21 September 2001
Respect For Religion Continues To Decline In New Zealand
Party Leader Graham Capill said today that he is concerned about the number of plays and exhibitions being staged in New
Zealand that show a lack of respect for the Christian faith.
“It is now fashionable to target the Christian faith and hold it up to public ridicule in much the same way the Roman
Empire did at the time of Christ,” Mr Capill said.
His comments were made following revelations that a group called ‘Torture by Roses’ is to perform ‘Sebastian/Salome’ in
Wellington on Saturday night 22 September. They themselves describe the performance as ‘an exploration of passion,
sensuality, homo-eroticism and gender roles within religious iconography’.
“The sole purpose of this play is to subvert and homo-eroticise Christian figures, with explicit descriptions of St
Sebastian being ‘penetrated’ by Christ and a strong emphasis on explicitly depicting Jesus in homosexual acts. Such
material should never see the light of day and again highlights the need for prior censorship on live theatre and
“The performance, as I understand it, will display explicit homosexual and lesbian sex scenes, sado-masochism, and
depictions of ritual sacrifice, all involving Biblical figures. In a country that prides itself on religious tolerance,
it is imperative that there is respect for one another’s religious choices. This play is totally unsuitable for public
or private exhibition, and given it is aimed at young audiences, makes it doubly deplorable.
“Christian Heritage calls on the management at the Indigo Bar in Wellington to recognise the grossly offensive nature of
the content and withdraw the programme. Furthermore, we call on the government to amend the Film, Video & Publication Act to include live stage – exhibitions for classification, “ Mr Capill concluded.
The Party intends to lodge a formal complaint with the Police if the performance goes ahead.