Guess who's coming to dinner, Mary and Joseph.
In a new Netflix Christmas special — A Primeira Tentação de Cristo, or The First Temptation of Christ — Jesus (Gregory Duvivier) is bringing home a male lover (Fábio Porchat) to meet the parents during the holiday season.
The Portuguese-language satire — created by the Brazilian troupe Porta dos Fundos, which is known for producing irreverent comedy — sparks horror among the holy couple, as well as the Three Wise Men, God, and other figures from Biblical times. However, hundreds of thousands in current times have also taken offense to the depiction of Christ as queer.
Coalizão pelo Evangelho, or the Coalition of the Gospel, an umbrella organization of dozens of churches in Brazil, has led the charge in slamming the film through several articles on its website. Joel Theodoro, pastor of the Bairro Imperial Presbyterian Church in Rio de Janeiro, a member of the coalition, wrote one of these commentaries detailing how the "humiliation to the Lord" led to his canceling his subscription to Netflix.
In the commentary, Theodoro compared the production to a modern-day crucifixion of Christ, equivalent to "slapping him, spitting on him, beating his head to bury his crown thorns, mocking him, forcing him to walk naked in the streets," etc.
Theodoro is not alone in his call for a ban. At the time of this article's publication, over 700,000 have signed a Change.org petition demanding Netflix remove the special "for seriously offending Christians."
Other public figures in Brazil have decried the film and Porta dos Fundos (translation: Backdoor). In a Friday Facebook post, actor Carlos Vereza called the group "pitiful" for creating "trash-refuse-porn movies."
Marco Feliciano, the anti-LGBTQ federal deputy representative of São Paulo, had previously sued Porta dos Fundos for their satires. In a Friday tweet, he bemoaned how the courts had prevented a ban of its productions due to "freedom of expression," and he called for "joint action by the churches and good people to stop" the group.
Brazil has over 120 million people who identify as Catholics, making it the country with the world's largest Catholic community. Additionally, the presidential election of Jair Bolsonaro — the far-right politician who infamously said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son — has sparked a wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment and legislation in the South American country since his rise to power.