CAIRO - A controversial Anglican church in Auckland, new Zealand, has stirred uproar after putting a billboard outside the church doors that depicts a shocked Virgin Mary who examines a pregnancy test.
"Once again, St Matthew's shows us that they have moved away from traditional Christianity, even though their hearts might be in the right place," Lyndsay Freer, a spokesman for the Catholic diocese of Auckland, told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, December 15.
Acknowledging that Virgin Mary was in a hard situation before the society, Freer added that St Matthew's in the City church ignored the gospel accounts on the story.
"It is true that Christmas is real and celebrates a real pregnancy, she said.
"It is also true that the anxiety and needs of young solo mothers today need to be addressed with compassion and care.
"But in making this point, St Matthew's ignores the gospel account of matters surrounding the pregnancy and birth of Jesus, in which Mary is not a shocked solo mother but a young woman who has given her assent and trust to God."
The controversial billboard is not the first for St Matthew's in the City church.
A billboard the church posted at Christmas two years ago showed Mary and Joseph in bed with the caption: "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."
After being attacked several times, the church had to take down the billboard.
Earlier this year, the church put up a "gay-dar" billboard, meant as a protest against discrimination in the Anglican church against gay clergy.
Coming up with the idea for the billboard, Rev Glynn Cardy defended the latest poster.
"Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable, with tinsel, Santa, reindeer and carols, there are also some realities Cardy, vicar at of St Matthew-in-the-City, said.
"It's about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope.
"Mary was unmarried, young and poor. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last."
Presenting the billboard without a text, the church invited people to supply their own caption which infuriated many.
"You have crossed the line! Mary should not be the object of a trite campaign, whatever your good or not so good intentions," one contributor wrote on the church's website.
Another condemns the billboard: "Can it be more offensive?"
Other people in New Zealand attacked the billboard as weird.
"I think it's really weird," one person told 3 News.
"I don't think it's that appropriate to have outside a church." who came up with the idea for the billboard.
"It's weird, but not really offensive," said another.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur'an, Jesus is called "Isa". He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
As for his crucifixion, Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but was lifted up to heaven.
Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth before the end of time to restore peace and order, fight the Anti-Christ (Al-Masih Al-Dajjal) and bring victory for truth and righteousness.
The true followers of Jesus will prevail over those who deny him, misrepresent him and reject him.