Public Funds Used for Play Depicting Jesus Christ as Transsexual

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: November 12, 2015

The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven is part of the Outburst Queer Arts Festival in Belfast, and is advertised with the tagline: “Jesus is a transsexual woman. And it is now she walks the earth.”

The Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), allocated a total of £45,500 to the Outburst Queer Arts Festival for 2014-2015. Under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, public bodies such as the Arts Council have obligations relating to promoting “good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group”. A play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual has faced strong criticism, ahead of its launch at a publicly-funded LGBT festival in Northern Ireland. Director of The Christian Institute, Colin Hart, expressed disbelief that such an offensive production has benefited from funding from a public body. Mr Hart said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland would never dream of funding a racist play, so why have they chosen to subsidise a show that so derides the Lord Jesus Christ, who all Christians worship? “If people want to put on a play designed to cause gratuitous offence to Christians they should be left to pay for it themselves."  “It is totally unacceptable for a public body, bound by law to promote good relations between people, to channel money in a way which causes such obvious conflict.” In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph, church leaders from across Belfast have called for the performance to be cancelled. Source: The Christian Institute