New Zealanders Decry Risqué Christmas Billboard

Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 11:39 PM

 

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A billboard outside a church depicting Mary and Joseph in bed with each other, apparently after having sex, has caused outrage in New Zealand.

The billboard, which was put up outside St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, shows Mary and Joseph naked under the sheets with Joseph looking rather dejected. “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow,” the slogan reads.

The vicar of the progressive Anglican church, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, said that the billboard was meant to challenge literal interpretations of the Bible and engage non-believers before Christmas.

In the Bible the Virgin Mary becomes pregnant after an angel appears to her and tells her that she will give birth to the son of God. “The idea was to lampoon and ridicule the idea of a male God in the sky who somehow impregnated Mary,” Mr Cardy told The Times. “We would question the virgin birth in any literal sense. We would question the maleness of God in any literal sense.”

However, Auckland’s Roman Catholic diocese was not impressed, describing the implication that Mary and Joseph had just had sex as disrespectful and offensive to Christians.

Lyndsay Freer, a spokeswoman for Auckland’s Catholic Church, said that the billboard was particularly inappropriate given that the implication was wrong. “Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” she said.

Hours after it went on display the billboard was defaced, with brown paint smeared on the image.

To read full UK Times Online story — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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