The controversial play, known as Jerry Springer: The Opera, full of obscene references to Christian beliefs, opened on Broadway yesterday, raising new questions about why public funding is being used to support this kind of divisive “art.”
Catholic League president Bill Donohue held a press conference yesterday morning at the National Press Club in Washington DC to raise objections to the play and the source of funding for its production company, known as the New Group, which receives most of its funds from public sources, led by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The play, which has a long history of controversy in Europe, previewed yesterday at the Pershing Square Signature Center, an off-Broadway venue.
The show is based on the premise that Springer has been shot and goes to hell. Satan wants Jerry to host a “conflict resolution show” because he’s angry at being tossed out of heaven and thinks Jesus owes him an apology. The “show” features a Jesus figure who is fat, effeminate and wearing a loincloth who curses and claims he’s a little gay. At one point, Satan holds up an off-white biscuit that resembles the Eucharist which Jesus takes from his hand and throws to the ground.
As the League summarizes: “Good and evil trade places (Jesus is a gay fascist who must apologize to Satan); nature-based differences between the sexes are blurred (women are depicted with male genitalia); terrorists are portrayed as friendly (tap dancing Klansmen); and Christianity is defamed (the Mass and the Eucharist are trashed, the crucifixion is ridiculed, and the Virgin Mary was raped by an angel). To say the theme is demonic is hardly an exaggeration.”
As the League describes in this in-depth report, the Opera debuted in 2002 at the Edinburgh Festival then moved to London’s west end in 2003. Starring David Soul, former star of Starsky & Hutch, tens of thousands of Christians protested the play but it ran anyway.
In 2005, it was scheduled to come to New York but was met with so much resistance that it was cancelled. It briefly ran at Carnegie Hall for two nights in 2008.
Yesterday’s press conference was aimed at calling attention to this “frontal assault on Christian sensibilities” and to request that President Trump nominate a new chairman of the NEA, “one who will discontinue funding of anti-Christian grantees, exhibitions, and performances” when the tenure of the current chairman expires in April.
This vile play is nothing more than bigotry masquerading as “art” and using taxpayer money to fund it is an offense to the dignity of all Americans.
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