The lyrics of Jesus
Christ Superstar were written 30 years ago by Tim Rice with Andrew Lloyd
Webber being responsible for the music. Despite an initial flop on Broadway,
this “Rock Opera” became a box office hit and has lost none of its ability to
draw crowds, religious and secular alike.
Basically it portrays the last few days of Jesus Christ
before He went to the cross. He is not viewed through the eyes of any of the
gospel writers, but through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. This does not augur
well. Satan entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3) and it is
evident that the opera has a Satanic impute. Among the blasphemies is the
infamous line where Christ says the Last Supper “I must be mad thinking I’ll be
remembered – yes I must be out of my head”. Elsewhere it is highly insinuated
that Christ had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene.
Superstar came to Cork Opera House last week. It was felt that a voice needed
to be raised against this blasphemy and subsequently we wrote a few letters. Three
to be precise. One was sent to the directors of the Opera House, which will be
discussed at the next board meeting. The two others were sent to the Letters
Page of the local daily newspapers.
It was here that the ball really got rolling. The
newspapers elevated the issue to article status, with one of the papers making
it a front headline. “Blasphemy,” it read, with the sub headline, “Paisley’s church group to picket Opera House show”.
The local radio station was next to join in and I had
a very stormy session with the interviewer and some folk who rang in. The
interviewer used a slightly adapted version of the “F” word in association with
the Lord Jesus. I rebuked him live on air as a blasphemer and told him that
his mouth was an open sepulchre and the poison of asps was under his lips
On two occasions, people who rang in told me to “go
back” meaning that since I was born outside the Irish Republic, I should return
to where I came from, although one caller (from Belfast like myself) said that
I should return to England (?!) I challenged the legality of these comments on
the second occasion since such language is legally considered racist. Only
then did the interviewer step in to end to such language. I was on my feet at
the telephone for well over an hour with only a five-minute break for the news
report. The commercial breaks were very long with a 5-6 adverts and so I was
actually on air for around 30 minutes.
‘Get a Life’
The interviewer bellowed at me to “Get a life” and
suggested that people like me i.e. evangelical Christians should keep to our
chapels and meeting halls. Elements here of the “keep your head down and mouth
shut” mentality for non-Romanists which has dogged this state in past times. I
was thinking afterwards that this suggestion was a bit rich since they asked me
to appear on their programme. I was asked had I seen the production. I
hadn’t, although I downloaded the entire script from the internet and studied
it. This was constantly dismissed as irrelevant. Truly, the gospel was
preached here with much contention (1 Thessalonians 2:2). We had an
uninterrupted opportunity to quote John 3:16 applying the word “whosoever” to
mean “all men, whether Protestant or Catholic, Jew or Gentile, Hindu or
whatever, etc”. We had another radio interview on the University Campus Radio,
which, although short, was at least civil.
I was very glad and thankful for the support of
another fundamentalist church in the area. Sixteen of us stood together
outside the Opera House on the night of the official launch of the show with
appropriate posters displaying our objections and also who the real Jesus
Christ is i.e. Coming King of Kings!
‘No objections at all’
A small RC group saying the rosary also turned up,
although the local RC diocese were reported in the Cork Echo as saying
that they had no objections to the play at all. Those who look to Rome to defend the Lord Jesus will surely look in vain.
A couple of leaflets were produced, dealing both with
the blasphemies of the opera and a more direct gospel one. At the end of the
time of protest, we sang a hymn: “I serve a risen Saviour” – highlighting the
deliberate omission of this most fundamental gospel truth from the show.
It was good to take a public stand for the Lord Jesus
and even to bear His reproach. I believe that such will serve to strengthen
the people of God perhaps for greater battles still ahead.