Philippine drag queen faces backlash for Jesus act

Christian groups in the Philippines have brought criminal complaints against a drag queen who dressed as Jesus Christ and performed a rock rendition of the Lord’s Prayer.

The complaints lodged with prosecutors accuse the performer, 33-year-old Pura Luka Vega, of “desecrating their religious faith and patron”.

A video of a bearded Luka performing the verse in Filipino went viral last month, causing an uproar.

Luka defended their performance as art.

They have performed as Jesus before but their latest performance drew attention after Luka shared a video of it on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It angered the deeply religious country, where some church leaders and lawmakers have called the performance “blasphemous”.

At the end of July, the Philippines for Jesus Movement, comprising Protestant church leaders, registered the first criminal complaint with the Manila Prosecutor’s Office.

They accused Luka of violating Article 201 of the country’s penal code – which penalises obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows.

A second complaint was filed this week by a Catholic group Nazarene Brotherhood. Prosecutors are yet to say if they will launch a case.

Philippines, a former Spanish colony, is predominantly Roman Catholic – nearly 80% of the country identifies as such, according to the most recent poll in February.

Days after the video went viral, many cities, including the capital Manila, made Luka “persona non grata”, a symbolic move declaring them no longer welcome in the city.

While it does not actually prevent Luka from entering these cities, it has cost them work, with some clubs cancelling scheduled shows. Drag queens like Luka mostly earn a living by performing in clubs.

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