A shocking new billboard in Auckland, New Zealand, depicts the Virgin Mary holding a positive home pregnancy test.
The "Mary is in the pink," billboard is owned by the St. Matthews-in-the-City Church. In a statement, St. Matthews says the billboard’s intention is to "avoid the sentimental” and “trite,” and "spark thought and conversation."
“It's trying to make people think about Christmas and to then think compassionately and kindly about people in a similar situation," Vicar Glynn Cardy of St. Matthews told local TV station 3 News. "It's about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope."
A statement was released on the Anglican Church’s website, explaining the billboard’s purpose.
"Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable - with tinsel, Santa, reindeer, and carols – there are also some realities. Many in our society are suffering: some through the lack of money, some through poor health, some through violence, and some through other hardships," the statement says.
According to 3 News, St. Matthews is no stranger to displaying controversial billboards. In 2009, the church purchased another Christmas billboard with the Virgin Mary and Joseph in bed together. The caption read: "Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow."
The church's website also states that the billboard was deliberately left without a caption to be thought provoking.
"We hope to do so with an image and no words. We invite you to wonder what your caption might be," the church website states.
The billboard remains on display until Christmas Day.