Virgin Mary billboard vandal would do it again

By Kristin Edge of the Northern Advocate -
Arthur Skinner in front of the controversial St-Matthew-in-the-City billboard of the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test that he vandalised. Photo / Richard Robinson
Arthur Skinner in front of the controversial St-Matthew-in-the-City billboard of the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test that he vandalised. Photo / Richard Robinson

A Whangarei man who slashed a controversial billboard of the Virgin Mary says he would destroy it again even if it meant going to jail.

Arthur Skinner attacked the billboard outside the Anglican church of St Matthew-in-the-City, in central Auckland with scissors last Saturday.

The billboard showed a shocked-looking Virgin Mary clutching a positive pregnancy test.

Yesterday St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church, which was responsible for the image, told Mr Skinner they would not be replacing the billboard and police had confirmed they would not be laying charges in relation to the incident.

The Christmas billboard was erected last week to raise discussion about Mary's circumstances coming into Christmas.

Mr Skinner, a member of an organisation calling itself the Catholic Action Group, described the Renaissance-style picture as "satanic" and said he would not hesitate to take the same action.

"The Virgin Mary is sacred, you do not blaspheme her image. Yes, absolutely, I would destroy it again

"Even if it meant going to jail,"

Mr Skinner described himself and the Catholic Action Group as traditional Catholics.

"We wish all our enemies a very merry Christmas. We thank our supporters and wish them a happy and holy Christmas."

In a statement St Matthew-in-the-City spokesman Reverend Clay Nelson said the Catholic Action Group had vandalised the billboard to gain publicity for Mr Skinner's point of view and to further his supposedly Catholic organisation's agenda.

"Our agenda is to get people to think about Christmas a little more deeply. Some people chose to be offended, but that's not our intent. But there are those who can get past that and reflect on Christmas," Mr Nelson said.

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