The man who posted a photo of an all-male nativity scene on Facebook says that reports of an online controversy have been exaggerated. 

Last December, Andrés Vásquez and Felipe Cárdenas created an all-male nativity scene. The gay Colombian couple crafted a scene featuring two father Josephs peering over baby Jesus. The Virgin Mary was noticeably absent.

A year later, newspapers, blogs, and even the Daily Dot caught wind of supposed outrage surrounding the display boiling on Facebook. Critics charged that the couple’s creation was sacrilegious and disrespectful.

“As much as I support gay rights, this is just stupid on so many levels,” lamented a supposed Facebook commenter. “If you are a Catholic you have to accept Jesus’ parents were Mary and Joseph.”

There’s just one problem: The supposed Facebook outrage has been blown out of proportion. 

Although the nativity scene did exist last year, Vásquez explained in an email to the Daily Dot, the controversy surrounding it didn’t. The picture circulating was from a magazine profile Vásquez and Cárdenas were featured in for their work in LGBT-activism.

Vásquez posted the article, along with the picture, to his Facebook and Twitter profiles last year and didn’t receive any backlash against it.

“At that time, I have not [received] any positive or negative feedback, the crazy things began after publication of a scandalous headline,” explained Vásquez. “…so no scandal, [the media] did it in their minds.”

The nativity scene was displayed in Vásquez’s forest-surrounded home near Bogotá. Vásquez said his family visited the display and “prayed happily” around it. (He didn’t recreate it this year due to his traveling.)  

Vásquez told a blog he suspects that an opposition figure against a marriage equality bill in the Colombian legislature is promoting the picture to stir anti-gay sentiment.

“The week before the nativity scene ‘scandal’ Congress had [approved] in first debate the bill and the conservative [whined], the churches and all conservative community in Colombia was making extra efforts with media and ads to stop the Marriage Equality bill,” Vásquez wrote.

Given that he hadn’t posted the picture in more than a year, Vásquez the picture was dug up by the oppositionists to scare religiously conservative residents into thinking that gay people want to make “all of society gay.”

“[It’s] clear that someone knows how the public opinion works, and create an outrage where was not any, focusing in some words ‘disrespectful,’ ‘sacrilege,’ ‘scandal,'” wrote Vásquez. “[I’m] very suspicious of all this.”

Photo via @surepresentante/Twitter

Soccer player fined $16,000 for calling teammate “gay”
19-year-old Liverpool star Suso was fined by the Football Association for a tweet that "included a reference to a person's sexual orientation."
From Our VICE Partners

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.