Joseph and Mary, Lying in a Bed…

A billboard about religion is causing controversy and, this time, atheists have nothing to do with it:

This billboard went up in New Zealand, courtesy of the St Matthew-in-the-City church. They say they put it up to encourage dialogue with non-believers.

I’m not sure how that billboard is going to make me believe the Bible, or go to church, or get closer to a god, or anything like that… but I’m amused, nonetheless.

The Catholics? Not so much.

But the city’s Catholic diocese is not impressed, saying the implication that Mary and Joseph had just had sex was “disrespectful” and “offensive” to Christians.

Spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer told the New Zealand Herald it was particularly inappropriate given the inference was wrong.

“Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” she said.

I don’t actually understand the controversy.

Joseph and Mary were married, so presumably they had sex, right? Even if it wasn’t their sex that conceived Jesus, is it wrong to think they could lie in bed together? Mary wasn’t a virgin for life, was she?

(On a side note, look at Joseph in the picture. How could Jesus not be his son? This would be an open/shut case on Maury.)

Now, stick a Viagra symbol on this billboard and I’ll understand the uproar…

(Thanks to David for the link!)

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Mary wasn’t a virgin for life, was she?

    The Catholics believe otherwise, actually. Go figure.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    The Catholics believe otherwise, actually.

    I beg to differ. Got this from our Jesuit theology teacher, back when I was a freshman in Catholic high school – “we’re not supposed to believe that Mary had sex with Joseph before Jesus came along, but it’s OK to assume that she did have sex with Joseph after Jesus came along.” There’s a part of the Bible that does talk about Jesus’ brothers.

    (I’m not Catholic anyore, but I remember a lot of the stuff we learned in school.)

  • J. J. Ramsey

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Mary’s perpetual virginity

    In connection with the study of Mary during Our Lord’s hidden life, we meet the questions of her perpetual virginity, of her Divine motherhood, and of her personal sanctity. Her spotless virginity has been sufficiently considered in the article on the Virgin Birth. The authorities there cited maintain that Mary remained a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to her Divine Son, as well as after the birth of Jesus. Mary’s question (Luke 1:34), the angel’s answer (Luke 1:35-37), Joseph’s way of behaving in his doubt (Matthew 1:19-25), Christ’s words addressed to the Jews (John 8:19) show that Mary retained her virginity during the conception of her Divine Son. [65]

    As to Mary’s virginity after her childbirth, it is not denied by St. Matthew’s expressions “before they came together” (1:18), “her firstborn son” (1:25), nor by the fact that the New Testament books repeatedly refer to the “brothers of Jesus”. [66] The words “before they came together” mean probably, “before they lived in the same house”, referring to the time when they were merely betrothed; but even if the words be understood of marital intercourse, they only state that the Incarnation took place before any such intercourse had intervened, without implying that it did occur after the Incarnation of the Son of God. [67]

    The same must be said of the expression, “and he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25); the Evangelist tells us what did not happen before the birth of Jesus, without suggesting that it happened after his birth. [68] The name “firstborn” applies to Jesus whether his mother remained a virgin or gave birth to other children after Jesus; among the Jews it was a legal name [69], so that its occurrence in the Gospel cannot astonish us.

    Finally, the “brothers of Jesus” are neither the sons of Mary, nor the brothers of Our Lord in the proper sense of the word, but they are His cousins or the more or less near relatives. [70] The Church insists that in His birth the Son of God did not lessen but consecrate the virginal integrity of His mother (Secret in Mass of Purification). The Fathers express themselves in similar language concerning this privilege of Mary. [71]

  • Robin

    Well, I’m pretty sure that no one was concerned about whether Mary enjoyed sex with either of them. Actually, she was probably not supposed to. . .

    That said, does anyone out there know anything about the CS Lewis Foundation? They seem to be planning to invade my town. I’m a little worried.

  • keddaw

    I thought Jesus had siblings?

    More importantly, why are the people in the picture white???

  • Finbarr

    What I was taught as a Catholic was that Mary and Joseph never had sex, even in all their years of marriage. It was a Christian Brothers school, so I don’t know if they speak for all Catholics, but I guess they do.

    Typical that such a doctrine be promoted by humourless, sex-fearing, woman-hating, celibate old men.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    JJ, you’re quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia circa 1918. Lots of things have changed in the Catholic Church since then.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    Anyway, feel free to take my input with a grain of salt. My source was a Jesuit, but considering that we’re talking about Catholic theology (for crying out loud), this isn’t an argument I’m really anxious to win.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    I’ve always wondered, if Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ father, why does the Bible go to so much trouble to trace Jesus’ lineage back to David and Adam through Joseph?

    I mean, I think I understand it from a real-world perspective (retrofitting a prophecy), but what’s the in-universe explanation? Honestly, just using the word “adoption” would suffice, I think, but it might paint God as an unfit parent.

  • Greg

    To clear up the Catholic thing:

    Spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer told the New Zealand Herald it was particularly inappropriate given the inference was wrong.

    “Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” she said.

    The spokeswoman thinks she was constantly a virgin! ;)

    It is what I’ve always understood, actually, as someone who lived a long time in a Catholic country – Ireland.

    GDad – it’s one of the problems Catholics have – they rationalise it by saying the children’s were Joseph’s from a previous marriage.

    As for why they trace Jesus lineage – beats me, apart from that they believe it would fill a prophecy. :shrugs:

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    @micketymoc

    Jesuits are an interesting species of Catholic and deserve a separate study ;)

    @all

    It is generally held within Catholic circles that Mary, in fact, remained a virgin the rest of her life. Therefore maintaining the sanctity of her divine vagina.

    Although in the grand scheme of the Catholic canon it’s not something vehemently defendeded, it lays in the “that’s our tradition, whadya gonna do”

  • Peregrine

    Joseph must have had the bluest balls of anyone in the frakin’ bible.

  • Michelle

    Ahhh, Christianity… the only mind of thought where you pretend that something everyone does, over and over and over, doesn’t exist if we don’t talk about it.

    But that billboard is pretty damn funny and I might even consider heading to a church that would put that up! Just for giggles and to see what kind of folks go there!

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    But I hear Joseph was the Tiger Woods of Galilean carpenters, so he didn’t have any trouble getting some.

    As someone raised in the Catholic Church I’m pretty sure that the perpetual virginity of Mary was something we believed in. How much of an official doctrine it is, or was, I’m not sure.

  • Chas

    So men who have never married, take ownership of a women’s vagina who (if she is existed) lived 2000 years ago? That’s just many layers of screwed up.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    After a quick internet search, I came up with the following verses suggesting that Jesus had siblings:

    Matthew 13:55, Matthew 27:56, Mark 3:31,
    Mark 6:3, Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1,
    Matthew 1:24-25, Matthew 12:46, John 2:12,
    John 7:3-5, Acts 1:14, and Galatians 1:19.

    (assumign you trust scripture to be anythiong other than legend).

    The other question is how many of his siblings were older than Jesus?

    But then again, if the Pope says that Mary was always a virgin, then she must have been one. ;)

  • Bork

    If Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life then “poor Josef” indeed.

  • Erp

    I suspect the doctrine that some Christians hold that Mary never had sex is part of the reason that Joseph is often depicted as considerably older than Mary. Some groups hold that Jesus’s siblings were older half-brothers and sisters from a previous marriage of Joseph. The Catholics hold they were cousins. And some have no trouble with Mary having children by Joseph later. Then there are some such as this which consider the birth stories not to be literal truth.

    The church also has a post on this with comments (many of them quite heated).

  • Matthew

    2,000+ years without sex?! I’d rather go to Hell….

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    Got this from our Jesuit theology teacher, back when I was a freshman in Catholic high school – “we’re not supposed to believe that Mary had sex with Joseph before Jesus came along, but it’s OK to assume that she did have sex with Joseph after Jesus came along.”

    I was raised Roman Catholic and went to their schools K thru highschool. My brother went to a pre-seminary. Maybe I misunderstood all those years, but I also was taught / believed that she just couldn’t have sex with Joseph until after Jeebus was born.

  • Theresa

    Props to the church for having a sense of humor.

    But… isn’t it potentially offensive to imply that Mary had SEX with God? Are they saying God didn’t just magically cause conception to occur inside Mary, but that he actually, um, you know… like Zeus used to do?

  • http://quichemoraine.com Mike Haubrich, FCD

    My memory of Catholic teaching is that her perpetual virginity was a spiritual, rather than physical aspect because she was “pure” at the time of the conception of the Man-God and it didn’t matter whether or not she had actual physical “congress” with Joseph. But yes, I wonder if Joseph might have suffered from the occasional bout of ED knowing that she had been impregnated by the most powerful sperm donor EVAH.

  • Revyloution

    Theresa said

    like Zeus used to do?

    Some biblical historians claim that the virgin birth, and the paternal deity were inserted into Christianity when it moved from Jerusalem to Greece. The Greeks have a long tradition of man/god creatures, so this made it much more palatable for them to convert.

    More support for the argument comes from the importance of lineage to the Semetic tribes. Read the old testament, and most important figures have long and important genealogies. That might be why the bible contradicts itself on his birth, claiming lineage to Joseph as well as claiming the immaculate conception.

    But far more importantly, DAMN thats funny. I have a new wall paper for my PC!

  • snafu

    Folks – to clear up some confusion…

    The perpetual virginity of Mary has been defined infallibly by the Catholic Church. Things like this do not change over the years, and I’d have no problem betting my pension that it won’t change in my lifetime. Catholics are obliged to believe this dogmatically, and one who refuses is a heretic who is excluded from communion.

    People who teach otherwise (be they Jesuits or other religious/clergy) are simply misinformed.

    IMHO, the real story here is why these Catholics seem to think they have a right not to be offended. After all, I can start a religion that infallibly defines all kinds of things that are probably false. Do I have a right not to be offended if people tell me so?

    reference, but google will find many more.

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/Virgin-Mary-2.htm

  • Bill

    For the poetically-minded; this is from Anthony Burgess’ book ‘Abba Abba’ – it is part of a translation of a sonnet by the Roman poet Belli – the Angel Gabriel is speaking to Mary:

    “Ave,” he said, and after that, “Maria.
    Rejoice because the Lord’s eternal love
    Has made you pregnant – not by orthodox
    Methods, of course. The Pentecostal dove
    Came silently and nested in your box.”
    “A hen?” she blushed. “For I know nothing of -”
    The angel nodded, knowing she meant cocks

  • Martin

    Well according to the billboard, the idea that Mary never enjoyed sex during her life still stands… Though I know many believers who believe that Jesus had half brothers…

  • Trace

    From their site:

    “You don’t have to be Christian to be progressive
    It might be a surprise to many Christians that there are also progressive Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus (see links below). There are other groups such as the Unitarian Universalist Association that has a Judeo-Christian heritage but does not claim to be specifically Christian who are leaders in progressive religion. What all these progressives hold in common are a commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance, peace, social justice, human rights, and open thought. In sum they believe that the world can be a better place where love and compassion are the goal. They also believe that each individual has a responsibility to participate in this transforming work.

    Like progressive Christians they are often rejected and reviled by those who share their faith story. For them it is a lonely path as well and yet, like us at St Matthew’s, they are not alone.”

    Interesting.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    I haven’t seen this option considered…could Joseph have been a polygamist, the brothers mentioned were from another wife, and since there was another women around, Joseph was sleeping with her and could leave Mary alone. Is there anything in the Bible to explicitly says that Mary was Josephs only wife? There was plenty of polygamy among Jews in Israel at the time, and still some today. Jesus even told Jacob the polygamist that he would get into heaven. …wait, what am I saying, it’s all silly.

  • exmai

    I was taught that Catholic tradition says Mary was a kind of temple virgin, sworn to a life of prayer, not sex. Elderly, rich widowers like Joseph married these women in name only as an act of charity: providing shelter in a culture where women didn’t live alone easily. When Mary got pregnant, Joseph was offended not just because it implied she’d had premarital sex, but because people would assume that he’d taken advantage of his ward. After Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph supposedly went back to the original, sex-free arrangement.

    As a catholic kid, this story made more sense to me than a couple swearing off sex forever just for kicks or because St. Paul had decided that the world would end in his lifetime and he thought his holy figures would have agreed with him that there was no point in baby making or sex-for-pleasure (or having ANY fun) if the end of the world was arriving any moment now.

  • http://yamipirogoeth.blogspot.com/ Sakura

    To quote the movie Dogma:

    Bethany: Jesus didn’t have any brothers or sisters. Mary was a virgin.

    Rufus: Mary gave birth to CHRIST without having known a man’s touch, that’s true. But she did have a husband. And do you really think he’d have stayed married to her all those years if he wasn’t getting laid? The nature of God and the Virgin Mary, those are leaps of faith. But to believe a married couple never got down? Well, that’s just plain gullibility.

    • Lefman

      San Mathew 13:54-57

  • Matto the Hun

    But the city’s Catholic diocese is not impressed, saying the implication that Mary and Joseph had just had sex was “disrespectful” and “offensive” to Christians.

    Oh fuck you Catholic Church, you freaks are always offended about sex.

    “Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” she said.

    Wow, the Catholic Church really doesn’t doesn’t understand anything about sex. They think Joseph isn’t going to tap his own wife. You know, in those days it isn’t as though the woman would even have a choice. If the man wanted sex from his wife it was pretty much going to happen.

    So what discussion is this supposed to provoke anyway. It isn’t clear at all. I amuses and confused.

    Ah well what does one expect from a dangerous, dehumanizing theology that asserts that human beings are born bad and every wonderful thing associated with being human is either bad or given to you by their blood thirsty god… or strangely both. So naturally their message is sex with another human being is necessarily bad in comparison to their make believe friend.

  • Mary

    I thought Mary was also of the line of David. And didn’t bloodlines pass through the woman? So Jesus would have been of the line of David because of Mary. Or am I wrong?

  • littlejohn

    The Catholic Church has once again awakened a dog that should been allowed to sleep. Didn’t they learn anything from that Galileo thingy?
    They insist she remained a virgin, despite her marriage to Joseph and the birth of at least one more kid, James. Presumable, Jesus and James were only half-brothers. As such, they must have had different Y chromosomes.
    Now most Biblical scholars seem to agree the whole “virgin” thing was simply a Hebrew-to-Greek mistranslation of the word meaning “young woman.”
    Also, when Mary was having sex with god, what did she yell out? Oh you! Oh you!
    That’s the great thing about dogma. It is immune to correction, despite new data. Why can’t religious people understand that’s the fundamental difference between faith and science?

  • Jamie

    Literal Christianity would have us believe that two people populated the world, but not think how. We’re also not supposed to think about how two animals of each kind repopulated the Earth.

  • littlejohn

    @Mary:
    If I remember my Bible correctly, it is Joseph whose line goes back to David. (Through two separate and contradictory geealogies, BTW.)
    Of course, since Christians insist Joseph wasn’t really Jesus’ father, it’s not clear why that’s important.
    I’m beginning to think our species was much stupider during the Bronze Age.

  • Claudia

    AS I recall the Catholic Church currently maintains that Mary never had sex with Joseph, and that references to “brothers” were always spiritual brothers or cousins. Ridiculous I know, but once you’e conceded that a 14 year old girl can be magically made pregnant by a god, deciding she therafter never had sex is a small step to take.

    What’s actually more funny is that never having sex again is considered a sign of purity in Mary (because sex between a married couple is still dirty, apparently) but is grounds for annulment of a Catholic marriage today. A husband or wife that will not submit to sex or a marriage incapable of concieving children will get you an anullment if you bring it to Catholic court.

  • Shannon

    Isn’t marrying a man and not having sex with him un-Christian? NOM and the other gay marriage opposition keep saying that gay people can’t marry because they can’t reproduce and apparently, marriage without reproduction goes against god (though they do bend over backwards to say that as long as you give it a good try, you aren’t disobeying god by being infertile – so good of them). But if Mary is going to get married to Joseph but then never have sex and never reproduce, isn’t that also against god?

  • Siamang

    “Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” she said.

    Note the present tense. Not “remained”, “remains”.

    I know it shouldn’t sound odd to me, because I know that for Catholics all these personages are still hanging around. But still, it really sounds odd to be wondering about the continued virginity of a ghost.

    The 2000 Year Old Virgin. I smell a Mel Brooks/Steve Carrel mashup.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape
  • http://www.bestoffates.blogspot.com Megan

    Okay, that poster is hilarious. I would definitely visit that church, I mean, can you imagine what a sermon would be like?

  • exmai

    What’s actually more funny is that never having sex again is considered a sign of purity in Mary (because sex between a married couple is still dirty, apparently) but is grounds for annulment of a Catholic marriage today. A husband or wife that will not submit to sex or a marriage incapable of concieving children will get you an anullment if you bring it to Catholic court.

    It’s even funnier if you consider that Joe’s the patron saint of married people.

    Rereading the article, I wonder if we’re getting the “offense” wrong. The Catholics think all Christians should be offended by illustrated jokes about holy figure sex on billboards but are extra irked on their own behalf because their dogma doesn’t allow them to make the same joke in private.

    But why were the Catholics interviewed at all? Were they the ones who defaced the billboard?

  • nankay

    Mary: Ever Virgin

    An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

    source:http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

    There is much more to the article

  • JulietEcho

    (On a side note, look at Joseph in the picture. How could Jesus not be his son? This would be an open/shut case on Maury.)

    Okay, that got a big belly laugh from me :-)

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Meh! Was a fictional character a virgin when she conceived another fictional character and did she stay a virgin after she married yet another fictional character?

    More importantly was Dumbledore gay?

  • Autumnal Harvest

    As others have pointed out, the perpetual virginity of Mary is a core doctrine of the Catholic church (and also of the Orthodox). Progressive Catholics, such as the one who taught micketymoc, may have different beliefs, but their beliefs are not consistent with the teachings of the hierarchy of the Catholic church. I refer you to Part 1, section 2, chapter 2, article 3, paragraph 499 of the Catechism of the Cathoic church (emphasis added):

    The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.

    Mary:

    And didn’t bloodlines pass through the woman? So Jesus would have been of the line of David because of Mary. Or am I wrong?

    No, Biblical Jewish bloodlines always pass through the father, which in the case of Jesus means that genealogies are given for Joseph. Modern Judaism holds that Jewishness passes through the mother, but that’s the result of a rabbinical ruling in the Middle Ages.

  • Jim H

    Does anybody wonder what the “H” Jesus’ middle name was (as in Jesus H. Christ)?

    I heard it stands for “haploid”.
    [/snark]

    I will confirm the Catholic tradition. The Nicene Creed refers to “blessed Mary, ever virgin”, and I was forced to recite it in my youth.

  • Ted Powell

    “Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” [Lyndsay Freer] said.

    It seems to me that Ms Freer doesn’t really grok the billboard. She didn’t need to assert “Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph.” The whole point of the billboard was that Jesus was the son of God, and Joseph found that a hard act to follow. Good grief…

  • Shannon

    I missed exmai’s post before. I’ve never heard that about the virgins married out of charity. Anyone have anything I can read on that?

  • Dave

    @ Michelle

    St Matts is pretty interesting as far as churches go – they have weekly LGBT services, and are very active with the the poor and homeless, along with their vicar having the sort of theology that looks a lot an atheist in disguise, as he rejects the supernatural bits of the bible! It is an Anglican (Episcopal) parish – when I was still an Anglican, I used to go there for their midnight service on Christmas Eve, and still have pleasant memories of it, even though I am now an atheist.

  • DexX

    That “for 2000 years” quote is totally bogus anyway – the divinity and eternal virginity of Mary only became official dogma something like 1500 years ago, from memory. Before that there were unofficial Mary-worshipping sects, but the official line was only that, according to Scripture, she fell pregnant with her first child while a virgin, and nothing more.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    If Mary “lives” on (as the Catholics believe) as some kind of spiritual being and continues to be a virgin, I will volunteer to de-flower her if she can manifest herself temporarily in a material form so a mere mortal as myself can have access. I figure it is the least I can do to settle this issue.

    I’ll let everybody know if it happens. Don’t hold your breath, though.

  • Shannon

    @Nankay – thanks for that link, it’s very interesting!

  • muggle

    hover frog, before R. K. Rowling came out with that one I was certain, Dumbledore had a thing going on with McGonagall.

    Seriously, rewatch a couple of those movies. Those two are more joined at the hip than a married couple and always back up and admire each other. There is some chemistry going back a long way, since they were young, I bet.

    I think Rowling was just trying to squash the rumors. She’d do better to write the prequel. Now that’s a love story I’d love to read — and I hate both romance novels and chick flicks.

  • JD

    Having grown up Christian, but not Catholic, I have never heard of the idea that Mary was doomed (or sanctified or whatever) to live as a virgin. I did not talk to the Catholic friends about specifics of their faith. I certainly don’t recall anything within the bible that made such a claim, it sounds like it’s extra-biblical documents that make the claim, and I thought even Catholics finally got around to basing doctrine only on the Bible.

    I’ve always understood that Jesus’ brothers were real brothers, or at least half-brothers.

    I’ve found several versions of the Nicene Creed and none of the those made an “ever virgin” statement, it sounds like something someone inserted. I even searched for “catholic Niceene Creed” and “ever virgin” doesn’t show up. Maybe some churches decided to just insert it, but it’s not part of the real Niceene creed.

  • ThilinaB

    I don’t quite understand why we’re arguing if a couple of fictional characters in a book had sex or not.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    If Mary didn’t give it up to Joseph, I bet all those oxen and asses were running scared.

  • sc0tt

    Maybe Joseph was gay and Mary was just his beard.

    Or maybe Mary was one heckofa nobgobbler.

    Oh jeez, I’m going to hell for sure now.

  • Sue

    @sc0tt: Talking of going to hell for sure, I’m sure laughing at this song is a one-way ticket:

    The Most Offensive Song Ever (from South Park, so totally NSFW)

    Suddenly that billboard looks ever so tame. Even with a viagra logo.

  • snafu

    If Mary “lives” on (as the Catholics believe) as some kind of spiritual being

    Jeff – sorry, but I’m going to have to nitpick on this as contrary to Catholic dogma again.

    Mary was assumed into heaven, body and all. She’s not spiritual, she’s as physical as you and me. The only reason you can’t see her is because she’s in heaven, rather than right here. Once again, this is dogmatic, deny-it-and-be-excommunicated stuff.

    So, talk of her remaining a virgin (present tense) after 2000 years is completely accurate. The reality is you don’t have to mock it to make it sound silly. It really does sound silly all on its own.

    rgds.

  • Mike the Damned

    I can also understand how Joseph must have felt inadequate, especially since the Lord was so well known for The Second Coming and all…

  • http://liberalfaith.blogspot.com/ Steve Caldwell

    If the idea that Mary and Joseph had sexual relations is offensive to Christians, please don’t tell them about Sophia Fahs’ children’s religious education curriculum subversively titled Jesus the Carpenter’s Son.

    Fahs wrote this in the mid-1940s and it was used by the American Unitarian Association for many years before their merger with the Universalist Church of America. This children’s book doesn’t talk about virgin birth and depicts Joseph as Jesus’ father. Jesus is depicted as a noted teacher and thinker but not as the son of God or god-like in other ways.

    You can read portions of this online here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=8H0hqUJovnoC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  • Dan

    I don’t get it.

    Why does this church not believe in the virgin birth but they do still believe in the resurrection?

    Both event have equal lack of evidence, and both are events defy natural laws of humans.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    I laughed, but it’s not offensive to me. But given how many of religion are offended by just about anything and everything, this one gets added to the list so they can inject themselves into the press (again).

  • Happy Spider

    I think this billboard is really offensive. A couple in bed, probably naked under the sheets, talking about the guy’s sexual performance? That is much too smutty for a public billboard. I don’t want to see garbage like that when I am driving around.

    What is wrong with people that they have no sense as to what is proper to display in public? If I want smutty humor I’ll go watch South Park inside my own house. I like the show but I wouldn’t want to see it broadcast in Times Square from a big video screen.

    By the way, Viagra commercials are also offensive. Not Viagra commercials during a racy show like South Park, but Viagra commercials during otherwise bland and innocuous TV shows.
    I see that I am offended for completely different reasons from the Catholic spokeswoman above. Her being offended for the wrong reason does not make the billboard any less offensive.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Mary was assumed into heaven, body and all. She’s not spiritual, she’s as physical as you and me.

    OK, if by chance there is a heaven and I find myself there, I will look up Mary and relieve her of her status. Eternity is a long time to remain a virgin. Either that or I’ll have a little chat with both Mary and Joseph and get them “together”.

  • Max Gersenson

    The case of Miriam’s (Mary’s) virginity confuses me…in that how was her virginity determined…and why was this determination so important since she was married to Joseph. Was the virginity of all married women put to the test at the time just before the birth of their first child…and then again after the first birth was completed? Who performed the examination and where were the results recorded for posterity? Remembering that Christianity had not yet been established why was virginity an important condition for a woman in the Hebrew tribes?

  • pyvsi

    Somebody needs to write a fanfic to clear everything up. I’m a JC/Magdalene shipper myself, tee hee.

  • WARREN

    wow even in the states if that billboard was put up you bet there would be a fire storm
    Still how sick for a so called church to put up that shows disrespect for ever ones beliefs
    But like Jesus said in the last days people would claim to do all these things in his name and yet he tells them I DONT KNOW YOU.     FOUL CHURCH  SATAN IS IN YOUR HOUSE


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