Church depicts Jesus as genderqueer with breasts, a beard and make-up so ‘everyone sees themselves in Christ’
The national church of Iceland has apologised for circulating a children’s Sunday school advertisement that depicted Jesus Christ as genderqueer.
The cartoon poster from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland shows a rosy-cheeked Christ with breasts, beard and make-up jumping in front of a rainbow.
It first appeared on the church’s Facebook page on 11 September and was displayed on public buses in the capital city of Reykjavík, but will soon be removed after it was met with considerable backlash.
The Church said in a statement: “The 2020 Assembly of the National Church regrets that the picture of Jesus in a Sunday school advertisement has hurt people. The goal was to emphasise diversity, not to hurt people or shock them.”
Petur Georg Markan, a media representative for the Church of Iceland, explained the need for the church to share various forms of Jesus to endorse diversity.
“In this one, we see a Jesus who has breasts and a beard. We’re trying to embrace society as it is. We have all sorts of people and we need to train ourselves to talk about Jesus as being ‘all sorts’ in this context,” Markan told the Daily Mail.
“Especially because it’s really important that each and every person see themselves in Jesus and that we don’t stagnate too much. That’s the essential message. So this is OK. It’s OK that Jesus has a beard and breasts.”
Grafarvogskirkja church minister Guorun Karls-og Helgudottir echoed Markan’s sentiments, suggesting the picture was open to interpretation.
“Each person interprets something in this picture,” she said. “Some people interpret it as a trans Jesus, others as a woman. Some see Mary with a beard, and others see a genderqueer person. Views within the church are just as diverse as elsewhere.”
The same artist who created the genderqueer Jesus is set to work on a new marketing campaign for the church with many more different “personifications” of Christ, including one where he makes a contribution to environmental issues.