In the film, Buddy is part of a campaign ("Catholicism Wow!") to renew the image of (and interest in) the Catholic Church. Viewing the crucifix image as "wholly depressing", the Church, led by Cardinal Glick (George Carlin), decides to retire it, and creates Buddy Christ as a more uplifting image of Jesus Christ. The icon consists of a statue of Jesus, smiling and winking while pointing at onlookers with one hand and giving the thumbs-up sign with the other hand. The Buddy Christ was later produced as an action figure and a bobblehead. The image has since been turned into a popular Internet meme.
In addition to its unveiling in the film Dogma, Buddy Christ appears several other times in the View Askewniverse.
- A nun (Carrie Fisher) who picks up a hitchhiking Jay and Silent Bob in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has a Buddy Christ statue on her car dashboard.
- In the animated short Clerks: The Lost Scene, the "death cards" that Randal flicks through have numerous images that resemble Buddy Christ, as well as the angels from Dogma, Bartleby and Loki.
- In the film Clerks II, Jay wears a "Got Christ?" tank top with Buddy Christ's image.
- Mooby the Golden Calf, a false god or idol in Dogma, is often seen in the same pose as Buddy Christ. It is most notably featured at Mooby fast food restaurants (in Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II).
Real life appearances
Buddy Christ was also featured in a Phones4U advert, where a cartoon graphic depicting him was featured alongside a range of Android phones with the message "Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones". The United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority later issued a rebuke regarding the advert, saying "We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text "miraculous" deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ's resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs."
- McDannell, Colleen (2008). Catholics in the Movies. Oxford University Press. pp. 301–302. ISBN 0-19-530656-2.
- Nichols, Stephen J. (2008). Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ. InterVarsity Press. pp. 180–181. ISBN 0-8308-2849-4.
- "Phones4U Jesus advert banned for 'mocking Christianity'". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- Giles, Keith (May 1, 2001). "Kevin Smith Interview". Comic Book Resources.