A petition against the Netflix Christmas special featuring a gay Jesus and pot-smoking Virgin Mary has now passed 2.3 million signatures, as Christians vent their outrage against the film.
Launched just three weeks ago, the change.org online petition to “ban the Christmas movie” titled The First Temptation of Christ has steadily accumulated support, largely in Brazil, where the film was created. Similar petitions have been launched in other languages.
The 46-minute Christmas special portrays a thirty-something Jesus bringing home his boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph. The Portuguese-language film, which debuted worldwide on Netflix earlier this month, comes from the Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos (literally, “Back Door”).
The online petition asks that the show be removed from the Netflix catalog and for Porta dos Fundos to be held responsible for ridiculing the Christian faith.
The petition also calls for a public retraction by Netflix, since the company has “seriously offended Christians.”
Netflix has faced growing opposition to the film, with figures such as the Catholic bishop of Tyler, Texas, denouncing the show as blasphemous.
“Respect is the last thing they are thinking about, every Christian should denounce this film, it is blasphemy against the Son of God who suffered & died even for all who deny that He is Lord of the Universe,” said Bishop Joseph Strickland in a tweet. “His prayer for them…. ‘Father forgive them they know not what they do.’”
“Just cancelled Netflix,” the bishop tweeted a little later. “Hardly have time to watch it anyway but blasphemers don’t deserve a penny of support!”
Graham Allen, the host of the popular “Dear America Podcast,” similarly condemned the film, arguing that “Jesus isn’t some ‘woke’ culture experiment for you to convince young people that biblical teachings are ‘debatable’?!”
The Brazilian Catholic bishops conference released its own statement condemning the show, saying that the Christmas special “profoundly assault[s] the Christian faith.”
“Ridiculing the belief of a group, whatever it may be, in addition to constituting an offense under criminal law, means disrespecting all people, damaging the quest for an effectively democratic society that values all its citizens,” the bishops said in a statement earlier this month.
“Nothing allows anyone the right to vilify people’s deeply held beliefs,” the bishops said. “The right to freedom of expression does not nullify respect for people and their values.”