A controversial play that reimagines Jesus as a transgender woman who refers to God as "Mum" was performed at a church in England during the annual LGBT "sparkle weekend," offending many Christians and Church leaders.
The one-woman play by award-winning Scottish playwright Jo Clifford, who has herself changed gender, is called "The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven," which imagines Jesus returning to Earth as a "trans woman" and retelling the parables with a transsexual slant.
The play was staged Sunday at St Chrysostom's church in Manchester's Victoria Park as part of the city's Queer Contact festival, U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.
During the play, Jo Clifford says, "I love my Mum. I am the daughter of God and almost certainty the son also."
Clifford continues: "Our Mother who art on Earth, blessed is your name. … Give us this day our daily kisses, for yours is the Queendom …," as the attendees could see images of gay couples kissing.
"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," former Bishop of Rochester, Rt Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, was quoted as saying.
The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, chose not to stop the performance.
"That an artistic performance is offensive to Christians does not of itself amount to grounds for seeking to prevent it taking place," he was quoted as saying. "In a richly diverse society, of which Manchester is a proud standard bearer, none of us has the right to be protected from being offended. It is only when offence reaches the level of incitement to hatred that the law properly comes into play."
He said the laws of the Church of England say the responsibility lies solely with the local minister, "unless he or she elects to refer it to the bishop for determination."
"That I cannot support this particular performance, and have urged that consideration be given to transferring it to a less contentious venue, in no way weakens the support I and my colleagues continue to give to the transgendered members of our community and our churches, not least during the annual sparkle weekend in the city centre," the bishop added.
The play was aired in Belfast, Northern Island, as part of Outburst Queer Arts Festival last November, according to BBC.
In 2009, the same drama was performed at Tron Theatre in Glasgow, even as about 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside, BBC reported.
Pastor Jack Bell of the Zion Baptist Church in Glasgow, was quoted as saying at the time: "You can't blaspheme God and use freedom of speech as an excuse for that. … True biblical Christianity is becoming marginalised through political correctness."