Controversial Easter billboard depicts Christ cracking joke on cross

By staff writers
March 31, 2010

A church in New Zealand is to put up an Easter billboard tomorrow showing a cartoon Jesus on a cross with the caption “Well this sucks. I wonder if they will remember anything I said…”

At Christmas the church made headlines around the world with a picture of Mary and Joseph in bed, causing the poster to be vandalised by local people.

Tomorrow, which is also April Fools Day, St Matthew’s in Auckland will put up its first billboard of the year, designed to use humour to encourage debate and discussion. The poster also draws attention to the tendency of some in the churches to focus exclusively on Jesus’ death as the expense of his teachings.

Christians who believe that Jesus’ words and example of love and forgiveness should be central to their faith have frequently expressed concern about the actions of some churches who they feel do not take their Bibles seriously, particularly with regard to issues of justice.

Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St Matthew’s, said: “There is a great tradition in the Eastern Church of cracking jokes at Easter. Laughing proclaims that despite the realities of suffering and death, the power of life, love and liberty is stronger. The tenacity of the human spirit is God given, and will not be overcome by the forces of oppression.”

"This billboard, drawn by the cartoonist ‘Jim’, expresses in a humorous way both the reality of pain and the will to overcome it with the power of life and laughter.”

Cardy notes: “It also reminds us that Easter is about more than a rugged cross, a supernatural miracle, or a chocolate bunny. It is a time to reflect on all the words and actions of Jesus and how he disrupted his world through self-giving love, and how we might do likewise.”

The Bible records that Jesus was charged with blasphemy by some religious leaders of his day, before being handed over to the Romans for crucifixion.


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