On June 28, the Russian newspaper Kommersant published an article written by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov titled, “On the law, rights and rules.” Kommersant described the article as being about “the principles of the world order and the inadmissibility of replacing international law with situational rules.”
Among other things, Lavrov wrote:
“The concept of ‘rules’ is also manifested in an attack not only on international law, but also on human nature itself. In schools in a number of Western countries, children are convinced as part of their curriculum that Jesus Christ was bisexual.”
Yes, that’s what he wrote. And it’s false.
As Lavrov gave no examples of which countries or schools allegedly have such a curriculum, journalists took up the search.
Initially, suspicion fell on a TikTok video. The video shows a mother in Australia talking to her 4-year-old son, who declares that Jesus was “bi and non-binary” (the latter is a gender identity that is neither male nor female).
The woman asks her son: “Did they teach you that at school?” He responds yes, to which she pushes back, saying: “That it is not true.” The boy insists it is true.
In a story on controversy over Lavrov’s statement, the Intercept wrote:
“As his mother, a TikTok influencer who studied acting at art school, films herself reacting theatrically, the boy reasons that Jesus must be bisexual ‘because he loves everyone in the world’ and nonbinary ‘because he wears a dress and he’s a man’.”
As some publications zeroed in on the TikTok video, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova tried damage control on her personal Facebook page.
“In fact, the information in the [Lavrov] article was not based on the ‘Tik-Tok video,’ but on publications in the Western media,” Zakharova wrote.
“Take an example: the Christian news portal Christian Today. Its editorial office is located in London, with a branch in New York. Monthly reach – 3 million unique visitors. Christian Today featured a play by the Scottish Teachers Union that portrays Jesus as a transgender person.”
Problem is, that doesn’t back up Lavrov.
True, the Education Institute of Scotland, a major teachers’ union, was planning a Pride month event to feature scenes from a play in which Jesus was reimagined as a present day trans woman. But this involved the activities of a teachers’ union, not the content of any school curriculum.
The play, titled “The Gospel of Jesus, Queen of Heaven,” faced protests from religious groups when it debuted in 2009. Its writer and sole performer, Jo Clifford, identifies as a practicing Christian and told the BBC she had no intention of mocking or offending Christian churches.