The First Temptation of Christ has been banned in Brazil for its depiction of a gay Jesus
A judge in Brazil has ordered Netflix to remove a controversial parody film that features an apparently gay Jesus from its platform.
According to Sky News, Judge Benedicto Abicair ruled that the banning of The First Temptation of Christ “is beneficial not only to the Christian community, but to Brazilian society which is mostly Christian”.
The 46-minute short comedy film so outraged Christians and conservatives in Brazil that the Rio de Janeiro offices of Porta dos Fundos, the comedy troupe that made it, was firebombed on 24 December. Thankfully no-one was hurt in the attack.
The BBC reported that Judge Abicair stated in his ruling that “The right to freedom of expression… is not absolute” and “Exhibiting the ‘artistic production’… may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension.”
The ruling is a temporary injunction pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Catholic association Don Bosco Center for Faith and Culture.
The organisation last year launched a petition, which was signed by more than 2 million people, demanding that the film be banned.
The Netflix special sees Jesus returning home to Mary (who smokes marijuana) and Joseph for his 30th birthday. He brings with him a young gay man named Orlando, and it’s implied that the two are romantically involved.
Porta dos Fundos, which won an International Emmy for its similarly Jesus-themed 2018 Christmas special, The Last Hangover, has yet to comment on the court ruling.
The controversy over the film comes as LGBTQ Brazilians face an increasingly conservative environment, fueled by homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro. He has equated homosexuality to paedophilia, said he’d rather his son be dead than gay, and told gay tourists to stay away from Brazil because “we have families.”
In September, an attempt by the mayor of Rio De Janeiro to ban an Avengers comic book featuring a gay kiss was thwarted by the Supreme Federal Court.
While LGBTQ Brazilians have many rights, including marriage equality and the right to adopt, the country has the world’s highest LGBTQ murder rate, with 420 LGBTQ people killed in 2018, according to the organisation Grupo Gay da Bahia.