormons with billboards and tv commercias advertising their videos with 1-800 numbers.

  • Billy Graham’s specials in ABC

  • All the various Evangelist TV stations that broadcast 24-7-365. Remember Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Fallwell, Jim Bakker? Well, now there are more from local to national stars. Even catholics have gotten into the TV media for quite a while (Trinity broadcasting, I think).

  • Jehova’s Witness free magazines

How about Mormon commercials? How about John Travolta and others advertizing for Scientology? How about all those evagenligist tv stations?

Where ya been? Religious groups have been using the media even before TV.


In my paper the churches advertise. We comp them the church directory with a religious message on it. Then generally a handful will advertise over and above that. Around Christmas and Easter we are innundated with ads about different churches, special services or programs.

Usually they are pretty controlled ads but a couple of times they have gotten flashy and flamboyant. One or two times they have gotten down right Pit-like in their condemnation of other religions/beliefs. Had to refuse an ad on occasion.

My question is why the Mormons never called themselves that in their commercials. How many people have no idea who those Latter Day Saints people are (but have a clear grasp on who’s a Mormons)?

The name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. The moniker “Mormons” came about because of association with the Book of Mormon. The LDS Church tries to discourage the nickname because it reduces use of the actual name. We would rather be known as the “LDS Church” than the “Mormons”.

I guess I don’t watch enough TV… good for me!

Oh, and as for:

Of course that was supposed to say “Eating meat on Fridays since 1966!”

So the General Answer here is, “many religions do indeed advertise.”

Next time I am in England I ll take photos of those signs in front of churches. They got the weirdest slogans on them.
Here in Austria curch wouldnt dare to do something like that. They are busy being antiquated.


I would agree that they do, but not as overtly as corporations.

Their methods of advertising are always subtle and not in your face. (Bumper Stickers are the exception i guess)

Imagine a church making an ad like a Monster Truck event…“SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!” No one would take it seriously. (Gawd…I just put that connection together…that would be a damned funny ad!!! :smiley: )

I also think that if religions started making adds like they way Micky D’s makes them, people would think, “Why do they need to advertise like this? Isn’t the fact they they have a ‘God’ good enough?” (I know I would.)

Actually the name of the LDS church is correctly “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Note hyphenation and capitalization.

I wouldn’t even mention it, except that there is another church “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, sometimes referred to as “Strangite” – a group headquartered in the midwest.