St Matthews-in-the-City has raised their new billboard outside the church. “This year we invited discussion and debate on the sexual orientation of Jesus” say St Matthew’s clergy Rev Glynn Cardy and Rev Clay Nelson.
The billboard depicts the Baby Jesus in his crib with a halo of rainbow colours. For Clay Nelson it presents the challenge to think about Jesus as fully human whose growing up would have involved the same range of character possibilities, and even sexuality, as the rest of us. “Some scholars have tried to make the case that he might have been gay” says Nelson. “But it is all conjecture. Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?”
Cardy asks what Jesus would have said about New Zealand’s current debate on gay marriage. “There is almost nothing in the record of his teachings about sexuality while there is plenty about the perils of being rich. Certainly he always supported the marginalized in society”.
St Matthew’s billboard has something of an international reputation. Last year its exposure on Facebook had a reach of over 21 million, brought 30,000 visits to St Matthew’s website in a week and was featured internationally in blogs, internet news sites including the Huffington Post, newspapers, TV news and talk shows, as well as talk back radio.
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