The Curmudgeon


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Auckland Heresy

Some fun-loving Anglicans in New Zealand have caused grave offence by erecting a billboard depicting a strained-looking Joseph in bed with a tight-lipped, heavenward-looking Mary, with the caption "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow". The intention of the church of St Matthew-in-the-city is to "get people to think more about what Christmas is all about", according to Archdeacon Glynn Cardy. "Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?" In fact, of course, it is mostly about the love and power of money, which may explain why the Catholic church has taken exception to the image. "It's flying in the face of our 2,000-year-old beliefs," said a spokesbeing, apparently under the impression that the Catholic church appeared fully formed, with faggots, indulgences and altar-boys at the ready, in or around the year 9 CE. But the elementary if nuanced distinction between the failed apocalyptic prophet of history and the highly profitable Saviour of faith is doubtless drilled into every Catholic schoolchild nowadays as a matter of course; so it would be dreadfully ill-mannered and New Atheist of me to harp on anything so crude as the difference between fact and fancy. More worrying is the question of precisely where the image's supposed unorthodoxy resides. Is it heretical to imply that Jesus' parents had sexual intercourse after his birth? Were Jesus' siblings also the results of parthenogenesis, or are we to (gasp) assume something the Bible does not tell us, that they were step-brothers and step-sisters from a previous marriage of Joseph's? Is it flying in the face of religious belief to imply that the business of conceiving by the Holy Ghost might cause someone to become a little jaded with those earthly pleasures which the devout hold in such low regard?


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