The new documentary, "Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption," follows 108 Productions' revival of Terrence McNally's controversial play "Corpus Christi." The stage production, which first debuted in New York in in 1998, retells the Christian redemption story, with Jesus Christ being depicted as a gay man living in Texas during the 1950s.
The play's resurgence is already being met with mass protest, as is the film's documentation of the revival. The Catholic group America Needs Fatima is spearheading an online petition against both initiatives. As for the stage production, ANF calls it, a "blasphemous homosexual play." Already, the group has collected more than 13,200 signatures supporting this charge.
The boilerplate protest message that the organization allows interested parties to send out comes with the following subject: "Stop The Blasphemy!" The letter reads:
I strongly protest against the showing of the blasphemous play Corpus Christi, which includes a Christ-like figure who reportedly has sexual relations with his apostles, and of the movie which promotes it, Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption.
The Person of Jesus Christ is Sacred and untouchable. To portray Him as a homosexual, or even to insinuate it, is an unspeakable blasphemy which I reject with all my soul.
I ask you 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.
While critics are staunch in their opposition, backers -- particularly those behind the production -- deny that the play and the film supporting it cross any lines. Instead, proponents maintain that the subject matter is timely and will assist in helping to dispel homophobia and bullying.
"Our tour aims to change the story on religious bullying and homophobia in all ages and walks of life, by teaching our audiences to love themselves for who they are," James Brandon, the co-founder of 108 Productions and an actor in the play, said in a statement. "As the voices of intolerance around the world continue preaching ignorance and hate, we will keep raising our voices from a place of love -- and as our tour continues, we will spread that love to places where love for LGBT people is lacking."
Here's a preview for the film, below:
As the controversy heats up, those behind the projects have no intention of backing down. As SF Weekly has noted, the play caused a major uproar years ago as well. So, controversy, it seems, is par for the course for those promoting "Corpus Christi."