The Catholic bishop of Tyler, Texas, has denounced Netflix as blasphemous over its release of a Christmas Special titled The First Temptation of Christ portraying Jesus as gay.
“Respect is the last thing they are thinking about, every Christian should denounce this film, it is blasphemy against the Son of God who suffered & died even for all who deny that He is Lord of the Universe,” said Bishop Joseph Strickland in a tweet Sunday. “His prayer for them…. ‘Father forgive them they know not what they do.’”
“Just cancelled Netflix,” the bishop tweeted a little later. “Hardly have time to watch it anyway but blasphemers don’t deserve a penny of support!”
Strickland also retweeted a message from the host of the popular “Dear America Podcast,” Graham Allen, who similarly condemned the film, arguing that “Jesus isn’t some ‘woke’ culture experiment for you to convince young people that biblical teachings are ‘debatable’?!”
Bishop Strickland is not alone in his outrage against Netflix over its Christmas special released in Brazil as A Primeira Tentaçao de Cristo, which shows Jesus Christ in a gay relationship and the Virgin Mary as a pot-smoker.
Last week, the Brazilian Catholic bishops conference released its own statement condemning the show, saying that “in the name of freedom of expression and artistic creativity, profoundly assault[s] the Christian faith.”
“Ridiculing the belief of a group, whatever it may be, in addition to constituting an offense under criminal law, means disrespecting all people, damaging the quest for an effectively democratic society that values all its citizens,” the bishops said in a December 12 statement.
While recognizing that we live in a pluralistic society and that not everyone has the same beliefs, the bishops called for respect of people’s beliefs as “an ethical and democratic requirement.
“Nothing allows anyone the right to vilify people’s deeply held beliefs,” the bishops said. “The right to freedom of expression does not nullify respect for people and their values.”
Over a million people around the world have already signed a petition demanding the removal of the offending Christmas special and calling for a boycott of the streaming giant.
Last summer, Netflix faced a similar boycott after announcing plans to stop filming in the state of Georgia because of the passage of anti-abortion “heartbeat” legislation.
Among others, the pro-life group Right to Life UK called for a boycott of Netflix after it said it would consider shunning Georgia over the bill.
Boycotts from offended people of faith come at a tough moment for Netflix, which is beginning to lose market share.
According to last week’s Needham Report, Netflix could lose as many as four million subscribers next year over streaming wars, as cheaper alternatives become available to viewers.
Analyst Laura Martin downgraded Netflix shares to “underperform” in the Tuesday report, saying that Netflix will have to offer a lower priced tier to compete with the likes of Disney+ and Apple TV+.