Amazon Relativizes Religion (USA Today)

During the holiday season, Amazon released a new commercial:

It depicts a Catholic priest and a Muslim cleric meeting for a cup of tea in what appears to be the priest’s home. It all looks very friendly with smiles, laughter, and even a close-up of the priest patting the imam’s forearm affectionately. At some point, the imam rubs his knees. This is our clue about the content of their conversation. They are discussing prayer and a shared problem:

Prayer is hard on the knees.

The two men finish their tea, rise from their seats, hug, and then the priest sees the imam to the door. On the street, the imam rubs his chin and reflects on the conversation. Inside, the priest does the same and, taking his iPhone out of his pocket, he taps the Amazon app and orders something. But what did he order?

The answer comes when, shortly thereafter, the imam hears a knock at his door. It is an Amazon delivery. The priest also receives a delivery from Amazon. The men open their respective boxes and find that each was thinking the same thing: inside are knee pads. They chuckle, slip them on, and the commercial ends with the priest, in a church, kneeing comfortably before his God in prayer while the imam does the same in a mosque.

It is hard to be too critical of this commercial. In a time when so much of what we see, especially in advertising, is inflammatory, this spot is clean, gentle, and hopeful. But for all of its good intentions, what is the commercial saying?

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