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ULSTERMAN OF THE PEOPLE: Would they ever leave a poor Superstar alone?

Byline: JASON JOHNSON

I HAD to laugh at the Free Presbyterians who stood angrily about - for the quadzillionith time - outside a showing of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Fair play to them for their spirited, endless, cold and miserable work. I'm sure God's delighted.

But the abuse doled to ordinary theatre goers at this amateur show was way out of line.

And I'll tell you why and all.

The Free Pees said the punters should be 'ashamed of themselves' as they entered Coleraine's Riverside Theatre.

Rev Alan Lamont backed that, saying: "This musical is not a true depiction of Jesus's life."

I'd like to ask him, if he's not too busy slating fellow Christian folk this Sunday, what is his problem?

Of course Jesus Christ Superstar is not true you big goat, it's a flamin' musical!

The King and I, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are a bit far from the God's honest too.

Now I'm not saying JCS is definitely, totally not true.

It could be a little true.

Lamont will disagree, but the Bible is heavy on drama but a bit light when it comes to evidence.

So there could well have been a day back then when folks gathered around the big 'J' man in spangly clothes and called him a superstar in Hebrew.

It's a perfectly reasonable thing to do - and a lot easier to believe than that water into wine business.

Rev Lamont is no more clued up on that than you or I.

But the facts of the matter are that good, decent Christians enjoy this musical as much as anyone else.

Unfortunately for this Free Pee brand of fundamentalist Christian, good Christians aren't fanatical enough.

You might think I'm casting stones at the Free Pees here, and that's true.

But I'll verbally brick any Holy Joe from any denomination who tries to castigate and ridicule ordinary decent people for making perfectly acceptable, legal choices about what they do with their free time.

The reality is, as Sunday rugby players know, that the self-righteous Free Pees do it an awful lot more than anyone else.

If blasphemy is truly Lamont's big problem then he should be protesting outside pubs, offices, shops, prisons, schools, television stations and even churches belonging to other religions.

He should be sticking it to the Muslims outside Mosques as often as possible.

Surely these are places where 'blasphemy' is endorsed every day?

Why, time and time again, pick on

dramatic societies and their innocent re-telling of a very popular musical about a man none of us know much about?

There's a typical inconsistency among the Free Pees which suggests they're only interested in easy targets.

Anyway, like them, I've never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, but I'm sure it exists.

Of course I can't be certain because I don't believe everything I'm told, but just in case it does I'll give it a plug.

It's at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, until January 31.

I hear it's brilliant - although I'm not entirely sure it's true.

Give Lamont my regards.

l ALL the signs are that Ulster's political parties are going to have to open their books in the near future.

Then we'll get to know from whatever sources the parties get their spondoolies.

Most interestingly, of course, we'll find out how much Sinn Fein makes from the IRA's ongoing campaign of cigarette robbery, diesel smuggling, various government funding rackets and whatever else it does to clothe its leaders.

Well, no. Scratch that.

For a Shinner quietly but firmly assures me the books are utterly squeaky clean and ready for inspection, and it has always been thus.

Amazing! At this rate these books should top the best sellers list next Christmas - as great works of fiction.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 18, 2004
Words:623
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