A billboard posted by a progressive Anglican church in New Zealand shows a baby Jesus with a rainbow halo around his head and a message reading, "It's time for Jesus to come out."
The Rev. Glynn Cardy of St. Matthew in the City Church in Auckland defended the sign in an interview with Auckland Now
"The fact is we don't know what his sexual orientation was," said Cardy. "Would it make a difference if he was gay? Would that change the picture for you? Would it mean what we revere about him changes?"
This is the second year in a row that the church has sparked a controversy. Its billboard last year of a pregnant Virgin Mary gasping as she looks at a pregnancy test sparked protests and was eventually torn down by someone in the area.
The billboard's unveiling came a week after Bishop Gene Robinson, the U.S. Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, said in an interview with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart that he believes Jesus would have approved of families with gay parents, as well as LGBT relationships in general.
"Here’s a guy who — in a culture that virtually demanded marriage — was a single guy, spent most of his time with 12 men, singled out three of them for leadership and one of them is known in the Bible as ‘the one whom Jesus loved,'" said Robinson. "Now I’m not saying Jesus was gay, but let’s be careful to rope this guy in for a husband, wife and 2.2 children model for family. He knew about families of choice, and so do LGBT people."
Robinson was on the show to promote his new book, "God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage."
A similar sentiment was expressed by pop star Elton John, who is gay
, in a February 2010 interview with Parade magazine.
"I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems," said John.
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