Gay Jesus Play Canned at Texas School

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A college play that depicted Jesus Christ as a gay man was canceled after school officials received a barrage of "vile, hateful" emails and messages, a university spokeswoman said.

According to a report by CBS station KTVT, the situation began with a theater class assignment at Tarleton State University. In "Corpus Christi," Jesus is depicted as a gay man who presides over the marriage of two male disciples.

But David Harris, pastor of the Hillcrest Church of Christ, rallied his congregation to derail the production and handed out phone numbers and email addresses of school officials.

"We are told in our bibles that we are to contend for the faith - that means fight. We were just as determined in our efforts not to let it happen as they were to let it happen," said Harris.

Harris insisted his opposition was not rooted in play's gay theme.

"This has never been a battle between the homosexuals and the Christians," Harris said. "This has been a battle about the defamation of the name of Jesus Christ and I don't care if it had been a tobacco-chewing cowboy, I would've fought just as hard."

John Otte, the student director of the production hoped the play would serve as a lesson for tolerance.

"I'm not angry with anyone, it just saddens me that they would go this far," Otte told KTVT in an email. "I understand their belief and their anger, but not the violence threatened."

University spokeswoman Liza Benedict said the messages didn't contain any specific threats, but had an unmistakably angry tone.

"We didn't have specific threats of violence, but we had hundreds of vile, hateful emails and phone calls that got increasingly volatile as the week went on," she said. "We had enough hate spewed our way from Christian believers that the professor took that into consideration."

Harris said he neither suggested nor condoned the tone of the messages.

Otte hopes to stage the play at some point off-campus, though Harris said his opposition will continue.

Watch KTVT report:

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