Christians in an Austrian town have forced the Mayor to cover a giant stone penis after it was deemed offensive to the faith.
The 6ft tall statue of male genitalia was erected in a garden in Traunkirchen, near the “Way of the Cross” route up a hill with chapels and images portraying the day Jesus was crucified, The Sun reported.
The Mayor of the town, Christoph Schragl, said the statue was put up last Friday – to much of local population’s anger. “The phallus is a big annoyance for some citizens,” he added.
Schragl said some people assumed it was just a late April Fool’s prank, but others felt their religion was being mocked, prompting to town to set up green plastic screens to block it from the public view.
According to antique dealer Juergen Hesz, who owns the garden which contains the penis, he has had mostly positive feedback.
He even urged the local tourist board to include his phallic statue in an ad campaign about the town, but his suggestion was shot down by the Mayor.
Hesz, who also has other works of art in his garden – including a statue of Saint Peter – said the sculpture “has been standing there for months” but nobody complained about it. “On the contrary, artists and students admired it,” he added.
Hesz claims the statue is a 2,000 year-old symbol of fertility from the Hellenistic period, adding: “Easter is a fertility festival, it is not? I do not know why a phallus should be something negative.”