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HomeNewsSydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher deeply disappointed about The Project's lewd Jesus joke

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher deeply disappointed about The Project’s lewd Jesus joke

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One of Australia’s leading Catholic figures has invited panelists and contributors from The Project to attend his church to “better understand” Christian beliefs in the wake of a lewd Jesus joke that went viral.

Opposition to the primetime Channel 10 program is growing after queer comedian Reuben Kaye made an X-rated joke about the crucifixion of Jesus when he was a guest on Tuesday night.

He spoke of the hatred he receives from members of the public – and Christians in particular – for being gay and wearing drag, then joked, “I love Jesus. I love any man who can get nailed three days in a row and come back for more!”

The shocking joke drew laughter from several panelists, including host Sarah Harris.

She and co-presenter Waleed Aly issued a fawning apology the following evening, which has done little to quell growing calls to cancel the programme.

The Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has expressed deep disappointment at the ‘inappropriate’ mockery of Christian beliefs, writing to Channel 10 owners Paramount ANZ.

Public backlash against The Project continues. The photo shows host Sarah Harris laughing at the lewd Jesus joke that aired Tuesday

“Many of us are saddened and dismayed by the shocking comments about the crucifixion of Jesus that aired on The Project earlier this week,” he told parishioners on Friday.

“It is unbelievable that a mainstream television program mocks the beliefs of more than half of all Australians.

“In this season of Lent let us continue to atone for these all-too-common acts of blasphemy, and pray that the eyes of the ignorant will be opened to the life Christ offers us.”

Archbishop Fisher also shared a copy of the scathing letter he sent inviting Paramount ANZ executives, staffers and panelists from The Project to attend his Easter services next month at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral.

“During prime time, the guest used the crucifixion of Jesus as a source of ridicule and scorn. Presented as a “joke,” the crude remark was sexual in nature and highly inappropriate,” Archbishop Fisher wrote.

Disturbingly, the insult not only went unchallenged, but was even endorsed by members of the panel to loud laughter.

“For a ‘news and current affairs’ program to so blatantly mock the beliefs of more than half of all Australians is extremely disturbing and utterly unbelievable.”

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher (pictured) has written a scathing letter to Channel 10 and owners Paramount ANZ to express his sadness and deep disappointment with the segment

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher (pictured) has written a scathing letter to Channel 10 and owners Paramount ANZ to express his sadness and deep disappointment with the segment

He added that the hosts’ apologies came across as “forced and insincere.”

“One gets the impression that the panelists are oblivious or indifferent to the pain they have inflicted not only on Christians, but on believers across the country,” Archbishop Fisher wrote.

“In addition, the apology has not been posted on The Project’s Facebook page, but the video clip containing the offensive comments is still available to view.”

“It is clear to anyone who watched the Project on Tuesday night that those who hold traditional Christian beliefs are treated with such contempt by many in the media.”

Archbishop Fisher ended the letter inviting network and program staff to attend the service on Good Friday or Easter Sunday to “fully experience the reverence Christians have for Jesus Christ.”

“Perhaps members of The Project have little understanding of Easter and why attacks on one of the most sacred symbols of our faith are so offensive,” he added.

The Lebanese Muslim Association also condemned the program.

“We call on everyone, and in particular public figures like Reuben Kaye who left the producers of Network Ten The Project red-faced, to respect each other and show tolerance regardless of their religious beliefs,” the organization wrote.

“As a civilized society, we call on the Australian Government to enshrine the sanctity of religion against such derogatory and blasphemous statements which serve only to belittle people’s beliefs, beliefs and principles.”

The backlash from Muslims and Christians has been brutal, forcing remorseful co-presenters Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a fawning apology on the air on Wednesday.

The backlash from Muslims and Christians has been brutal, forcing remorseful co-presenters Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a fawning apology on the air on Wednesday.

Muslim activists also staged a protest in Sydney’s Hyde Park on March 18.

Nearly 20,000 Australians have also signed a change.org petition lobbying for the abolition of The Project.

The response from Muslims and Christians to the controversial segment was swift and relentless, prompting Aly and Harris to apologize for the segment the next night.

“During an interview last night, our guest told a joke that we know deeply and needlessly offended many of you,” a remorseful Aly said.

“We want to acknowledge the specific insult that has been caused to our Muslim viewers, but especially our Christian viewers.

“Of course I understand how deep that transgression was.”

Harris, who burst out laughing after the joke, also joined in the fawning apology.

“Live TV is unpredictable and when this happened in the last few moments of last night’s show it took us all by surprise, there wasn’t much time to react in a considered way,” she said.

Channel 10 is under fire after queer comedian Reuben Kaye (pictured) made an X-rated joke about the crucifixion of Jesus on The Project

Channel 10 is under fire after queer comedian Reuben Kaye (pictured) made an X-rated joke about the crucifixion of Jesus on The Project

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