A billboard featuring an image of baby Jesus and suggesting he could have been gay outside a progressive Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand, has been sold at an online auction for double the price it took to make it.
St. Matthew-in-the-City church sold the billboard for $860 during an online auction to a bidder from Wellington. The church said it’ll use the money to pay for the next two provocative billboards, New Zealand’s News 3 reported on April 8.
The church’s Christmas 7-by-10-foot billboard shows an image of baby Jesus with a rainbow-colored halo, and the affirmation: “It’s Christmas. It’s time for Jesus to come out.”
“We want to recoup some of those costs so we can carry on producing more billboards,” St. Matthew's Rev. Glynn Cardy told News 3. He added the sign cost about $400 to be made.
Rev. Glynn Cardy told Auckland Now in December that the sign was about “trying to lift the humanity of Jesus.”
“The fact is we don’t know what his sexual orientation was,” Rev. Cardy said. “Would it make a difference if he was gay? Would that change the picture for you?”
The billboard was eventually denounced to New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority, alleging it constituted anti-Christian hate speech. But authorities decided that “speculation about Jesus’ sexual orientation did not reach the threshold to be considered offensive in light of generally prevailing community standards.”
According to Auckland Now, the church is known for its attention-grabbing posters. Last year, one of its posters showed the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test. The images have reportedly reached over 21 million people on Facebook, and brought 30,000 visits to St Matthew’s website. Sergio N. Candido