Sunday, 18 December 2011

oh, Jesus!

Virgin Mary billboard sparks outrage in New Zealand

As longtime and faithful (ahem) readers of DAMMIT JANET! know, I have a strange fascination with Mary, allegedly the mother of Jesus whilst still a Virgin. I've blogged The virgin, the angel and choice as well as The Incarnating Game in this regard.

My co-blogger has bestowed a most delightfully seasonal gift upon me: this.
The large poster outside St Matthew's in the City, a prominent Anglican church in Auckland, was designed by an advertising agency and depicts Mary in the style of a classical Renaissance painting.

A caption competition on the church's website has already drawn some questionable responses.

Suggestions include "Yay! I hope it's a girl," "Now, which way to the abortion clinic?" and "If I say I'm a virgin, mum and dad won't kill me."
A densely written comment that reads as though it was written by a kiwi John "Vatican Taliban & TubeSox Holocaust" Pacheco captures in a nutshell why fundamentalist right-wing religious zealots reject rationality and science.

UPDATE (fh): You knew this was going to happen. Nutbar attacks poster with scissors. Montreal Simon has the story.


double nickel said...

"If there's one day to give unwed mothers a break, it's Christmas" - Grandpa Simpson

Dave said...

Ah... you have to have been there to really appreciate Glynn Cardy. He may well be one of the world's great advertising geniuses.

Take a look at the church's 2009 billboard and Cardy's message below.

deBeauxOs said...

The link from above, clickable.

Do check it out, it's quite bracingly non-fundamentalist.

Beijing York said...

The "hard act to follow" poster is equally good!

Luna said...

Kinda reminds me of the United Church's "Emerging Spirit" advertising campaign from a few years back. The idea was to be controversial enough to actually get press. :)

Luna said...

The Mary narrative has always interested me. And infuriated me at times - like when I was Catholic. I always felt like men had Jesus for inspiration, someone to aspire to be, and that was actually sorta possible. Women? We had to have babies without sex. Thanks. And furthermore, we had to be born without original sin in an immaculate conception. We were set up to fail.

When I got a bit older, I wondered if the whole 'virgin' thing wasn't about a sacred ritual. In some rites, having sex as part of the ritual "didn't count" so to speak. So if Joseph played the part of God and impregnated her, she'd still be a virgin in one sense.

And then, I got into linguistics and discovered that the word for 'virgin' and the word for 'maiden' are identical in Koine Greek. Because unwed women were assumed to be virgins. Translate that word from Greek and it's either virgin or maiden depending on whether you want to draw attention to her legal status or her sexual history.

And so now? I just don't care. It's pretty irrelevant to me. She gave birth to a kid who grew up to change the world. Clearly she did an awesome job of being his mom. Son of God or no, I'm pretty sure he'd not have fared as well if he'd been born to a crappy Mom. If I can raise a kid to be a fraction as good and influential, I'll consider myself blessed.

JJ said...

My photoshop is firing up even as I type. I'll be using this for my Facebook Christmas card.
Thank you deBeaux!

fern hill said...

Hey, JJ, don't forget to give credit to the AWESOME agency and church. ;-)

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