Church protests ‘blasphemous’ play
SINGING hymns and handing out leaflets, a barmy bunch of Free Presbyterian Church this week tried to persuade people who had flocked to see The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) that the show was “blasphemous” and ought never to have been staged.
Indeed, the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s take on the Bible almost didn’t make it to the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey. Members of Newtownabbey council’s artistic board pulled it following complaints from the DUP.
But following an outcry over this ridiculous act of censorship, the board decided to reverse its ban – a decision ratified by the full council.
This infuriated the Rev Brian McClung (inset, above) of the Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church and administrator of Newtownabbey Independent Christian School, who handed over a letter of protest to Newtownabbey Borough Council, and declared:
Primarily we are here tonight to stand up for the honour of God’s word. We believe this play mocks the word of God.
We are offended because people are mocking the scriptures and we are here to show our offense. Supposedly the council and society is to have regard for minorities, but they don’t seem to have much regard for evangelical Christians when it comes to things like this.
On Wednesday, the first night of the two-night sold-out show, not a single protester was present. The group explained this was because the opening clashed with their weekly church meeting.
McClung described it as “perverse human nature” that the play had sold so many tickets since opposition was raised.
Audience member Glenn Mayes said it would have set a dangerous precedent if the DUP had been allowed to tell the public what they could and couldn’t watch. He growled:
If I want to come see it, I’ll come see it.
In 2011, McClung banded together a posse of Free Presbyterians to protest against the 40th anniversary performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
Wrote McClung on his Sound of An Alarm blog:
Around 400 specially prepared leaflets highlighting the slanderous attack upon the person and work of Jesus Christ contained in this ‘rock opera’, were distributed to people attending the final day’s performance.
After the leaflets were distributed a short service was held following the protest. After the singing of the hymn: I am not ashamed to own my Lord or to defend His cause, Rev David McLaughlin (Carryduff FPC) led in prayer.
I then spoke on John 5:22,23: For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Hat Tip: BarrieJohn