The St. Pauli church in the Swedish multicultural city of Malmo will replace a controversial pro-LGBT altarpiece with another work depicting Jesus Christ in high heels.
Swedish priest Helena Myrstener told media that the original painting, which was taken down because some claimed it depicted transgender individuals in a negative light, will be replaced by a print of another work by the same artist which depicts a transgender Jesus at the last supper, broadcaster SVT reports.
The painting, entitled Paradise, is the creation of Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and depicted a scene from the Garden of Eden with same-sex couples and transgender figures.
The painting stirred controversy as it was hung at the altar of the church. But it was the depiction of a transgender figure with the serpent — and therefore the association with evil and temptation — which outraged activists and led to the painting being removed.
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The artist behind the piece reacted negatively to the move, saying: “The Church of Sweden has until today had problems with transgender people, so to give the appearance that they now care about transgender people is a step, but it was devious to remove the painting. They will be ashamed of this history.”
Wallin went on to reject the interpretation that the painting associated transgender people with evil or temptation and added she would create a new altar painting for the church.
In the meantime, the church will be hanging another artwork at the altar, entitled The Communion, from Wallin’s Ecce Homo collection. A take on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, the work depicts Jesus Christ as a crossdresser surrounded by transgender figures in place of the Apostles.
Sweden’s state church is well-known for its progressive liberal stances which have seen lesbian Stockholm archbishop Eva Brunne claim she has more in common with Muslims than conservative Christians.
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