Whatever the atheists can do, the ecclesiastics can do better. Auckland's St Matthew in the City, a church that has made quite a name for itself as a result of its provocative billboards, has ruffled feathers again, this time with a rather risqué yuletide number that lampoons the literalism of the omnipotent lovin' supposedly dished out to Mary by the cosmically virile Yaweh.
Archdeacon Glynn Cardy's liturgy (you can even listen to the iGod Audio version) summed up the refreshing rationale behind the billboard: "To make the news at Christmas it seems a priest just needs to question the literalness of a virgin giving birth. Many in society mistakenly think that to challenge literalism is to challenge the norms of Christianity. What progressive interpretations try to do however is remove the supernatural obfuscation and delve into the deeper spiritual truth of this festival."
M&C Saatchi created the billboard, which can be seen on the corner of Hobson and Wellesley Streets. But, of course, fun-hating crepehangers are already outraged, with national director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie labelling the billboard "insensitive and objectionable to many people".
The ASA will be receiving a complaint about it because he thinks "billboards should not be used to promote adult concepts which are inappropriate for children and the topic of sex and religion is not a debate that parents want to be forced to have with their children simply because their children are exposed to this material".
Sheesh. Lucky the church didn't choose to use the giant glow-in-the-dark sperm cell coming down from the sky, which was one of this year's other options.