A controversial new billboard shows the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test with a "positive" reading.
The billboard, called "Mary is in the pink," was purchased by the St. Matthews-in-the-City Church in Auckland, New Zealand. The church says the billboard featuring the revered religious figure aimed to "avoid the sentimental [and] trite" and "spark thought and conversation." It bears no text.
This billboard is only the latest in a string of provocative, holiday-themed billboards for the church, according to local TV station 3 News. In 2009, they ran another Christmas billboard featuring Mary and Joseph in bed with the tagline, "Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow."
Vicar Glynn Cardy said that this year St. Matthews wanted to focus on what it was like for a real mother with a real child. "It's about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope."
On the church's website, St. Matthews says the lack of text on the billboard is intended to provoke thought: "We hope to do so with an image and no words. We invite you to wonder what your caption might be."
The billboard will stay up until Christmas Day.
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