We reported on Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption—the new documentary about Terrence McNally’s controversial play depicting Jesus as a gay man in 1950s Texas—and its upcoming April 29 premiere at San Francisco’s famed Castro Theatre. Given the criticism and threats of violence the original production got when it was staged on Broadway in 1998, we guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the film, and the accompanying new road tour of the play, are also coming under fire from right-wing Christian groups.
According to the publicist for 108 Productions, which mounts productions of Corpus Christi, an online petition has denounced the play and the documentary as “unspeakable blasphemy” and “prejudicial outrage.” Garnering some 7,000 signers, the petition also calls on the Castro Theatre to “immediately cancel the showing of this movie and play—and to offer a public apology to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to all God-fearing Americans.”
We’re pretty sure the Son of God has bigger concerns than waiting around for an apology for some play. And honestly, it doesn’t depict Christ as a liar, thief or murderer—just gay. Is that such a sin? (Yeah, yeah, we know—Leviticus 18. Blah blah blaaah.)
Besides the predictable protest set to take place outside the Castro the night of the screening, 108 Productions’ crew has received personal emails attacking the show and even director Nic Arnzen’s mother in Iowa has reported being harassed.
But 108 co-founder James Brandon says the company won’t be intimidated: “Controversy and protest has followed this play from the beginning, but it has never stopped it from being performed,” he says. “Their words of protest have only made us more empowered to love ourselves and have actually deepened our own conviction that the LGBT community absolutely has a right to a seat at the table of their chosen faith.”
Brandon is turning the other cheek in regard to these haters, saying “we welcome any protester to please see the play or film as our guest so they can experience firsthand the Love He really stood for.”
We don’t see what the big fuss is about suggesting Jesus might be gay, anyway. The man was in his 30s, never married or dated, and practically worshiped his mother. You do the math.
Gay Jesus is the best way to troll christians ever. It never fails. Gay Jesus? FFFFFFUUUUUU!!
I haven’t seen this play, however, the precept of Christ is that there are two parts to our personhood, flesh and spirit. From what I have gathered, by all that was said on this subject, flesh is the lesser of the two. That is no secret, as it has been spoken of in many different ways, with many examples and parables. All of the pleasures of the flesh, of living in an organic mass of molecules, of pride, is temporary and subject to death. The spirit is not confined by the laws of death and mortality. It would be incongruous for this Person to carry on in a carnal fashion. Christ had this concept in the bag, so any Christians, flying into a rage over this play, seem to be raging about unresolved hatred, in themselves, towards others, rather than knowing that physical matters, worldly pleasures, exploits, were beneath Jesus. If a play blurs the line, takes liberties, or even blasphemes, have no fear that His reputation is at stake. Quibbling, protesting, stirring up the ire of others, and storming the stage in outrage is giving the writer of such a play too much of your time. Shake the sand off of your shoes and carry on.
Queerty: ‘Brandon is turning the other cheek in regard to these haters, saying “we welcome any protester to please see the play or film as our guest so they can experience firsthand the Love He really stood for.”’
I’m definitely protesting this film. Hey Brandon, send me my free ticket! I’ll be quiet as a proverbial church mouse while the film is being shown!
On a more “serious” note, my guess is that the “Christian” protesters will have to contend with a counter protest orchestrated by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. They will have met their match.
I was in a production of Corpus Christie in New Zealand… hardly any fuss was made about the play.
My personal response to the script is that it’s a great premise but it is poorly executed and inconsistent… I has a wonderful start but the form set up changes towards the end to reflect a gay version of a medieval Passion play, the wonderfully alive and vibrant characters all but disappear which is a great shame.
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