Christian groups are outraged by a play depicting Jesus as a trans woman, labelling it “deeply distressing and offensive.”
The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven is a one-woman show by transgender playwright Jo Clifford that reimagines Jesus as a present-day trans woman.
Clifford is set to perform two extracts from the acclaimed play at a virtual Pride event hosted by the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS), a major teachers’ union.
Predictably, the UK-based lobby group The Christian Institute is fuming.
“This play deliberately re-imagines Jesus as a trans woman and puts words into his mouth that he never said, misrepresenting him,” said the group’s education officer, John Denning.
“That’s deeply distressing and offensive for many Christians who value him and his teaching above all.
“It is hard to see how a teaching union justifies using the subscriptions paid by its members, many of whom are themselves Christians, to promote this play.”
In its statement, The Christian Institute also referred to Clifford as as “a man who identifies as a woman”.
They weren’t the only ones attacking the play. Denison Forum, a nonprofit Christian media organisation, was enraged that the teacher’s union would promote the production.
“It is a sign of our times that what was once shocking is becoming less so every day,” wrote founder Jim Denison.
“We have come to expect assaults on our faith from our fallen culture. But when the attacks come from within, they are especially devastating.”
The “blasphemous” play has attracted controversy ever since its debut in 2009, when 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside a Glasgow theatre.
Clifford is well aware of the religious backlash surrounding the production, but dismissed claims it is in any way blasphemous.
“As a practising Christian myself, I have no interest in attacking the church or mocking the church or make fun of the church or in anyway being blasphemous or offensive,” she told the BBC after protests in 2015.
“I simply want to assert very strongly, as strongly as I can that Jesus of the gospels would not in anyway wish to attack or denigrate people like myself.”
Clifford will perform at the EIS online Pride event on Thursday 17 June, 5pm – 7.30pm. Click here to register.