Members of the Free Presbyterian Church are planning to protest at a film screening of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in Armagh this Saturday evening.
The Market Place Theatre is showing the 1973 film of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera for one night only.
The theatre often runs an eclectic mix of film screenings for only one or two nights.
Although the production has enjoyed critical success for decades, some Christians have claimed it is too sympathetic to Judas and down plays the divinity of Christ; the production features the crucifixion but not the resurrection.
Rev Graham Middleton from Tullyvallen Free Presbyterian Church said his problems begin with the title. “It’s a compete fabrication that Christ is a ‘superstar’,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. “How can Christ be lowered to a worldly label such as this?” He said that the film and stage production “gives us a view of Christ’s final days through Judas’ eyes”.
“He may have been an apostle but this is not a good standpoint as we know the Devil entered Judas as he left the Last Supper, so we are really getting the Devil’s point of view”.
Regarding the Market Place Theatre, he said: “I believe in people’s civil and religious liberties to show what they want, and they are not a Christian organisation. However, in my view, right thinking people should voice their concerns. He stressed the protest will be “non-confrontational”.
Armagh Sinn Fein councillor Garath Keating said: “Protesters are entitled to protest as they wish, as the organisers and those who wish to go and see the film screening are also entitled to do so.”
The Market Place Theatre declined to offer any comment.