Controversy in the Hay
Auckland’s St Matthew-in-the-City church has ignited controversy with a billboard depicting Mary and Joseph lying partially nude beneath the sheets. In an unorthodox take on the Christmas tale, the billboard depicts a forlorn Joseph and Mary looking to the sky with a caption which reads: “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.” The Anglican church said it wanted to inspire people to talk about the Christmas story. Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the church meant to challenge a fundamentalist interpretation of Christ’s birth. “What we’re trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about. Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?” Cardy said one person had threatened to tear down the billboard but that of the 20 odd emails and phone calls he had received “about 50 per cent said they loved it, and about 50 per cent said it was terribly offensive”.