A drag queen in the Philippines could face up to 12 years in prison after their rock version of the Lord’s Prayer triggered outrage.
33 year old Amadeus Fernando Pagente, who performs under the name Pura Luka Vega, was arrested under the country’s strict obscenity laws. He’s been charged with “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows."
A video showing him dressed as Jesus Christ at a Pride event in the capital Manila in June, has now been deleted. But complaints were made by a group of Protestant church leaders known as the Philippines for Jesus Movement as well as the Catholic group, Nazarene Brotherhood.
Around 80 per cent of people in the Philippines are Roman Catholic. Speaking to local media, Father Jerome Secillano, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said:
"The religious elements or sacred elements of religion are not used for secular purposes. We saw in the dancing, merrymaking, performance, the people were screaming and taking videos.
'It's bordering on profanity also and even blasphemous, sacrilegious. That is the prayer taught by Christ himself, so it should not be used lightly in dancing or entertaining people.
'Freedom of expression is not absolute. If you're adversely affecting the other party, then you should tone down yourself.'
Pagente has apologised for offending people but said it was a kind of healing for him :
"I feel like they want me to apologise, but I apologise if it made them uncomfortable, but I really did that performance as a way for me to kind of heal the exclusion I have experienced as a Catholic, as a queer person being made to feel that I don't really belong. I understand that people call my performance blasphemous, offensive or regrettable. However, they shouldn't tell me how I practice my faith or how I do my drag. That performance was not for you to begin with. It is my experience and my expression, of having been denied my rights."