A class project depicting Jesus Christ as gay has hit a nerve in Stephenville, Texas.
Tarleton State University is adding security for expected demonstrations Saturday when students perform the production, called “Corpus Christi.”
The play, by Terrence McNally, opened in New York in the 1990s, and student John Jordan Otte chose the script for his advanced directing class.
Otte said he understood that the play would likely create controversy, but he never imagined this level of anxiety.
He said he wants to convey the turmoil that gay Christians sometimes experience and create a sense of acceptance, tolerance and unconditional love.
The play, which has stirred controversy on campus and in the community, features the Jesus character named Joshua kissing Judas during their prom at Pontius Pilate High School and performing a same-sex marriage for two of his disciples.
Some who identify themselves as conservative Christians said they were particularly incensed that the play would be performed this Saturday — the day before Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most solemn and sacred of Christian celebrations.
Only the invited family members of students in the advanced directing class will be allowed to attend the play. Original plans called for the performance to be open to the public.