Just in time for Christmas, a New Zealand church has erected a billboard that depicts the Virgin Mary and Joseph in bed together. Even if you're not a believer, this will probably make your skin crawl.

The billboard -- paid for by St. Matthew-in-the-City, an Anglican church in the town of Wellington -- reads, "Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow." Uh, gross. According to the Huffington Post, the "progressive Christian" Anglican church hopes that the billboard will "get people talking about the Christmas story."

Church leader Archdeacon Glynn Cardy told the A.P., "This billboard is trying to lampoon and ridicule the very literal idea that God is a male and somehow this male God impregnated Mary ... We would question the Virgin Birth in any literal sense. We would question the maleness of God in any literal sense."

We'd think there's a more subtle way to do this, but it seems subtlety is not St. Matthew-in-the-City's strong suit: A press release on the church's Web site asks, "Is the Christmas miracle a male God sending forth his divine sperm, or is the miracle that God is and always has been among the poor?" Did we mention: gross?

Look, we're not jumping into the religious debate on this one, but this is probably the worst example of using sex to drum up publicity since the Screech sex tape.


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