The billboard also has the tag line: “It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out.”
Reverend Clay Nelson from the Church says 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,” Nelson says. “But it is all conjecture. Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?”
Another member of the clergy, Reverend Glynn 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 marginalised in society.”
St-Matthew’s is a LGBT-friendly Anglican church, and has a history of controversial billboards.