Emily Tan
Dec 19, 2011

"Satanic" church billboard in NZ draws global attention

AUCKLAND - Christian church St Matthew-in-the-City has once again drawn global attention and incited debate and vandalism with a controversial Christmas billboard.

The undamaged billboard outside St Matthew-in-the-city
The undamaged billboard outside St Matthew-in-the-city

The latest billboard, which depicts the Virgin Mary looking shocked at a positive pregnancy test strip, was created by Whybin TBWA Tequila Auckland and was aimed at raising discussion about Mary's circumstances as Christmas approaches. 

Within hours of the billboard's erection, it gained attention in both local and international news such as the UK's conservative Daily Mail and Telegraph

Yesterday the billboard was slashed with scissors by Catholic Action Group member Arthur Skinner who then held a congregation with his group supporters outside the church, in front of the billboard where they said the rosary to atone for the "satanic billboard".

The church's response to the act of vandalism said that they wouldn't be pursuing Skinner's arrest but would "not decline restitution". "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. We are tired of Christian intolerence — and embarassed by it," said the statement.

In 2009, the church erected an even more controversial billboard depicting Mary and Joseph in bed with the text "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow." The billboard was painted over in protest just  hours after it was put up and was denounced by the Auckland Catholic Diocese.

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