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BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test

Crowhugger 18 Dec 11 - 10:03 PM
gnu 18 Dec 11 - 10:38 PM
Fossil 18 Dec 11 - 11:07 PM
Les in Chorlton 19 Dec 11 - 06:41 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 11 - 07:08 AM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 11 - 07:43 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Dec 11 - 08:21 AM
Keith A of Hertford 19 Dec 11 - 08:29 AM
theleveller 19 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM
Ed T 19 Dec 11 - 10:26 AM
frogprince 19 Dec 11 - 12:31 PM
gnu 19 Dec 11 - 01:10 PM
Crowhugger 19 Dec 11 - 01:36 PM
Keith A of Hertford 19 Dec 11 - 02:23 PM
wysiwyg 19 Dec 11 - 02:30 PM
MartinRyan 19 Dec 11 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Dec 11 - 03:55 PM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 11 - 05:36 PM
Crowhugger 19 Dec 11 - 07:05 PM
gnu 19 Dec 11 - 07:20 PM
Bobert 19 Dec 11 - 07:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 11 - 07:49 PM
wysiwyg 19 Dec 11 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Dec 11 - 10:43 PM
Crowhugger 19 Dec 11 - 11:17 PM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 11 - 04:08 AM
Wolfhound person 20 Dec 11 - 05:34 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Dec 11 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Eliza 20 Dec 11 - 06:29 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Dec 11 - 06:30 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Dec 11 - 06:35 AM
Musket 20 Dec 11 - 06:42 AM
theleveller 20 Dec 11 - 06:56 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 11 - 07:57 AM
DMcG 20 Dec 11 - 10:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 11 - 12:26 PM
Crowhugger 20 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Eliza 20 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 11 - 06:23 PM
Crowhugger 20 Dec 11 - 10:34 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Dec 11 - 04:51 AM
Crowhugger 21 Dec 11 - 06:33 AM
theleveller 21 Dec 11 - 07:16 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 11 - 07:23 AM
Crowhugger 21 Dec 11 - 07:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 11 - 08:43 AM
Keith A of Hertford 21 Dec 11 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 21 Dec 11 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 21 Dec 11 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Eliza 21 Dec 11 - 10:33 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 11 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 21 Dec 11 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 21 Dec 11 - 11:22 AM
Keith A of Hertford 21 Dec 11 - 11:30 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 11 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Shining Wit 21 Dec 11 - 12:11 PM
Crowhugger 21 Dec 11 - 12:22 PM
John P 21 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM
Les in Chorlton 21 Dec 11 - 01:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 11 - 02:17 PM
Fossil 21 Dec 11 - 05:09 PM
gnu 21 Dec 11 - 07:17 PM
John P 21 Dec 11 - 08:51 PM
John P 21 Dec 11 - 09:05 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 11 - 09:51 PM
Crowhugger 21 Dec 11 - 11:11 PM
GUEST,Patsy 22 Dec 11 - 04:44 AM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Dec 11 - 05:52 AM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Dec 11 - 05:55 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Dec 11 - 06:03 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 11 - 06:12 AM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Dec 11 - 06:36 AM
Crowhugger 22 Dec 11 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 22 Dec 11 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Patsy 22 Dec 11 - 10:00 AM
theleveller 22 Dec 11 - 10:24 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Dec 11 - 11:23 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 22 Dec 11 - 11:41 AM
Silas 22 Dec 11 - 11:42 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Dec 11 - 12:16 PM
Crowhugger 22 Dec 11 - 12:37 PM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Dec 11 - 12:39 PM
Crowhugger 22 Dec 11 - 01:53 PM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Dec 11 - 02:14 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Dec 11 - 02:23 PM
Crowhugger 22 Dec 11 - 10:11 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Dec 11 - 10:52 PM
Musket 23 Dec 11 - 11:39 AM
Crowhugger 23 Dec 11 - 01:05 PM
Peter the Squeezer 23 Dec 11 - 03:02 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 23 Dec 11 - 04:47 PM
Crowhugger 23 Dec 11 - 10:29 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 23 Dec 11 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,mg 23 Dec 11 - 11:33 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 11 - 04:11 AM
Crowhugger 24 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 24 Dec 11 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Dec 11 - 04:14 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 24 Dec 11 - 04:33 PM
gnu 24 Dec 11 - 05:05 PM
Crowhugger 24 Dec 11 - 05:12 PM
Crowhugger 24 Dec 11 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Dec 11 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,999 25 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM
gnu 25 Dec 11 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,999 25 Dec 11 - 09:15 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 25 Dec 11 - 10:14 PM
gnu 25 Dec 11 - 11:02 PM
Fossil 26 Dec 11 - 05:33 AM

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Subject: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 10:03 PM

Tonight when my husband read to me a news item from the paper about this image on a billboard in NZ (see top left of page), first I laughed right out loud. Immediately I also thought it was a brilliant stroke of PR to make a church relevant to early 21st century people. A great angle on an old story.

We both laughed some more at a list of possible captions for the billboard (scroll down)--some are downright audacious! Though I don't know if the billboard actually has a caption.

Anyhow, given that I'm not Christian and my husband's Catholicism is long lapsed, it occurs to me there may be more to this than meets our eye. Do tell: Does the image offend you? How, why? Does it amuse you? How, why? Not sure? Talk about that, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 10:38 PM

It's funny. Even tho it's DEFINITELY not funny to me. I think it's in VERY poor taste. But, anything for a joke. Live and let laff eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Fossil
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 11:07 PM

Gnu should *definitely* never visit New Zealand! Most people here appreciate the - let's say slightly risque - sort of humour and it's appreciated that an organisation like a church is prepared to take it on.

My own (Presbyterian) church, St John's in the City, Wellington also has a tradition of provocative posters - such as the exhortation (with appropriate photos) to "Love thine enemy: Go Australia!" which appeared during the Rugby World Cup.

But, looking at the Virgin/Pregnancy Test one - isn't there a very serious message there, underneath the obvious humour? We are, of course immediately faced with the question any woman in that situation has: "What do I do now?". Think about it, it's what the Catholics want you to do...


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 06:41 AM

Let me add to the "bad taste" angle by posing a cmpetition for the best one line addition:

Starting with "Some party that was"

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:08 AM

Jesus!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:43 AM

I occasionally went to concerts in that church in the early 70s. The one that really stands out was a performance of Cornelius Cardew's "The Great Learning", paragraph 7, where the whole audience participates - walking around the nave singing the text at pitches they chose themselves, then every so often walking up to somebody else, listening, and adopting their pitch instead of their own. So the sound started out as an enormous blur and as as a result of all those individual exhanges gradually focused down on a single unison tone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 08:21 AM

"Now, this is going to take some explaining"

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 08:29 AM

The second link in the OP makes these points.
This billboard portrays Mary, Jesus' mother, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant. Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future.

It could have added that she faced being stoned to death for conceiving while unmarried, and that she would have been barely 14, or even just 12 or 13.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM

"Wait till I get my hands on that fucking angel."


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Ed T
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 10:26 AM

Find it mildly amusing. If I saw it on a billboard, I would not spend any time looking for any wider meaning than what seems to be the intended joke. But, then, some folks can see deep meaning in many things, such as abstract art, often far beyond the orginal intent.

But, don't see that it would be seen as offensive to most broad thinking folks. Unlike in the past, today most Christians also have a broad sense of humour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: frogprince
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 12:31 PM

I wouldn't think of it as anything worse than a slightly edgey attempt to provoke thought. If you look down the comments with it at the linked site, I find some of the foaming-mouthed reactions far, far more disturbing than the billboard. Some of them really sound like people who could become physically dangerous at the least push of their religious "buttons".


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 01:10 PM

I guess I should have said... it's displayed in public. It would drwa flack here fer sure.

By the way, some of the responses above struck me as very funny.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 01:36 PM

If I'd seen it on a billboard I'm not sure I'd even have figured out what she was holding, but maybe it would be clearer on that size of image.

What I enjoyed was the different point of view--being taken into the minutiae of that famous woman's moment of truth. But then my sense of humour is very often about an unexpected point of view (my favourite comedic poem of all time is, "Have You Got Any News of the Iceberg?").

I'm trying to get a handle on *why* image might be bothersome or downright offensive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 02:23 PM

Mary is revered by Christians.
Some will find it unacceptable for her image to be used for such marketing, but there will be no beheadings or bloodshed.

Is there any other religion in the world whose principal figures of reverence would be used in such away?
Of course not, but the feelings of Christians do not matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 02:30 PM

I'm trying to get a handle on *why* image might be bothersome or downright offensive.

I sat with this for awhile before posting. The thread title alone gave me a hint of the topic, but I was peasantly surprised to find the original post asking how people might be feeling about it.


I found it bothersome. It's hard to say why, because it's a nonverbal reaction..... :

I think every generation struggles to reinterpret the Gospel in light of their own particular times and culture; this image/approach seems, to me, to be antithetical to my times and culture.

I'm not particularly an old poop, or lacking in humor; I just know that for many people of my age (or older), I would not be the only person wincing and feeling like something that is precious to me is somehow not knowable to "today's" culture... in 'most any carload of folks I'd be likely to be riding with, down our big highway on the way to ministry class, that billboard would provoke various degrees of sadness.


For me, that discomfort comes along with the solid experience of knowing that, very often, these people (people in "emerging" church culture in general) seem to come to Hardi and me (and other "dinosaurs") because of the depth our spirituality has provided to us. That place in me that feels discomfited by this image is the very same place from which people draw from that resource.


So whenever I see one of these "flash-bang," emerging-church thingies, part of my inner response is, "Oh, here come some more people in need of our solidity...." And simply-- it can get kinda tiring, maintaining that resource against the insistent tide of change.

We are not against change, but we just feel the increasing pace of it in the un-connection-ness of the people insisting upon change-- when the day comes that they bring whatever present panic the changes have not prepared them to withstand.

(Since you asked.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 03:51 PM

Don't see why she looks surprised - hadn't the fortune-telling angel told her well in advance? ;>)>

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 03:55 PM

I am not offended but I was not able to see a large picture, just thumbnail, and it did not seem to be uglified..just a woman holding an object. But I didn't find it funny either.

It is not like those "art" forms that are meant to shock and upset people. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 05:36 PM

Is there any other religion in the world whose principal figures of reverence would be used in such away?

these days even Krishna uses a dating agency

the goddess of vinyl furniture

Buddha should use a microwave


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:05 PM

Susan I appreciate your insights and candour. I'll mostly want to sit with and consider them a while, but I can say right off that I winced too, although my reaction was to the breaking a general societal rule, not the breaking of any of my personal rules or the crossing of a personal comfort boundary, if that's a fair way to characterize what you expressed.

Jack it's interesting that the images you found are designed to sell consumer products, and while that is a common thing to see, it's perhaps more common than to see a deity-adaptation (for lack of a better expression) designed to promote religious discussion. In this case it seems they want to inspire or provoke discussion; I don't know how they might measure whether a future donation or membership can be traced back to this image.

I wish I'd followed through with clicking on the image sooner; I would have used this link to the image instead. At this size it's clear to me what she's holding and that she is inside the most spider- and fly-free outhouse I've EVER seen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:20 PM

Mother Mary woulda been fine in my outhouse up country. No flies, no spiders.

All she woulda needed was a clothespin. If the flies and spiders hadda had sommat like that, they mighta survived.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:37 PM

Well, I wasn't even born back then so I had nothin' to do with it...

That will be my final answer...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:49 PM

My son's comment- History might have been different if they had had the morning-after pill in those days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 07:59 PM

CH, well said. Further via PM if you wish-- I will not be following the thread further. Thanks again for asking.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 10:43 PM

It is a pretty picture with a good expression...lI am not sure she looks like a 14 year old..I would say more 30ish..I am also not sure how many strawberry blond Palestenians there were at the time but there undoubtedly were some..also, did they have nice wood to spare for outhouses for poor people? I would have thought rock or clay brick or something. But it is not a bad picture. Has a universal quality to it. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 19 Dec 11 - 11:17 PM

Interesting about the apparent age of Mary in the pic. I didn't register thoughts about that. Looking afresh I wouldn't have pegged her as old as you did. 19 maybe. The style makes it hard to be sure though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 04:08 AM

I have been pondering why I find it funny and also potentially offensive and the two are clearly related.

One reason is the cognitive conflict of 1C Palestine and the 20C testing kit. The second CC is in my mind between the Mary the Mother of Jesus and the young woman who looks as if she is not happy and that it is an unplanned pregnancy. The sacred made profane?

For those of us who feel christianity is part of the status quo and via the Church of England the ruling class, we are witnesssing a poke at one aspect of authority.

This is my take as an atheist

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 05:34 AM

I think anyone who hasn't faced a pregnancy they weren't ready for (married or not) has no right to criticise that facial expression. Its an awful situation to be in, even now. Particularly if you don't agree with or have no access to abortion.

Mary was young, living in a society which would not have looked kindly on the situation (and I've seen or heard several reasonable and informed interpretations of the sort of thing that might have happened), and probably frightened. Even if you believe the bits about the visit from an angel, and even if she believed she was chosen in whatever way, there would have been human moments of doubt and self questioning.

She may or may not have been formally betrothed to Joseph by this time - the stories are too vague for us to know at this distance. That would have helped a bit, but not much.

I hope it helps the church in question. It certainly makes me think. And I do like some of the comments.

Paws


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:01 AM

I find the reactions of those purportedly shocked posting on the linked site deeply disturbing and somewhat dangerous.

The uncharity of the Xtian religious right to single pregnant women is sociopathic and the image lampoons it well. Many a young single pregnant woman will "have the baby kicked out of her". Some religion.

The poster on the other site arguing that women are put on earth to provide future generations is quite simply dehumanising women.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:29 AM

I find it extrememly offensive, and if this were to be displayed in my local area, I would stridently object in every way possible. This is blasphemous sacrilege. The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God in Christian teaching, and as such no-one should be permitted to display such a poster. Imagine if Mohammed (peace be upon him) were to be portrayed in an equally disrespectful way. There would be riots. No doubt there will now follow a stream of abusive and derisive postings, but I stand firm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:30 AM

My father was always amused by the bit of folklore called The Irish Girl's Prayer, "Mary, Mother of God, who conceived without sinning; teach us, we pray, to sin without conceiving." I think he had learned it in his own university days. I was, & am, never quite sure if I found it amusing or not ~~ thoroughly ambivalent, in fact.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:35 AM

I am likewise, as I hope my last post made clear, ambivalent in the same way about the subject of this thread. Eliza, I should never dream of deriding or abusing your deeply felt opinions as expressed so cogently above; and agree with you that there are other religions whom cartoonists would hesitate long before making such game of their faith ~ especially with that not-so-long-since Danish example before them.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Musket
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:42 AM

I thought it was Red Bull that gave you wings?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:56 AM

As a non-believer I am confused (and sometimes amused) by what the multifarious and divided sects of the Christian religion do or do not find offensive. My mother was orthodox C of E and was offended when the local Catholic church erected a full-size, life-like and multi-coloured effigy of Jesus on the cross outside their church. She thought it vulgar and irreligious. Let's not forget that many beautiful murals and carvings created to inspire worship in our local parish churches were destroyed during the Commonwealth by Puritans of a Presbyterian persuasion who classed them as 'graven images'.

It would seem that, where religion is concerned, even though adherents claim to worship the same god, you just can't please everybody – or anybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 07:57 AM

Is it possible to respect people and their religion when those people don't appear to respect each other or people of other faiths?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 10:53 AM

This is blasphemous sacrilege. The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God in Christian teaching, and as such no-one should be permitted to display such a poster

This is a bit tricky. The people displaying it are themselves a Christian Church, so it is not exactly analogous to the Krishna/Buddha examples. I'd certainly be unhappy if it was an advertisement for a pregnancy testing kit, for example, because the reasons you give. But as it is a poster by a Christian Church aimed at getting people to think more about the reality of Christmas (as Christians perceive it), I'm not opposed.

(On the other hand, I am always wary of the phrase 'no-one should be permitted', whatever it applies to.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 12:26 PM

I found this interesting:
(via google)
blas·phe·mies
1.
a. A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
b. The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.

Perhaps those claiming the first should be aware of the second?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM

Unfortunately that kind of definition doesn't help me to know why some people (Eliza and others) find the image blasphemous. Saying that it is blasphemous or contemptuous or profane doesn't increase my understanding at all about what aspect(s) of the image, exactly, are unacceptable. [sigh] I guess it's self-evident to those who "know", but I don't know and if I'm to learn I do need it spelled out clearly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 04:46 PM

Crowhugger, I'm taking you at your word, (although I wonder if you're just teasing by saying you don't understand why it offends)
Imagine if you will driving along and passing a large billboard on which was depicted an enormous photo of your mother. The photo has been digitally altered so she appears to be wearing, say, a sexy thong and boob-tassels and she's holding an opened bottle of whiskey and winking. People are laughing at her, as some of them recognise the lady as your mum. Later, some even come up to you leering and ask if you've seen it. I do think you'd be deeply upset and offended, and want the poster taken down. You'd probably be very angry as well. The Virgin Mary is not, of course, my mother, but even more importantly, she is/was the Mother of Our Lord, the Mother of God. She should not be depicted holding a pregnancy test and looking peeved. She is not an object of derision or disrespect. Maybe this can help you to understand?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 06:23 PM

The whole point of the Annunciation story is that it short-circuits this scenario - Mary agrees to become pregnant, no question of her being surprised at a notional pregnancy test.

Now if you had Joseph looking worried about a positive pregnancy test showing up, that would be a different matter, a potentially funny way of bringing it all up to date, and quite in keeping with the original story, where he does get rather gobsmacked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 10:34 PM

Eliza, thank you for bearing with me on this. I expect it's just as hard for devout folks to wrap their heads around how I see things as vice versa. Are you saying it's against church rules to consider or portray Virgin Mary in any light other than as a devoted madonna figure? You did kind of lose me at the parallel between thong & tassles on my mother and VM thinking "oh sh!t, this baby thing is for real." Does this mean that you feel VM taking a pregnancy test effectively sexualizes her, and that's what's wrong with the image?

McGrath, your comment is helpful, I think. Do I understand correctly that you're saying that what the image portrays is not possible within the story of the annunciation? If so, the image messes with theology (I think, it's not like I'm an expert in this stuff) so I can totally understand how that would be blasphemous.

I think that those who were raised Christian may not realize just how much detailed knowledge they've amassed about it, which knowledge I, for one, do not possess. I do know that Christians care about certain stuff that isn't a big deal to me. That is the whole reason I was asking about the image in the first place--I know enough to realize there may be issues but I don't know enough to see what they are. I'd rather know than guess, so I asked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 04:51 AM

' the image messes with theology ··· so I can totally understand how that would be blasphemous. ' Crowhugger
,..,
I think not. Theology is simply a series of academic opinions and theories postulated on matters of religion; not any sort of defining statement of belief. Depending on whose theology and in whose view, it might be heretical. But I can't see how it could be blasphemous.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 06:33 AM

M, you won't be surprised that I'm not exactly up on the difference between the two. I do figure you got my general meaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 07:16 AM

What the hell! It's a joke - you either get it or you don't. End of!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 07:23 AM

McGrath of Harlow

The whole point of the Annunciation story is that it short-circuits this scenario

Surely this picture IS the Annunciation brought up to date. I think Mary was a little troubled until Gabriel explained the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 07:53 AM

theleveller, just enjoying the laugh is perfectly fine! I hope you'll be equally fine with me trying to get a handle on what makes it NOT funny to some.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM

What doesn't work is the implication that an imagined positive pregnancy test might come as a surprise in the circumstances.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:43 AM

My suggestion was that this scene doesn't follow the Annunciation, it IS the Annunciation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 09:51 AM

No, at the Annunciation she was told that she would conceive, not that she had conceived.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 10:06 AM

"The Virgin Mary is not, of course, my mother, but even more importantly, she is/was the Mother of Our Lord, the Mother of God. She should not be depicted holding a pregnancy test and looking peeved. She is not an object of derision or disrespect. Maybe this can help you to understand?'

It's your choice to believe that, it's not your choice to foist those views on other members of the society in which you live.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 10:12 AM

Ooops! Pressed the button before I finished. I meant to say that it's your choice to believe that, it's not your right to foist those views on other members of the society in which you live, however. If you think it is, I find Christmas offensive so whoever doesn't agree with me must take down all the trees and decorations and show some humility and compassion for a change. But wait - that would be rather unreasonable wouldn't it?

I don't mean to be rude or inflammatory but you have to realise we don't all share your beliefs and think that in many cases they're detrimental and offensive to many, many people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 10:33 AM

Shining Wit, in society, we all live nursing our different beliefs, religions and tenets. Many of these are held most strongly and each will defend his/her own creed with vigour. The knack I suppose is for each of us to edge with respect around the other, and to try not to inflame or upset unnecessarily wherever possible. In UK, for example, we have a myriad different mores, religions, customs etc, and generally speaking we try to respect those of a different persuasion. If we did not, attitudes might harden, tempers flare, hatreds fester and eventually this may erupt in civil violence etc. We must just try to 'get along' and apply a little kindness and understanding. I do not foist my religion/culture on anyone, but this is a forum, and one may express views. As you may know, my husband is a Muslim yet we live in harmony together because we each respect the other's right to believe what he will, and would never contemplate mockery, insult or blasphemy with regard to the religion of the other. Even he was shocked at the poster of Mary. If he can understand the distress it causes, maybe others can too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:00 AM

Fair enough, Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:20 AM

As I say, I really don't mean to be rude in any way, and your personal life is of no relevance to this discussion. The problem is, in secular society we are allowed freedom of choice in all manner of things and the second you start impinging on that right we are all in trouble, whichever quarter that impingement comes from. This isn't an impingement on your right to believe or worship, it's someone either taking the piss or trying to make a theoretical point by subverting religious iconography. However, if anyone tries to stop people making these images (by whatever means, and unfortunately many are intimidated by the so-called faithful in so many parts of the world these days) then that is an assault on personal freedom.

So in this case (of this image the questioning of the Virgin Birth), I have to wonder why anyone who believes in the divine conception would respond to the image by grizzling about how offensive it is rather than defending the catechism robustly?

As for attitudes hardening, it's possible for some people to express their views with conviction without resorting to intimidation, insults and violence. I agree that stoking the fires of resentment, suspicion and intolerance is not health in any society but please be aware that this works both ways - we have Cameron telling the world we're a Christian country, the nasty and divisive ghettos of faith schools (populated by apostates and non-believers mostly it seems) plus the ever-looming threat of creationism and other such nonsense being taught as science rather than comparative religion.

Come to think of it . . I'm the one who should be offended!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:22 AM

Sorry, got carried away with my impinges there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:30 AM

Faith schools are heavily over-subscribed, and have to teach about other faiths, and there is absolutely no threat of creationism being taught as Science.
I do not see that you have anything to be offended about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM

There is no reason why a mother should not remain sexually active. Any suggestion that mothers should cease to be sexual beings is an offensive patriarchal attempt to imprison.

The image does no disrespect in any event. It correctly criticises those who judge and wrongly use their religion as a weapon. Compare "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone"   John 7:53-8:11.

Those who kill and threaten in the name of their religion impair whatever creditworthiness their religion might otherwise have.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 12:10 PM

By definition faith schools are exclusive; their teachings are skewed to whatever belief the people running it adhere too. This is particularly insidious as it's indoctrinating children into a belief system that automatically assumes it's right and everyone else is wrong, full stop. If that doesn't set the stage for intolerance I don't know what does. Do you really think it's OK to skew a child's view by labelling them a 'catholic', 'muslim' or 'protestant' when they're too young to decide for themselves? Is it really OK to tell a child the rest of the world is wrong and we're the chosen few? Doesn't that colour an individual's thinking for the rest of their life.

In the North of Ireland faith schools have done sod all but exacerbate and promote the persistence of the evil of sectarianism. I was lucky in that I went to a state comprehensive with a real mix, and learnt more about my mates religious traditions b talking to them and going around their houses for tea than ever I did in R.E.

Faith schools are an abomination, as the only way for us as a society to all get along is if we mix and exchange ideas freely, and aren't told 'only we are right' by someone whose experienced divine revelation. Integration is the key, and nurturing a child's natural inquisitiveness and curiosity about the world should be done without the constraints placed upon it by any religious dogma.

It's like the enlightenment never happened sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 12:11 PM

That was me above, sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 12:22 PM

Eliza, I've absorbed some more of what you said, in particular I'm thinking now of where you said "[Mary] should not be depicted holding a pregnancy test and looking peeved."

From this statement I can understand better at least one part of how we differ about whether/how offensive the image: To my eye she isn't peeved, not at all. To me the image depicts that very real moment many women experience, the moment when, despite already being pretty sure they're pregnant, despite wanting to have children, they experience a real bump up against reality when the pregnancy is confirmed. That flip-floppy feeling of, "What have I gotten myself into, am I ready for this?" I know very few women who were totally unequivocal about becoming pregnant despite clearly wanting a family.

I'm wondering: Within your beliefs, is it wrong to depict VM experiencing such emotions? A related questions: Would the same picture, but with her face NOT looking peeved in your view, be offensive?

For VM to be shown at such a vulnerable moment of ambivalence connects her profoundly with womanhood everywhere but to me in no way does it debase her or lessen her worthiness to be Mother of God. Not at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: John P
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM

If I were Mary, Annunciation or not, I would like some proof. I'll bet she was watching her periods even though she knew it was all OK because of the angelic visitation.

Or . . . this scene happened ten years after the birth of Jesus. One assumes she continued to be married to Joseph and pregnancy was still a concern.

Eliza, if it you think it is wrong to depict Mary in this way, then you shouldn't depict Mary in this way. You don't get to tell anyone else that they should consider it wrong. Or at least you shouldn't expect anyone to comply - or refrain from getting peeved at you - if you do. Your comparison to a billboard showing a real person displayed in an offensive way is silly. Mary is not a real person who can be hurt by any such thing. Your post came across like a veiled threat of violence and made you sound more like a Muslim fundamentalist than a Christian. Like it or not, we live in a free society where we get to say any non-violent thing we choose. Part of the reason so many people are wary of Christians is that so many of them think they have the right to tell other people how to think and how to behave. Please stop it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 01:56 PM

Is it possible to respect people and their religion when those people don't appear to respect each other or people of other faiths?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 02:17 PM

Is it possible to respect people who don't respect other people?

All depends on what you mean by "respect".

I think when we set out to cause offence to other people it is dishonest to complain when the people we have set out to offend are in fact offended.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Fossil
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 05:09 PM

Just to pop back into the thread for a moment - I'm BTW pleased to note that it hasn't (yet, but give 'em time...) been taken over by trolls and that some of the Mudcat heavies have deemed it worthy of their attention.

That poster was intended by the Catholic church that put it up to shock, to catch attention and to make people think. In the local conditions here in New Zealand, you do that best by making people laugh first.

Let's not forget that the Roman Catholic church adopts a strongly anti-abortion stance, so there are undertones of this in the semiotics of that image. "What if" - Mary had decided not to go on with it? Modern women - particularly young unmarried ones - have that choice (in most civilised countries, that is, certainly in NZ), and that's against that particular church's teachings. What would it have meant for the world if she hadn't?

But I tend to agree with Crowhugger, and didn't find any element of unhappiness in the figure's expression. Apprehension, maybe, but not sadness. And it's a story to which everyone knows the answer, anyway. She *did* go ahead with it, and we are now getting ready to celebrate the outcome.

Even most of the atheists of my acquaintance are busy putting up decorations, buying each other presents and singing Christmas carols. Pity that religion has to obtrude on the festival of commercialism, put there you are..


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 07:17 PM

"Like it or not, we live in a free society where we get to say any non-violent thing we choose. Part of the reason so many people are wary of Christians is that so many of them think they have the right to tell other people how to think and how to behave. Please stop it."

And, then, there are good manners. Now, as I have said countless times, fuck em if they can't take a joke BUT this is on a billboard in public. It's NOT about the very basics of humour or whether ANYone is telling others what to say or do... it's about WHERE they do it. Ya wanna tell a dirty joke, go ahead... just not at MacDonald's in front of Ronnie and the kids... okay? Ya got that? It ain't rocket science. Zip it.

And, if you think it's fine to tell dirty jokes or picture the Mother Mary in such away in front of YOUR kids, go ahead... but you sure as fuck don't speak for everyone and THEIR kids. I would suggest YOU stop it and get some manners.

Oh, BTW, I don't give two shits from Tuesday about it... except for the fact that I cannot believe that some people believe they can be rude to others and then be rude to them about their "right" to be rude. It baffles me. Decorum and good manners in public seem to be a thing of the past. How very unfortunate that some disregard the feelings of others in such a callous manner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: John P
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:51 PM

Wow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: John P
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 09:05 PM

OK, I'll say more. Wow may be too ambiguous for you, gnu. But I hardly know where to begin.

1. I think that war is blasphemous. Images of war, movies about war, and the public wearing of military uniforms offends me deeply. Make them all stop, please. They are being rude to me.

2. I wasn't talking about the billboard when I said that to Eliza. I was, very obviously, talking about the fact that she was offended by people thinking something was funny/interesting/telling/cogent/absurd that she thought was blasphemous.

3. Comparing that billboard to telling a dirty joke in front of children is just as silly as Eliza's comparison of it to posting an offensive photo of someone. Sorry, but to the non-religious, the two concepts aren't even on the same planet. Public decorum, my ass. Go read your own post again.

4. I didn't put that billboard up.

5. The Catholic Church did put that billboard up.

6. The reason so many people are wary of Christians is because some of them say things like: "I cannot believe that some people believe they can be rude to others and then be rude to them about their "right" to be rude." without stopping to consider that what they are doing is telling people how to think and how to behave. As I said in #1, rudeness is a very subjective idea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 09:51 PM

How curious. I did not perceive an intent to bolster the loathsome Catholic anti-abortion doctrine that treats women as vassals of their lieges. I only saw an very witty riposte to those who condemn single parents.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:11 PM

So gnu is it fair to say you think such an image should be allowed to exist, but that it's in poor taste to place it in a spot as public and unavoidable as a billboard?

If that's roughly true, I'm wondering where you'd be comfortable drawing the line between okay place(s) for it and not okay places. Like, I dunno, what about that church buying an ad in Readers' Digest, where people can express their outrage by cancelling subscriptions? (Not that I think RD would accept such an ad.) Would it be acceptable for them to buy a newspaper ad? If it came as a flyer in the mail,one could have the satisfaction of tearing it up or using it for fire starter. All I'm trying to nail down, since you felt the image best doesn't appear so publicly, is how un-public is enough for your preference?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 04:44 AM

I am not overly religious but to me it is bad manners to subject everyone to the joke. What is joked about in your own circle of friends or in private is another thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 05:52 AM

Shining Wit, I acknowledge the problem with Protestant and Catholic schools in NI.
In England we have a different situation.
Most faith schools are CofE or Catholic and we don not have a sectarian divide here.
They are in demand because their results are so good.
Fron CofE site,

Are Church of England schools socially divisive?
No, most church schools simply reflect the areas in which they are located. All CofE Voluntary Controlled schools (around 2,500) have 100 per cent local admissions, and fully reflect the community within which they are set. CofE Voluntary Aided schools (around 2,100) usually admit children of Church of England and other Christian families first, but the vast majority also admit local children including children from families of other faith traditions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 05:55 AM

(Your name is open to the sin of Spooner. Deliberate?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 06:03 AM

Keith, the UK Xtian schools (catholic and not) impose unpleasant disciplinary regimes, and are very divisive in their neighbourhoods with unhealthy attitudes towards other parts of the Xtian religion, towards other religions, towards those doubting religions, and to pupils at other schools, as well at the local communities. The UK also suffers from schools that indoctrinate Jewish faiths and Islamic faiths, for sure, and for all I know other faiths too. Faith schools are part of religious intolerance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 06:12 AM

We've got some Muslim friends who want their daughter to go to the local Catholic secondary school, and to help make sure she gets in they've gone to the Imam to get a letter to give the school confirming that they are practicing Muslims.

I don't think you can call that a sectarian attitude on the part of the school.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 06:36 AM

the UK Xtian schools (catholic and not) impose unpleasant disciplinary regimes, No they do not and are very divisive in their neighbourhoods I challenge that too with unhealthy attitudes towards other parts of the Xtian religion, towards other religions, towards those doubting religions, and to pupils at other schools, as well at the local communities. and all that tosh as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 08:53 AM

On the topic of UK Christian schools, if you start a thread about it, others interested in the topic will be able to find the discussion.

I'm still (faintly ;-)) hoping to gather responses to the image mentioned in the OP.

Richard, I never thought about the single parent aspect.

Patsy that makes sense. I'm wondering: Does the image offend you? Entertain or amuse you? Can you be specific about what bothers you or appeals to you about it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 09:56 AM

Certainly is a spoonerism Keith - my deluded self-image and my real one combined :-) I got it from Ken Dodd dealing with a heckler at Crewe Lyceum years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 10:00 AM

I just think it shouldn't be assumed that everyone is going to be ok about it just as I wouldn't make any comments or show anything disrespectful regarding any other religion in public or public area be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Amish or anyone else. The odd bit of irreverent humour can be amusing but it does bother me that this might be pushing it too far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 10:24 AM

"Keith, the UK Xtian schools (catholic and not) impose unpleasant disciplinary regimes, and are very divisive in their neighbourhoods with unhealthy attitudes towards other parts of the Xtian religion, towards other religions, towards those doubting religions, and to pupils at other schools, as well at the local communities."

I can only speak about the C of E Primary School that my son and daughter both attended as it's the only primary in the area. There was certainly never any indoctrination (as an athiest I'd have strongly opposed that if it had happened) and they were taught about all the major religions without bias.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:23 AM

Well, Keith, there are several in Gravesend and I've seen the results.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM

PS - I note you do not spring to the defence of any faith other than Xtianity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:41 AM

I note that some people reckon that it is wrong to poke fun at the virgin Mary etc. Why?

No, seriously. If this was a private person rather than a fictitious symbol, then I would admit that it is not nice. But it isn't.

It is a symbol that people use to influence others and s therefore fair game. There was no virgin Mary, or if there was, she cannot have given birth. Ok, these days you can argue that artificial insemination of an otherwise virgin could be on stride as such,mdepending on your take on the word virgin. But test tubes and IVF weren't around at the timewe are told most of the bilble was written. So if people are being upset over it, they are being upset over a fairy story. Granted, a fairy story with huge amounts of heritage and many believers of it's origin., but a nice although hardly original fairy story.

If you don't want me to crack jokes about politicians, people may take them too seriously, and worse, they may take themselves too seriously. Same with superstition.

If you want he bible to be your guide, good luck and I wish you a happy Xmas. If anybody wants the bible or any other scripture to influence me, and I'm talking to you now Cameron, then expect it to be subjected to scrutiny (fell at the first hurdle) and ridicule if I see it as a threat, which judging by history it most certainly is.

Those who watch me perform, poor buggers, will be aware of my easter offering on stage entitled Jesus on a rubber cross. I suffer for my art cos it buggers my back up performing it...

May Dave Allen's God go with you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Silas
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:42 AM

"Faith schools are heavily over-subscribed, and have to teach about other faiths, and there is absolutely no threat of creationism being taught as Science.
I do not see that you have anything to be offended about."

Dunno where you get your information Keith, but creationism is certainly taught in Catholic schools. Both my kids went to a RC school, though we as parents are atheists. They were taught creationism and told that evouloution is only a theory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 12:16 PM

Intrestin point Silas. As I understand it the catholic church accepted evolution a long time ago. But some catholics seem not to know this. Make of that what you will.

As for who goes to faith schools - loads of English primary schools are C of E and in some parts of the country many are catholic. In areas with falling rolls they will often have anybody's children. In areas with more kids that places they practice selection. That's often why they do well in tests.

Do they "indoctorate"? The teach small children things which most adults don't think are true.

Best wishes at this time of year

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 12:37 PM

«...just as I wouldn't make any comments or show anything disrespectful regarding any other religion in public or public area...»
Okay...so, Patsy did the image raise any discomfort in *you*? If so, what exactly is the problem with it? If not, did you find it funny, even if it was a kind of "forbidden" funny?

For all the opinions people hold about various aspects of religion, in other threads and this one--including the stuff of thread drift--it's quite remarkable to me how difficult it is to get clear descriptions of just exactly what about the image is bothersome or offensive.

I very much appreciate the clear information I did get from a few. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 12:39 PM

I am tutoring some kids from a private Catholic school at the moment.
As they are studying for GCSE they must know about evolution and the evidence for it, and are certainly not required to know anything about creationism.
Richard, do tell us what your Gravesend schools specifically do that you object to.
And Richard, I am not defending any particular faith, but the thread is mainly about Christianity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 01:53 PM

Have your tutorees seen the image; what do they think of it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 02:14 PM

No.
They are fairly typical teenage boys.
I doubt they would have an opinion.
They are dismissive of people who deny evolution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 02:23 PM

Some background about the image (for those who are not looking more deeply on the Facebook page or around the web): it was used as a billboard by a church in Aukland, NZ, and subsequently vandalized. Their intent was to provoke thought and discussion, in which they seem to have been successful.

NZ Herald article

Huffington Post article

From Aukland Now (stuff.co.nz):

'In a statement, Vicar Glynn Cardy and priest associate Clay Nelson said Christmas was about "a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope".

"Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last."

The church said the billboard was aimed at provoking conversation and have asked people to submit their captions for the image.

Cardy told Auckland Now it was about highlighting the fact that Christmas was a tough time for many people who suffered through a lack of money, poor health or violence.

"The point is really to get the season focussed on Jesus and on the reality of his birth and some of the anxieties that his mother felt and the real situation of people who are in poverty like his family were."

He hoped it inspired people to be more generous. '

Another poster they used a few years back had similar issues. (Facebook link) It depicted Joseph and Mary in bed, with the caption, "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."

Here's the info on the church:

About        
St Matthew-in-the-City is working to be a church Jesus would belong to without embarrassment: Inclusive, welcoming, compassionate and fearless. Here you can be a fan without being religious.

General Information        
St Matthew-in-the-City is a progressive Christian congregation affiliated with the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. We have been a part of Auckland for over 150 years. We have played an important role in fighting for the marginalised and excluded in New Zealand and around the world

We are committed to being an inclusive, welcoming church on site and online. While we welcome all, our mission is to push the theological envelope to articulate a spirituality that goes beyond traditional Christian doctrine and dogma. Our liturgy is innovative and remarkably free of traditional Christian dogma and yet Anglican in flavour.

Our business is spiritual transformation not filling the pews. Our strategy is to ask questions, not give answers. Our dream is a world that is a little more just, a little more kind.

Our congregation is worldwide linked by our website, iGod podcasts, and OMG! e-magazine, and locally by our beautiful neo-Gothic stone church. We connect locally not only as a house of worship but as a venue for community activities, concerts, and corporate and private events.
---

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 10:11 PM

Becky, thanks; that gives a good bit of background that's easy to miss at the links if one isn't a clicker or scroller.

Yes there has been discussion but people have offered rather little clarity about exactly what in the image is offensive. I guess that, in itself, could be saying something, but what? That most people don't want to think too deeply or don't want to put the time and effort into articulating how they feel? That they don't want to expose themselves to the venom I have oh-so-occasionally seen used to slay heart felt attempts to understand? That they have to bake and wrap and sing and do all that other seasonal stuff? I'd rather ask than guess but that doesn't always net me the information.

Knowing of the negative reaction posted to the St. Matthews-in-the-City and the discomfort of a few people here, I was surprised by the reaction of friends of mine who are reasonably devout and active Christians of various stripes. Despite my being more humanist than anything and while I don't believe in any deity, I end up around quite a lot active Christians because of handbells--most bell sets in Ontario are owned by churches. So far, they've laughed right out loud. These are people whom I would consider very religious: They believe in God, attend church service at least once per week; some attend or lead bible studies of one kind or another, others sing in or direct church choirs or work as church musicians; all serve the larger community by volunteering with their church. That said, the ones I know well enough to have talked about it have done and still do some regular questioning of their faith, although nearly everyone I know who adheres to a faith spends as much time reconsidering various aspects of it as they do living it.

All that is to say: I'd hoped to get some good insights from the religious people I know, insights into what exactly about the subject image offends, but instead we shared a good belly laugh. I'm *almost* ready to give up on ever finding the information I seek.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 10:52 PM

This is getting very worrying indeed. Now I find something to agree with Mr Fluids about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Musket
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 11:39 AM

Ah, its a conspiracy, Bridge.

The so called Mr Fluids and I are having a pint together tonight... To be fair, what with football, politics, religion and the best pint I ever tasted, I doubt we will find time to recall you exist, but there again, you know bugger all about football anyway.

Mind you, I reckon he needs to get his keyboard changed.

Hey, Crowhugger. Handbells here in The UK tend to be rung as change ringing, same as church bells. Interestingly, whilst some may be Christians, many aren't. My responsible adult is a bell ringer and as the faithful shuffle in to church, she and the others shuffle to the pub, job done.

Me? I'm ahead of them, got the first pint in.

Merry Xmas to one and all! Even those wearing blue wondering how the hell that happened...


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 01:05 PM

Ian, Cheers to your RA! I've heard about the popularity of change ringing in the UK. For sure it's the exception here rather than the rule. Our handbell festival last May had one workshop teaching change ringing. Next year the International Handbell Symposium will be in Liverpool so I hope the North Americans who attend (not yours truly--so much music, so little budget) will get more exposure to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 03:02 PM

Valid point, Ian

".... as the faithful shuffle in to church, she and the others shuffle to the pub ..."

Didn't you ever wonder why the pub and the Church are so close to each other in most villages?

In Stow (Lincolnshire) there used to be a French window opening from one of the bars onto the churchyard. Perhaps not the best place to fall asleep during a session - you might wake up with earth on top of you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 04:47 PM

How do we know that this lady's name was even Mary, much less the mother of Christ? There is no known existing image of either her or her exalted son so how in the name of God can we identify them by a picture? The same can be said for all of the prophets.
What we see in our mind as a holy image has been planted by artists a millenium or more after any of them lived. Therefore this being anything close to the "real Mary" is strictly in the eye of the beholder. However anyone with enough faith to believe this to be Mary and to take offense the bible offers a solution written by the same great prophets who would stone an unwed pregnant teen:
"If thy eye offendeth thee, pluck it out!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 10:29 PM

Peter t. Squeezer & Sandy McLean: Do tell, did you find the image linked in the OP to be either offensive or funny? Or some of both? Particularly if it bothered you in some way, what exactly was the irritant in the image?

«... this [image] being anything close to the "real Mary" is strictly in the eye of the beholder...»
Ah well, that's true, Sandy, as far as it goes. Yet I think one doesn't get very far by choosing to discount a basic human reality: That our society uses countless images and words to represent all manner of concepts, material things and much more. The image used on St. Matthew-in-the-City's billboard has been well understood to represent the Virgin Mary. Whether or not the likeness is accurate has nothing to do with whether people see something as rude or funny about it or whatever, not as long as people understand who the image is meant to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 10:57 PM

Crowhugger, you miss my point! If I find it either funny or offensuve is totally subjective to myself, but I do not on dogmatic faith believe it to be the face of the Virgin Mary. I also do not comprehend how anyone knew if she was a virgin or not and if it made an iota of difference to the teaching of her son. This world still has those who would see her stoned for conceiving out of wedlock and I see that as being highly offensive. I also do not feel I have a right to impose my belief upon others, but I do take offense at those who would try to impose their belief on me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 11:33 PM

I think it is best usually to let sleeping dogs lie and not deliberately try to offend...I don't think this picture does that, but we can probably think of some that can..watch if Romney is the nominee..we will have all sorts of Mormon slurs, as well as fundamentalist slurs and Muslim slurs, although people are getting the social disapproval memo that Muslim slurs are not on the OK list any more..so it will be Mormon and fundamentalist...I think the Mormons are fantastic to have around..when we had a tornado and roofs were torn off etc. people kept saying the Mormons are coming, the Mormons are coming. They did not say the Catholics are coming, the Presbyterians are coming, the athiests are coming...so I vote for letting people have their symbols and any beliefs that do not directly harm us, such as not eating pork, or wearing special underwear or whatever, and live and let live. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:11 AM

The issue isn't "not eating pork, or wearing special underwear" but teaching children all kinds if things which by almost all measures are clearly not true.

Seasons greetings from Chorlton cum Hardy

L there-in


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM

Hey Sandy, I did wonder if I was missing your point, and (duh) perhaps I still am. I'm having a dense-headed day, it seems. I guess I figure that, if one is to understand how this particular image may offend some people--Christians in particular--one does need to take as given the same things they do: That Mary was indeed a Virgin, and that the billboard image represents her.

For me to understand another's viewpoint I need to step out of my own view, which is that either virgin birth is either totally impossible or the extremely rare parthenogenesis, in either case not a godly insertion or blessing or insemination or what-have-you. I need to shed that view for long enough to step wholeheartedly into the other POV. A kind of walking a mile in their shoes. Which is why I didn't follow where you're going with idea that it's merely the eye of the beholder. It is ENTIRELY the eye of the beholder, and there are very specific beholders who I'm trying to understand more about.   

Yes those who are offended by the billboard can avert their eyes and not continue to look at it (a bit more practical than literally plucking out one's own eye). But they will still have seen it, still perhaps have felt offense, and if they did, I still want to know exactly how the image conflicts with their views and caused them to feel offended.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 03:36 PM

Well Crowhugger, to reduce it all to the lowest common denominator is that anyone who takes offense at a challenge to their dogma does not respect others' right to not subscribe to that same dogma. Therefore I see the problem as subjective, and offense may be taken where it is not intended but differing opinions should not be stiffled. Therefore the problem is mostly in the eye of the beholder. As for a virgin birth artificial insemination is not any great technological breakthrough, but that it matters at all I find rather strange. I ask myself what the Hell is the difference it is if she was a virgin or not? If it matters to someone else then I would question why, but it is not a part of my inherent values!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:14 PM

I do not believe that for one second. I am bound up with Catholic dogma because that is the religion that I was assigned to. I do not care if others subscribe to it or not. I totally respect their rights to believe whatever they want, as long as people etc. are not harmed..and I will say as I have said before that some of the Catholic dogma, or rules, or whatever, are harmful. If someone wants to come up to me and say I challenge your dogma, go ahead. I won't be offended by the challenge and I won't challenge anyone's else's dogma though. If they go beyond a polite challenge, and start showing me "art" that ridicules or is caused to shock and offend the religion of at least half of my ancestors, then I will be offended. It means I think they are rude and infantile people in some cases, but it does not mean I do not respect their right to not subscribe to that same dogma. We have all sorts of rights it is best we use prudence in exercising. In a multicultural democracy, or whatever it is that we have, we need to rein in our feelings of superiority, scorn, derision etc. so that things just run more smoothly..now, we don't have to exactly..it is just probably better for the body politic not to go creating offenses for the pleasure of it. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:33 PM

Mary, perhaps you express my feelings more eloquently than myself!Even though as you say " I do not believe that for one second". My point remains that any offense is totally subjective and those offended should look deeper within themselves bvefore they condem others!


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 05:05 PM

mg... "If they go beyond a polite challenge, and start showing me "art" that ridicules or is caused to shock and offend the religion of at least half of my ancestors, then I will be offended."

Ahhh... hmmmm... isn't that what happened... in the VERY first post?

Did I miss somethin here? Or have I misinterpreted your statement? I think so, but I am not sure.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 05:12 PM

Sandy I think I follow what your're saying. But I don't see why I can't be offended by someting even while I respect your freedom to hold the viewpoint. If that's possible with white supremacy (it offends me but I think people should be allowed to hold the view, as mg says as long as people aren't getting hurt--action is different than belief) how is it impossible with religious views?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 05:17 PM

mg, earlier it sounded like you personally don't find the picture offensive, but now with the most recent post (today 4:14 p.m.) I'm wondering if you are offended by it. So to be clear, does the image offend you? If so, exactly what about it does that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 05:38 PM

The image does not offend me. Others of crucifixes smeared with dung etc. do. Cartoons of the Prophet that are meant to shock and offend offend me. People's dogmas are so entertwined with their families, their region, their culture..you can't ridicule them without insulting their mothers, fathers, great grandparents etc. You can't do it without harming their children. Now some things do need to be challenged..racial supremecy etc...but the question is how and when and what collateral damage. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,999
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM

"That poster was intended by the Catholic church that put it up to shock, to catch attention and to make people think."


The church that put up the picture was Anglican.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 04:20 PM

Anglican... well, isn't that just Catholic with priests who can marry?

I mean, if you become a god parent in an Anglican church you have to swear that you will raise a godchild in the Holy Roman Catholic religion if something happens to the parents... etc.

Kinda like Catholic Lite?

Whoa... back da fuck up... it's a joke eh? I am Cat'lic and we can take a joke... eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: GUEST,999
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 09:15 PM

Excellent article at the following link. Ten minute read.

http://www.anglicansonline.org/resources/essays/whalon/AngRC-diffEng.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 10:14 PM

The Anglican Church was born of the desire of Henry VIII to have his authority supplant that of the Pope. Divorce and marriage were things in particular that he differed from with the church in Rome. Henry proclaimed that the king should be supreme head with the Archbishop of Canterbury the spiritual leader. Over the years the ruling monarch would appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury, probably after cunsulting the church leaders. Queen Elizabeth II appointed an Archbishop of Canterbury that was not in favour with hard-assed PM Maggie Thatcher so she supplanted the Queen's authority and placed her own choice in that position. Nobody had the balls to kick Maggie's arse out of her self proclaimed position. Although an attendant but not an Anglican adherent I found offense in that. However, looking within myself I knew that either Maggie or I had to go, so I left.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: gnu
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 11:02 PM

Midnight mass last night in a church in Dieppe, NB (yes... this has NOTHING to do with this thread) was in Latin, with the sermon given in English and repeated in French. One hour and fifty minutes. I shant attend next year. Mumble, mumble... I recall my bro... "My father can play dominos better than your father caaannn..." If ya don't get that, yer not Cat'lic.

My nephew and his wife went to Ronald's and got a Big Mac and fries on the way home after mass. No wonder they were late fer Kissmeass dinner. A Big Mac and fries at 2AM kinda slows ya down on the morrow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Virgin Mary & pregnancy test
From: Fossil
Date: 26 Dec 11 - 05:33 AM

Oops! Anglicans they are too!!

Don't think it changes much about what I said above, but will sleep on it.


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