Protester defends attack on Mary with pregnancy test kit billboard

The man who attacked the Mary with pregnancy test kit billboard has defended his actions. The $300 Christmas billboard was erected by the St Matthew-in-the-City Church last week to raise discussion about Mary’s circumstances coming into Christmas. Catholic Action Group member Arthur Skinner was caught, and later admitted to, slashing the board with scissors yesterday in protest.

On Sunday Skinner lead a group of protesters, gathered at St Matthew’s in the recitation of the Rosary.

When interviewed, Skinner said, ”Yes it’s vandalism and if they want to arrest me then be my guest…If it comes to that, I believe in being persecuted for my faith.”

”We don’t look for trouble but watch out when you start this sort of thing,” he added.

Skinner said there are half a million Catholics in New Zealand who were outraged by the Mary with pregnancy test kit billboard.

He was believed to have earlier phoned St Matthew’s vicar Glynn Cardy to say he would “roast slowly in hell” for erecting the billboard.

On Monday Cardy released a statement in which he said “Arthur Skinner and the Catholic Action Group used our billboard, his vandalism of it, and our property this morning to gain publicity for his point of view and to further his supposedly “Catholic” organisation’s agenda. He has also announced that he was willing to be arrested for his illegal act. We believe Mr Skinner could have gained the same attention without the vandalism. While his offer to be arrested is tempting, we declined the invitation (however we wouldn’t decline restitution). We would rather bring attention to the world’s poor, the plight of women in too many countries, hungry children, the destruction of the environment, and the need to end violence rather than his religious intolerance.”

Commenting on the Mary with pregnancy test kit billboard, Lyndsay Freer, spokesperson for the Auckland Catholic Church said “Once again, St Matthew’s shows us that they have moved away from traditional Christianity, even though their hearts might be in the right place.

“It is true that Christmas is real and celebrates a real pregnancy.

“It is also true that the anxiety and needs of young solo mothers today need to be addressed with compassion and care.

“But in making this point, St Matthew’s ignores the gospel account of matters surrounding the pregnancy and birth of Jesus, in which Mary is not a shocked solo mother but a young woman who has given her assent and trust to God.”

Freer said she, too, had received an unhappy phone call from someone who she thought was Skinner about the poster.


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