Claim: Jesus will be portrayed as a homosexual in an upcoming film.
Examples: [Collected on the Internet, 2000]
Please send this to ALL of your friends to sign to stop the movie from coming out. Already certain areas in Europe have started to ban it from coming to their country and we can stop it too! We just need a lot of signatures and you can help! Please do not delete this! Show your faith and respect for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died for us! Please help!
PLEASE SIGN AND SEND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! PLEASE. IF WE WORK TOGETHER WE CAN BAN THIS!
- Sometimes the publication news of this upcoming film was gleaned from is said to be Modern People News; at other times it's Modern Film News.
- Protest letters are directed to the Attorney General of either Illinois or Alabama.
Yes, non-existent. There never was such a film in production, but this petition continued to circulate anyway:
Modern People News has revealed plans for the filming of a movie based on the SEX LIFE OF JESUS in which Jesus is portrayed as a swinging HOMOSEXUAL. This film will be shot in the U.S.A. this year unless the public outcry is great. Already a French Prostitute has been named to play the part of Mary Magdalene, with who Christ has a blatant affair. We CANNOT AFFORD to standby and DO NOTHING about this disgrace. We must not allow this perveted world to drag our Lord through the dirt. PLEASE HELP us to get this film banned from the U.S.A. as it has been in Europe. Let us show how we feel.
Detach and mail the form below to the address shown. Make a few copies and give them to your friends. Only one name per copy.
Attorney General Scott,
301 South Second Street,
Dear Attorney General Scott,
I would like to protest, in the strongest terms possible, the production, filming, and showing of any movie that supposedly depicts the sex life of JESUS CHRIST by MODERN PEOPLE NEWS, 11030 West Addison Street, Franklin Park, Illinois 60181.
Such a movie would be blasphemous and would be an outrage and contrary to the truth. We urge you to take proper action against this moral corruption.
The office of the Attorney General of the State of Illnois respectfully requests your assistance in combating an international chain letter that is distressing hundreds and thousands of Christians and those of other faiths as well.
The chain letter is a plea to protest "in the strongest possible language" the making of a movie in which Jesus Christ could be depicted as a swinging homosexual. Both this office and the Associated Press have chased down every possible clue and cannot find a shred of truth in the story that such a film was ever in production.
Modern Film News, which reported the film plans, has been out of business for more than two years. Moreover,
Despite our efforts to get the word to the public that the chain letter is a hoax, we continue to receive approximately 1,000 protests every week and at least a dozen phone inquiries each working day. The inquiries and protests have come from
We have concluded that the "Jesus movie" rumor originated in 1977 when a suburban Chicago publication, Modern People News, reported that certain interests in Europe were planning such a film and requested that readers express their opinion of the purported project. The result was the chain-letter protest, which, for some unknown reason, has been revived and is again sweeping the world.
We are appealing to you, Ann Landers, to help us get the word out. The scope of your readership and impact on millions of newspaper readers around the world cannot be overestimated.
The postage and phone calls, not to mention the valuable time of employees, run into a great deal of money that could be used for so many worthwhile purposes. Will you please help us?
— Neil F. Hartigan, Attorney General, State of Illnois
Dear Attorney General Hartigan:
Hoaxes die hard and the zanier the hoax, the more difficult it is to convince people that it is not true.
If any of you, my readers, receive a copy of that wacky chain letter, take my word for the fact that there is not an iota of truth in it. And please tell friends that chain letters are illegal and should be tossed into the handiest wastebasket or fed to the nearest goat.
The non-existence of a "gay Jesus film" did not stem the ire of those who heard about it.
We take our religious icons seriously, as Denis Lemon, editor of the British publication Gay News, found out in 1978. He lost his appeal against conviction for blasphemous libel involving poem he had published about a Roman centurion's homosexual love for Jesus. Though the nine month suspended sentence was set aside, the $900 fine against him and $1,900 fine against his magazine were upheld.
A non-film version of a work similar to the one described in the petition was produced in 1998, when Terrance McNally's dramatic offering Corpus Christi began previews at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York. As described by The New York Times, it "retells the Biblical story of a Jesus-like figure — from his birth in a Texas flea-bag hotel with people having profane, violent sex in a room next door, to his crucifixion as 'king of the queers' in a manner with the potential to offend many people."
And it did. The Manhattan Theater Club's announcement of the play as part of its fall season was greeted with bomb threats promising to "burn the place to the ground" if the production opened. In May 1998 the theatre announced it was pulling "Corpus Christi" from its
Additional security measures were taken during the play's run to protect both the actors and the audience. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (self-described as the nation's largest Catholic civil rights group) planned an opening-night protest at the theatre involving busloads of people from as far away as Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as nuns, priests and lay people from Long Island. "Hopefully we'll send a message that this is basically unacceptable," said
Corpus Christi continues to play various live theatres from time to time. It completed a four-week engagement at London's Pleasance Theatre in late 1999, and in March 2001 it became the subject of a brouhaha at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton when several state lawmakers threatened to cut funding for FAU because its theatre department staged the play. In March 2010, Tarleton State University's decision to host to a student performance of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi drew ire from some residents of Stephenville, Texas, home of that institute of higher learning.
Corpus Christi is undoubtedly the "play that went on for a while but never stopped" referred to in the current petition, but there are still no plans to make a movie out of it. The 2010 release Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption is often mistakenly cited as a film version of the play Corpus Christi, but it is not; it's a documentary about the controversy surrounding one particular troupe's production of the play, not a movie version of the play itself. Likewise, the 2006 DVD released entitled
Barbara "crock of ages" Mikkelson
Last updated: 20 May 2014
Abrams, Joseph. "Texas Town Cross Over Play's 'Gay' Christ." FOX News.com. 25 March 2010. Applebomb, Peter. "In Reversal, Theater Vows to Stage Play That Drew Threats." The New York Times. 29 May 1998 (p. A1). Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Mexican Pet. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986. ISBN 0-393-30542-2 (pp. 175-177). Landers, Ann. "Ann Landers." 20 January 1985 [syndicated column]. Leo, John. "Bigotry Still Has No Place in World of Art." The Detroit News. 9 June 1998 (p. A7). Medved, Harry and Michael Medved. The Golden Turkey Awards. New York: Perigee Books, 1980. (pp. 122-124). O'Haire, Patricia. "Curtains for Play Depicting Christ As Gay." [New York] Daily News. 22 May 1998 (p. 7). Reel, Bill. "Artistic Freedom is Not a License to Commit or Aid Artistic Assault." Newsday. 2 June 1998 (p. A40). Associated Press. "Florida University Under Fire for Play with Gay Christ Character." 30 March 2001. The New York Times. "Lemon Loses Appeal." 18 March 1978 (p. 7).