The St Matthew-in-the-City billboard featured an image of baby Jesus in a manger with a rainbow coloured halo and the words: “It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out.”
The complaint to the NZ Advertising Standards Authority said the representation of Jesus was “akin to hate speech”.
However, a decision released yesterday found the billboard’s speculation about Jesus’s sexual orientation did not breach advertising codes.
It was “prepared by a Christian church to promote debate within the Christian faith, as opposed to a deliberately offensive advertisement by an outside party for commercial gain, had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility”, the decision reads.
St Matthew-in-the-City has frequently found itself in hot water with its Christmas and Easter billboards.
In 2011, the authority dismissed a similar complaint made about a billboard that featured the heads of two people in bed – Joseph and Mary – with the text reading: “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow.”
Newswarped thinks that debate on such issues as homosexuality within the church is fine. However the wording of the Authority decision showed a fundamental lack of understanding of what is acceptable in a ‘Çhristian’ church. For a so called ‘christian’ church to depict Jesus in this way goes way too far.
Personally I found the Joseph and Mary billboard funny. The Gay Jesus one I do find offensive. Not because it I have any animosity towards the Gay community, but because to depict Jesus in a way that that is completely contrary to what we know of him through scripture is plain wrong.
Jesus as the son of God is on a much higher level than the prophet Mohammed but try implying that Mohammed is homosexual and see what kind of response you get. Odds on the Advertising Standards Authority would run for cover and find that one offensive. Funny how the Christians always have to turn the other cheek.