An upcoming television series is drawing controversy from Christian groups, who are demanding a cancellation weeks before its first episode airs.
“Black Jesus” is set to debut Aug. 7 at 11 p.m. on Adult Swim, one of America’s top-rated cable networks.
The live-action comedy series, created by writer Aaron McGruder (“The Boondocks”), “finds Jesus living in present day Compton, California on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers,” according to a release from Adult Swim.
Once the show’s first official trailer, along with a tongue-in-cheek tweet from the network, hit the Internet on Friday, it didn’t take long for religious activists to cry foul.
On Monday, Illinois pastor David A. Rodgers wrote an open letter to Turner Broadcasting System, Adult Swim’s parent company, saying the Christian community is “vehemently opposed and violently offended” by the program. He also wrote, “The level of disrespect aimed at the depiction of our Lord and Savior is inexcusable.”
The letter urged supporters to boycott the network and their advertisers.
Similar protests began showing up on the petition website Change.org, including one posted by a group called Christian Network. The petition urges Adult Swim to cancel the “blasphemous” show, calling it “very offensive and racist.” As of Thursday, the petition had 2,617 supporters.
A post to the website PoliticusUSA.com on Thursday referred to some detractors of the show as “fake Christians.” Writer Hrafnkell Harldsson specifically mentioned Rodgers, predicting he “won’t get far with his protest.”
We reached out to Adult Swim for comment but hadn’t heard back as of this posting. The network reported record-high ratings in 2013; it debuted in 2001.
See the trailer for “Black Jesus” below:
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