A MISCHIEVOUS billboard about to be hoisted by an Auckland church has raised the ire of a fundamentalist Christian lobby group.
Intended to provoke conversation about spiritual matters at Christmas, the billboard is far more likely to provoke smutty jibes about the hows and the whys of Mary’s encounter with a sizeable celestial penis – and Â Family First NZ Â is appalled.
It described the billboard, to be put up by by St Matthew-in-the-City Church, as insensitive and objectionable.
According to this report, the billboard is apparently intended to challenge stereotypes about the way that Jesus was conceived and get people talking about the Christmas story, the church said.
Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said it had already generated plenty of discussion in its “conception phase”.
But Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie describes the church’s plan as irresponsible.
The church can have its debate on the virgin birth and its spiritual significance inside the church building, but to confront children and families with the concept as a street billboard is completely irresponsible and unnecessary.
The church has failed to recognise that public billboards are exposed to all of the public including children and families who may be offended by the material.
Cardy said on the church’s website that “the true importance of Christmas” was in the radical hospitality Jesus offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick.
Last week a campaign by New Zealand Atheist Bus Campaign raised $20,000 in public donations to replicate bus ads which created a storm when they ran on the London Underground and British buses this year. The slogan is “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.
Similar ads have run in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, Australia, Finland and Germany.