'Transgender Jesus' Dances in Front of Rainbow in Icelandic Church Ad

Iceland's national Christian church has sown the seeds of discord by publishing an advertisement for Sunday school featuring a 'transgender' imitation of Jesus skipping in front of a rainbow.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, also known as the National Church, posted the cartoon advert on social media last week, making it the new featured image at the top of their Facebook page.

The caricature depicts a Jesus-like figure with a beard, breasts, and rosy cheeks dancing with a rainbow with the background.

"Welcome to the Sunday School Church," the ad reads.

Church officials say they are attempting to attact more visitors by promoting a culture that 'embraces everyone,' Visir reports.

The picture has received mixed reviews in the small Nordic nation, where controversy can spread quickly.

While some have expressed their approval, others say they will be leaving the church, calling the message "tasteless," "particularly stupid," and a "shame."

Reactions on Facebook include -

  • "I just got hurt in my heart when I saw this terrible picture. What's going on in the religion of our nation?"
  • “The Church says that the picture reflects the nation, but that’s just not right. This just reflects the attitude of a tiny minority and brings joy to those who are not believers and use every opportunity to take the church down.”
  • "You priests and you bishop who are in charge of this have completely failed in your duty and will answer to God on the last day.”
  • "You priests and you bishop who are in charge of this have completely failed in your duty and will answer to God on the last day.”
  • "What a shame that a church that teaches Christ should degrade Him with such humiliation.”

Pétur G. Markan, the church's director of communications, defended the cartoon, saying it was just one selection from a larger set of promotional ads.

“In this one, we see a Jesus who has breasts and a beard,” Markan said. “We’re trying to embrace society as it is. We have all sorts of people and we need to train ourselves to talk about Jesus as being ‘all sorts’ in this context, especially because it’s really important that each and every person see themselves in Jesus and that we don’t stagnate too much.”

“That’s the essential message. So this is okay. It’s okay that Jesus has a beard and breasts.”

The National Church is led by Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir who became the first female to be elected Bishop of Iceland in 2012.

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(PHOTO: Kirkjan / Facebook)

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