Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Queen Jesus and the Daily Mail

I knew the man from the Daily Mail getting in touch with me would cause trouble.
It's always a dilemma: do you talk to such people, knowing whatever you say they will try to use against you, or do you not?
I can't stop myself from reaching out to people, it seems, because I spoke to him.
I enjoyed our talk. He seemed a very pleasant and intelligent person. Not that that meant anything...
And sure enough on Sunday the article came out, under the headline: "Unholy Row Over Church's Play Which Portrays Jesus As A Transgender Woman".
There was, of course, no row. The kind people of St Chrysostom's church in Manchester were friendly and hospitable and I performed my play there. The performances were sold out, and the audiences enjoyed them.
The row was manufactured by a fundamentalist blogger based in Australia who alerted the Mail On Sunday to the performance in the hope it would cause controversy.
And the Mail On Sunday obliged. What was remarkable about it was that it referred me respectfully, using the correct pronouns.
This marked a change from the first coverage in 2009 when I was called things like "Sex Swap Playwright" and consistently referred to as "he".
The other remarkable thing was that the paper was a lone voice. No other tabloid joined the "outrage".
And the article's author had clearly had difficulty setting up the "fury". He found only one Christian traditionalist who was willing to be named.
That individual attacked me for referring to God as "mum" on the grounds that Jesus in the Bible always refers to God as "father".
Which he actually doesn't.  Jesus didn't speak the English of the King James Bible. The word he used was the Aramaic word "Abba", which is not altogether gender specific, and which can more accurately translated as "loving parent".
What the journalist predictably omitted, obviously, was everything I said about the Gospels in no way ever supporting anti-trans or anti-gay prejudice. That, on the contrary, in his words and his actions Jesus always reached out to the marginalised and the victims of prejudice.
It's such a source of sadness to me that everywhere throughout the world the opponents to ending discrimination against us should always do so in the name of Christianity.
As Queen Jesus says in the play: "I never said beware of the homosexual or the transgendered or the queer... I said beware the self righteous and the hypocrite. Beware those who judge others and think themselves virtuous. Those who condemn others and imagine themselves good".
And she also says: "Bless those who persecute you, for hatred is the only thing they have. And it doesn't amount to much. And they will lose it in the end.
For whatever they say and whatever they do they cannot stop the change that is coming.
And one day we will all be free."

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