Thought-Provoking Christmas Billboard Vandalised
Because gosh darnit, God forbid some Christians try to encourage other Christians to think.
So you’ve probably already heard of St Matthew-in-the-City, the church in Auckland, New Zealand that put up their Christmas billboard this year depicting the virgin Mary looking at a positive pregnancy test.
Well, now it looks like this:
The billboard was vandalised by a member of the Catholic Action Group, who according to nzherald.co.nz had these things to say:
This is Satanic, this is the ultimate Satanic attack, when Lucifer attacks his worst enemy, the Blessed Virgin.
This particular church – so called – is run by a gay, feminist-type lobby. They claim to be Christian and yet they put up a blasphemous image of the Blessed Virgin, attacking her virginity and the fact that she was the mother of Christ, the God-Man.
There’s only one faith – The Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith – because we go right back in our papal line to Christ.
All the other sects and cults are in fact man-made. It doesn’t mean we condemn the individuals in them, we simply condemn their teaching.
OH NOES THE GAYS AND FEMINISTS. Oh, and Roman Catholicism is The One True Religion(TM). Of course.
St Matthew-in-the-City had this to say on their website:
Arthur Skinner and the Catholic Action Group used our billboard, his vandalism of it, and our property this morning to gain publicity for his point of view and to further his supposedly “Catholic” organisation’s agenda. He has also announced that he was willing to be arrested for his illegal act. We believe Mr Skinner could have gained the same attention without the vandalism. While his offer to be arrested is tempting, we declined the invitation (however we wouldn’t decline restitution). We would rather bring attention to the world’s poor, the plight of women in too many countries, hungry children, the destruction of the environment, and the need to end violence rather than his religious intolerance.
We would note that Christians often come to different conclusions in their reading of Scripture. We see Mary as a woman of courage who overcame the religious and cultural stigma of illegitimacy. Being shocked by the discovery of her pregnancy does not diminish her faith. Other Christians, such as Mr. Skinner seem to be upset by this idea about Mary, and believe that their ideas about her are the only legitimate ones. We don’t question his right to express them, only his manner of doing so.
Frankly, we are tired of Christian intolerance—and embarrassed by it. As Christians we need to wonder if we can truly love our neighbours while demonizing them? When will we recognize that none of us have the whole truth? When will we recognize that those who hold contrary opinions are not ‘of the devil’? When will we recognize that truth comes in many guises, often in unexpected ways?
Christmas is an opportunity to recognise that people understand Jesus’ birth in a huge variety of ways. Let’s celebrate that.
Hear, hear! As an atheist, I commend St Matthew-in-the-City. They have pushed many people, believers and non-believers alike to think critically about their beliefs and to show a bit more compassion and tolerance toward their fellow human beings. My beliefs about divinity may not align with theirs, but there are many things we can agree on. Namely, that critical-thinking skills, free speech, and social justice are all of utmost importance in the world we live in, especially during the holiday season.
Also, notice the obscured previous billboard underneath? The full image is promoting their GLBT community services. It is really awesome to see religious groups that support GLBT rights.