@salustiano.co / Instagram

Christians in Spain spoke out against a recently revealed poster featuring Jesus Christ for being too “effeminate” and “sexualized.” The poster, revealed in Seville to promote Easter week, was designed by local artist Salustiano Garcia and was commissioned by the Council of Brotherhoods and Guilds. The poster is meant to display Jesus, with bright red lips, after his resurrection as he stands nearly naked, a white cloth loosely hanging around his slightly akimbo hips. The Council stated the poster was meant to show “the radiant side of Holy Week.”

The poster’s reveal, however, caused quite the stir amongst conservative Christian groups, particularly Catholics. Pablo Hertfelder Garcia-Conde, president of the Instituto de Politica Social (Institute of Social Policy in English or IPSE) called the poster an “aberration.” Translated from Spanish, Garcia-Conde said, “This poster is an aberration, breaking with the true meaning of Holy Week, and the artist has consciously done so.” He stated the poster portrayed Jesus as “effeminate” and “camp.” In a separate post, the IPSE called for the poster to be withdrawn completely. Javier Navarro of Spain’s conservative Vox Party rebutted claims that the poster was “artistic.” “It is not about artistic tastes, it is about the poster fulfilling the purpose for which it is intended and it is none other than encouraging the devout participation of the faithful in Holy Week in Seville,” he wrote on X. “It is evident that this poster was seeking provocation and the Council has allowed it.”

The poster’s creator, however, pushed back against criticism. “There is nothing revolutionary in the painting. There is contemporaneity, but all the elements that I have used are elements that have been used in the last seven centuries in sacred art. I don’t see at what point, at what element, people who don’t like it don’t like it,” he said. He also denied claims of the poster being “homoerotic.” “A gay Christ because he looks sweet and is handsome, come on! We are in the 21st century.” He also called people who claimed the poster to be sexualized as “sick.” He stated he used his son as a model for the painting. “We both laughed when we discovered this controversy and we are very surprised by the politicization of the painting,” he said. The Socialists, the leading power in Spain, called criticisms against the painting “homophobic.”

Speaking in an interview, Garcia-Conde called the poster a result of a “progressive culture.” He claimed that a progressive culture wants to break “tradition and means of communication by breaking society’s structures, however not for the good but in order to change our values and ideas.”  He called it a “progressive ideology, but not one of progress, but of idiocy.” A petition to remove the poster on change.org had garnered over 20,000 signatures.

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