A range of Christmas cards featuring the Virgin Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus have been lambasted as "deeply offensive" by members of the Christian community.

The cards were produced by Yorkshire-based gift company Love Layla, which states on its website that it creates cards that are " realistic, hilarious and not full of bulls***".

One of the cards in question features an illustration of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus alongside the caption: "Mary just needs to admit she slept with someone else," in reference to the Christian teaching of the virgin birth.

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Another card in the range is designed with the slogan: "Jesus was born to save t***s like you", while another states: "I am sorry that your December birthday is overshadowed by a bloke that wore socks with sandals."

The "C'mon Mary" card, pictured below, has sparked backlash among several Christian social media users, with some calling for it to be removed from sale. It is currently available for £3.75 on the Love Layla website.

(Love Layla /SWNS.COM)

"A lot of Christians will be deeply offended by this sort of thing," said James Mildred, communication manager of Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).

"It highlights a fundamental hypocrisy that Christianity is seen as fair game to mock, disparage and insult."

Mr Mildred added that the card is the "opposite of respectful", stating that cards of this ilk are released on an annual basis.

"It it just another sad example of the kind of under-the-radar discrimination Christians around Europe are currently facing."

Stacey Dennis, who founded Love Layla four years ago, said the company wanted to provide a "playful edge" with its Christmas card range.

"Christmas isn't just about religion it's also about having fun and enjoying ourselves," Ms Dennis stated.

“We’re just trying to be original and funny by catering for all different types of humour, we don’t set out to deliberately upset anyone."

Ms Dennis added that there are "plenty of choices available out there for those who believe Christmas and comedy don't mix".

The Independent has contacted Love Layla for comment.

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