Gay Jesus Play Stirring Up Controversy in Sydney

“Pro-family” and religious groups are incensed over the Terrence McNally play Corpus Christi, which is set to open in Sydney which features a gay Jesus Christ who is seduced by Judas, and who performs a same-sex marriage for two of his apostles.

CorpuschristiThe Sydney Morning Herald reports: “The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, questioned the integrity of Corpus Christi and expressed his outrage at the ‘unhistorical and untrue’ depiction of the son of God and some of his disciples as homosexual. ‘It is deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they’re obviously having a laugh about it,’ he said. ‘It’s historical nonsense and I wouldn’t want to go and see it. Life’s too short.’ Australian Family Association spokeswoman Angela Conway said the play’s creators had committed “a big enough crime” by neglecting to treat Christianity and Christian believers with more sensitivity. ‘The ideas are offensive and really border on blasphemous. It’s just completely fanciful and self-obsessive,’ she said.”

The play is timed to open for Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, at the New Theatre in Newtown on February 7.

Its director, Leigh Rowney, told the paper he welcomes the controversy: “I would be surprised if people bothered to protest outside the New Theatre … but if they did, bring it on. I think [the play] humanises [Jesus Christ] in a way Christians might find difficult because we like to believe God and the son of God are ultimately divine and above all of us. I wanted this play in the hands of a Christian person like myself to give it dignity but still open it up to answering questions about Christianity as a faith system.”

It’s not the first time the play has created an uproar. A fatwa death threat was issued by the Shari’ah Court of the UK when it opened in London in 1999 and in New York as well.

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  1. woodroad34 says

    Didn’t God give us free will to imagine and create? So, this priest must be unchristian to be so upset. How does he really know what Christ did? Don’t they usually portray Christ as a white guy? Isn’t that a lie as well? Religion’s distortions are the real crime here.

    “You vill think only vhat ve say you vill think!”

  2. says

    This play was done as a senior project for a theatre student at my local university, and I went to see it.

    Northeast Indiana is one of the most conservative regions in the country, so I applaud the student who did this play for his courage.

    My family didn’t want me to see it, but I felt I had to judge for myself. The community had quite an uproar, but to me, it was no big deal. I grew up with Jesus and I don’t think he’d be any more offended by this than Jesus Christ Superstar. Just because he’s gay in this and not in love with Mary Magdelene, it’s theoretically more offensive. I don’t think so.

  3. nic says

    there is almost nothing known about the historical jesus. how can these idiots pretend to know what the truth is? but, why would we expect them to, when they can’t tell the differences among faith, history, and drama?

  4. PJ says

    I agree with Nic on this. We know nothing about the “historical” Jesus. There is no evidence that he even existed in the first place. Most of the New Testament was written after Jesus reported crucifixion. Considering the lack of scientific method at the time of the books of the New Testament, it is not a qualifiable source. Further, it is recorded historical fact that the Council of Nicea, the Diet of Worms and James I of England all edited the Bible to suit their needs. It is also recorded fact that Bocchachio, Dante and Milton, et al. created a lot of stories which Christians now use as canon. (i.e. “The War in Heaven” is Milton, “The Rings of Heaven and Hell” are Dante, etc.) To read that an evangelical is complaining about the historical untruths of a play is laughable. These are also the same people who complained about The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus Christ Superstar and the chocolate statue of the Crucifixion, Sweet Divinity. How are we to take these people seriously when their arguments about history are weak and based on no reputable historical evidence? My answer to these people is, “It’s art. History is replete with controversial art. Art makes people think about the subject matter. It is my assumption that (you) don’t want people thinking about the subject matter. (You) don’t want people thinking, at all.”

  5. says

    “(You) don’t want people thinking, at all.”

    That’s a given in most organised religion. The Theravada tradition of Buddhism has the Buddha’s last words as being “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” Can you imagine a bishop, imam or rabbi saying that?

  6. Davey says

    I saw this show when I was 18 at MTC when it opened , I think in ’98. I thought it was excellent..I remember how blown away I was at the security they had when you went into the theatre…pat downs, metal detectors, etc…ofcourse this was before 9/11 where it’s now very common

  7. FizziekruntNT says

    “It’s just completely fanciful and self-obsessive,’ she said.”


    Yeah, NIC, what you said.


  8. RJ says

    Since when have religious leaders in western countries been allowed to publicly call for someone’s assassination with impunity? Why hasn’t that entire UK Islamic “court” been arrested for inciting others to murder?

  9. lou says

    The Australian Family Association are a notorious right-wing religious group that seems to garner a lot of media pull – they once on air encouraged gays and lesbians to marry people of the opposite sex as if that would work.

    These people are old and outdated hate-mongers who would jump at the chance to ridicule gays, but when the shoes on the other foot… they act like victims.

    Get over it.

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