JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's Roman Catholic bishops, outraged over a Red Bull commercial that shows a "bored" Jesus walking on water, have asked Catholics to give up the energy drink during the traditional Lent fasting period.
Red Bull pulled the ad from South African TV after an outcry from the country's Christians and Muslims, the South African Press Association reported.
The commercial shows a cartoon Jesus Christ walking on water, apparently after receiving a boost from the caffeine- and sugar-laden drink.
At the end of the ad, when he slips on a stone that is just below the water's surface, he exclaims: "Oh, Jesus!"
SAPA reported that Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, head of Catholic bishops in southern Africa, said Red Bull had "overstepped a mark."
He called on Roman Catholics to donate to charity any money saved by not buying Red Bull during Lent, the period of 40 days that leads up to Easter.
South Africa's Muslim Judicial Council, meanwhile, warned of the consequences of "secular extremism" against any religious faith.
In a statement, Red Bull said that "it is never our intention to hurt anyone's feelings," the Associated Press reported.
Johannesburg's Times newspaper said that the commercial, broadcast Monday night during a local newscast and Grey's Anatomy, prompted more than 100 complaints in just one day.
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