Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has been pulled before a performance in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don following complaints from Orthodox Christians. The believers claim the production is in breach of a controversial new religious offense law…. “In our view the image of Christ presented in the opera is incorrect. If they want to stage a play about the life of the Savior, they should first clear it with the local church authority,” one of the offended believers told Life News….
The religious offense law was drafted in the wake of performance group Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” in Moscow’s central cathedral earlier this year…. The bill calls for up to three years’ imprisonment for disrespecting religious sensibilities and is currently being discussed in the Duma.
The city’s administration has instructed the local theater to stop selling tickets for the production….
Despite the apparent success of the current attempts to ban the play, the local church does not actually appear to support the complaints….
Though the story says that the claim is that the production violates a new law, at this point it looks like the law is only under consideration (as the story itself acknowledges); the precise basis for the city’s order is thus not clear. The BBC reports that the play had been performed in Russia for decades. Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.