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.