C of E punctures 'blasphemous' plan to stage mock crucifixions

C of E punctures 'blasphemous' plan to stage mock crucifixions April 6, 2017

For a mere £750.00, Christian masochists could have bought themselves a place on a cross to enjoy ‘the full crucifixion experience‘ offered by the organisers of the Manchester Passion play, due to take place on Friday.
But, thanks to Church of England killjoys, who thought the idea was both unsafe and “blasphemous”, those relishing the idea of being tied – not nailed – to a cross have been deprived of the opportunity to hang about in public in their Andrew Christians.
“The full crucifixion experience”,  posted on the Manchester Passion 2017 Crowdfunder site, was removed after members of the play’s organising committee, which includes C of E clergy, decided the offer was both daft and dangerous.
Reverend Falak Sher, a canon at Manchester Cathedral and chairman of the organising committee, said he vetoed the idea when it came to light.

When I saw it I did not like it, I thought it was disgraceful. The whole message of the cross is hope and love. When I saw this I was not very happy and asked the committee to take this one down.
We didn’t like promoting the event in this way for £750. I thought it was not a very positive message when dealing with a message of love and hope.

Alexander Stewart-Clark, a volunteer who serves as a managing trustee of the Passion Trust, which helps groups organise passion plays, said he took full responsibility for what he described as an insensitive idea.
Stewart-Clark, who runs a business importing timber, said that the event had grown since it was first conceived to include a cast of 120, and 80 stewards.

The whole thing just got bigger and bigger and, of course, with that comes the infrastructure cost.
Instead of being a £20,000 play it became a £55,000 play and the burden on raising money then falls on us. We were trying to think up some ideas, just bouncing around what would be good, and someone came up with the idea of letting people be crucified for £750.

He said that he did not think the idea was blasphemous, but that it was on “the grey line” and “tasteless”.

You have clergy wanting to play it safe and businessmen like me trying to raise the funding. There was a difference of opinion and what was a small disagreement has got out of all proportion.

Stewart-Clark said that his timber is used to make the mock crucifixes, which have a pedestal for people to stand on and pieces of rope on either side of the cross bar to hold on to. He said that he had never known anyone to fall off such a cross.
Had the plan gone ahead the mock crucifixions would have taken place on Friday, while the stage for the performance was being built.
He added:

If people had wanted to do it they would have been hoisted up there for a couple of minutes. It was just a sort of gimmick, but it was tasteless.

If you are put up on a cross it is not to take the place of Jesus or God. It is to empathise with him because it’s not very comfortable and it’s a public disgrace. A crucifixion is a humiliating public execution.
The committee has so far raised about £45,000 to stage the play and is aiming to raise another £5,000. Stewart-Clark said there were plenty of other bad fundraising ideas that were scrapped, including charging people a fee to sit next to the bishop to watch the play.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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  • John

    Well, there’s a fund-raising idea for Manchester secularists!
    Especially now the competition has bowed out.
    If people want to pay good cash for such an experience, who are we to tell them not to do it?

  • Daz

    “The whole message of the cross is hope and love.”

    And here was me thinking the whole message of the cross was “Do not piss off the Romans; they will nail you to a plank and leave you to die in agony.” Although these days it would probably be renamed “Enhanced mortalification methodology.”

  • StephenJP

    Maybe they could extend this to the Stephen Experience: “For only £500 you can get completely stoned!”

  • Daz

    Got it. There was a tiny little file-clerk sitting at the back of my brain, trying to locate a dimly-remembered connection between “Alexander,” “crucifixion” and “mockery.” Well it ain’t quite Alexander, but here it is anyway: the Alexamenos graffito.

  • Paul

    Daz you beat me to it about the message of love and hope thing. I can’t get my head around how mentally ill people contort their minds to see something that non mentally ill people such as ourselves see as an implement of execution: there is no hope and no love. It’s utterly ridiculous to import a loving meaning to a method of execution. And I’m giving licence that that even occurred.

  • Angela_K

    Yes, it’s that time of year when religious extremists are spoiling the countryside by erecting old bits of telegraph pole on various hills around the country.Reminds me of dogs pissing on lamp-posts to mark their territory.
    If any Christians loonies are interested I’ll nail you up for free, I’ll even supply the nails.

  • RussellW

    “the full crucifixion experience”?
    I don’t think so.
    It’s strange how a gruesome instrument of execution became an ikon of Christianity. The early Christians didn’t use a cross as a symbol of their faith. The Roman historian was correct, Christianity is indeed a ‘peculiar superstition’.

  • Robster

    I an offer of respect to the more secular side of the Zombie Jesus “celebrations”, why not get the rabbit and chocky eggs involved too? They could, perhaps half dip the takers in chocolate, wrap them in foil and then hide them, for a fee.Why not dust off a couple of those silly bishops, arm the kiddies with solid chock eggs for a fee and then use an unwanted bishop as a target? The kids accurately egging the bish get to keep both the bishop and the eggs. What kid wouldn’t want their very own bishop to play with over the Zombie Jesus period?

  • barriejohn

    I can’t believe that these prelates believe that we still have blasphemy laws in this country. Maybe someone should enlighten them.
    Early Christians used a fish as their emblem, not a cross. The cross was not widely used until the 4th Century.
    Incidentally, there has been some controversy in the Daily Mail recently over the prevalence of beards in Palestine at the time of Jesus, and someone by the name of Ralph Ellis wrote in with his little picture of King Jesus-Izas-Arthur-Conan-Noddy-Superman (you know the one: son of Cleopatra, grandson of Victoria, great-grandson of Helen of Troy, etc), just to put everyone right. Well, it made me laugh.

  • Paul

    But the DJ who played call to prayer is going to prison.
    Peace and tolerance with Islam. Lucky he’s out of the country already, so it’s just the carrying out of the murder now then, as the death threats won’t be retracted.

  • John

    The DJ managed to get out of the country – Tunisia – before the sentence of a year in jail was passed.
    Any guesses as to whether or not he will be working there or vacationing there any time in the future?

  • David Anderson

    “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” – John Adams.

  • Brian Jordan

    Maybe they withdrew the offer when they realised they would have had to make it open to women.

  • remigius

    “Well, it made me laugh.”
    Well it didn’t make me laugh, barriejohn – it make me cry.
    I was really enjoying the ‘Warrior King’ thread, ’til someone broke it. It’s not often we get our very own tame crackpot on this site – especially one with an international reputation for crackpottery.
    We should make the most of these gifts that Jesus/King Arthur/Dan Dare ~ Pilot of the Future sends us.

  • remigius

    In my ignorance I used to believe that the word ‘passion’ was used in the sense of ‘suffering’ – from the Latin passus, past participle of pati to suffer.
    I now realise it is used in the sense of ‘sexual excitement’. Were these perverts really prepared to spend £750 to indulge their masochistic/exhibitionist erotic fantasies?

  • Laura Roberts

    Has all the makings of a successful Christian reality TV show. I see spin-offs, too: Christians could honor their favorite martyrs via damnatio ad bestias on live TV.
    They sure do love them some human suffering…

  • sailor1031

    Doesn’t seem like much of an experience just being Jesus of Manchester for two minutes with no scourging or nails and what have you. For a better more tasteful true christian experience try the Phillippines at Easter where one can take part in floggings (real ones) and crucifixions (with real nails) to the heart’s content.

  • gedediah

    While we’re thinking of money raising schemes, zombie Jesus action figure anyone? What should it do when you pull the cord on its back? Give up the ghost? Soil its loin cloth?

  • remigius

    gedediah. It should say – ‘The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.’
    ‘I’m not the Messiah – I’m a very naughty boy.’

  • CoastalMaineBird

    just being Jesus of Manchester for two minutes with no scourging or nails
    Hey, for an extra fifty, Mary Magdalene will come and “anoint” you, the sun will go dark and the curtain will rip.
    Act before midnight tomorrow and you also get – two thousand years of people fighting over you.

  • barriejohn

    I’ve just received an email saying: “Free Easter Eggs from Cadbury”. How DARE they ram religion down our throats like this? I don’t celebrate Easter, and I never asked for details of their pathetic competition, and what on earth has chocolate got to do with it in any case? This is, as far as I am concerned, the Vernal Equinox Holiday, and I am contacting my MP, writing to the local press (angry face and pointing finger at the ready) and starting one of those petition thingies to get this debated in Parliament. Who’s with me? Enough is enough!

  • remigius

    “Who’s with me? Enough is enough!”
    Whoa! Hold your horses there, barriejohn. Have you considered that the word ‘Free’ might be being used in the sense of ‘liberate’ rather than ‘offered without expectation of payment’?
    I remember my disappointment many years ago when I signed up for a ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, and I never got one. My MP thought I was wasting his time.
    I have since learned to appreciate the subtle difference.

  • sailor1031

    “…and what on earth has chocolate got to do with it in any case?” Everything! The Easter Bunny loves chocolate. Maybe that’s why the tomb was empty – the late JC had gone searching for hidden chocolate eggs.

  • barriejohn

    Remigius: That may have been a narrow escape. You’d have got Winnie Mandela as well!
    Sailor: Shouldn’t that be the Easter Beagle?

  • remigius

    “Shouldn’t that be the Easter Beagle?”
    I don’t think Darwin ever went to Rapa Nui. Though an Easter Beagle does sound interesting – more so than the rather uninspired confections Cadbury foist upon us every year.

  • barriejohn

    Looks more like an Easter Bounty to me.

  • remigius

    You are quite correct, barriejohn. The Beagle was a two-master (brig-sloop), while the Bounty was a three-master. I don’t like coconut, though, but chocolate covered breadfruit would be OK.

  • sailor1031

    Barriejohn: I thought chocolate was supposed to be toxic to beagles (and other dogs)

  • remigius

    Chocolate toxic to beagles! No wonder Colin Pillinger had a problem when he introduced his to Mars.

  • barriejohn

    I should cocoa; the Easter Beagle merely distributes the eggs to all the little children in time-honoured tradition. He doesn’t eat them himself! (St Bark 18:22)