Friday, December 16, 2011

Mother Mary gasping at a positive pregnancy test: Is this irreverent Virgin Mary billboard appropriate for a church?

An Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand, is courting controversy again with a Christmas billboard depicting a shocked Virgin Mary looking at a positive pregnancy test.

The vicar of St. Matthew-in-the-City says the billboard is meant to make people think about Christmas as a real story of a woman - young, poor and unmarried - who finds herself pregnant.

"It's trying to make people think about Christmas and to then think compassionately and kindly about people in a similar situation," Glynn Cardy told Channel 3 News.

In a statement on the church's website, Cardy and priest associate Clay Nelson wrote that the billboard is intended to avoid the "sentimental" and "trite" messages heard during the Christmas season.

"Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable - with tinsel, Santa, reindeer, and carols - there are also some realities. Many in our society are suffering: some through the lack of money, some through poor health, some through violence, and some through other hardships," the statement says.

Although the billboard is presented without text, the church invites people to supply their own caption. Read More