'The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision' ads rejected by Facebook, art book offends depicting Jesus as a homosexual

Cover of "The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision" | Facebook/GayPassion

Since its publication in 2014, the art book "The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision" has received criticisms and praise. It has also met some challenges when it comes to advertising on social media platform Facebook.

In an article published on the Huffington Post on March 25, the book's author Kittredge Cherry wrote: "The obstacles that [Douglas Blanchard, artist] and I faced when we tried to buy Facebook ads raise questions of broader importance. Do words such as 'gay' and 'LGBT' automatically trigger suspicion, scrutiny and screening? What is the impact on our freedom of expression when we can't even pay to communicate queer ideas?"

Cherry said that the most common reasons they were given for the rejections are "too violent" and "too sexy." Although the artwork does not show explicit violence or pornography, it features Jesus as a gay man in a modern setting. It centers on his last days as depicted in the Stations of the Cross, from his arrest to his resurrection, and it also features his disciples as people from different racial backgrounds, ages, and physical well-being.

"What's interesting," said The Gay & Lesbian Review in January 2015, "is that in most of the book's illustrations it's not all that obvious that the central figure is even 'gay' ... But then there's that pesky subtitle, 'A Gay Vision,' a juxtaposition that some people might complain about, which is clearly what Facebook was afraid of. Thus it's not the visual images but the idea of Jesus as a gay man that's being suppressed."

During the Holy Week, the book's Facebook page and Jesus in Love blog featured snippets each day. The "Gay Passion of Christ" series started with "Jesus with the prophets" and "Jesus Enters the City on Palm Sunday," then went on with the trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection.

Cherry, a lesbian Christan author and art historian, calls "The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision" a religious art book presented in an LGBT point of view. She said that thus far, four Facebook ads were approved on appeal but two have not made the cut.