An Auckland Church is standing by its decision to erect a billboard featuring the Virgin Mary holding a positive pregnancy test.
The Saint Matthews-in-the-City billboard has triggered outrage from protesters calling themselves the Catholic Action Group, one of whom slashed it with a pair of scissors.
A priest at Saint Matthews-in-the-City, Father Clay Nelson, says the image was intended to show Mary as a human being who was shocked on becoming pregnant.[image:4130:half:right]
Father Clay says he won't be taking any action against the man who damaged the $300 billboard, who he says is "no better than those who threaten the people in Denmark over cartoons of Mohammed".
"There are plenty of things Catholics and other Christians do that offend me, but I would not silence their freedom to express it."
Father Clay says the billboard could now be used to symbolise intolerance between different branches of Christianity.