A Scottish teachers union has sparked outrage among Christians after it decided to promote a play depicting the Lord Jesus Christ as transgender.
The play, titled The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven, is written by Jo Clifford, a biological man who identifies as a woman while also professing to be Christian.
On June 17, the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) plans to host an LGBT event, “School’s Almost Out! Celebrate Pride,” where excerpts of the production will be shown. The EIS claims to represent around 80 percent of lecturers and teachers in Scotland.
In a previous interview with BBC News, Clifford told the outlet that the play explores what it would look like if Jesus came back today as a transgender person.
“The play imagines a transgender Jesus coming back to the world today,” Clifford said. “She pitches a sermon and tells a few very familiar Gospel stories.”
“She has a communion, shares bread and wine with the audience, which is really a gesture of solidarity in the face of death, and she gives a blessing. So it’s a very important, very intimate show.”
But John Denning, the Education Officer of The Christian Institute, argues that the play fails to consider Christians who are part of the EIS.
“This play deliberately re-imagines Jesus as a trans woman and puts words into his mouth that he never said, misrepresenting him,” Denning said. “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,” he added.
This isn’t the first time that the controversial play has been featured. In 2016, the play was shown in a Church of England church in Manchester.
At the time, Former Church of England Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali stated his opposition to the play, saying, “It is quite clear from the Gospels that the identity of Jesus is male, His ‘mum’ is Mary, and he always refers to God as ‘Father,’ so to suggest otherwise is contrary to Christian teaching.”
The play was also performed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2009, in which nearly 300 protestors opposed the production by candlelight protest outside a theater.