Hundreds of religious protesters prayed, sang and listened to speeches Friday outside the Universal Studios Florida offices in a demonstration against the unreleased film "The Last Temptation of Christ."
The film, scheduled for distribution in September, has provoked religious protest across the country. Of particular concern to critics is a scene in the script in which Jesus dreams of having sex with Mary Magdalene.The peaceful crowd police estimated at 600 people gathered for about an hour in the grass highway median between Universal's temporary offices and the production studio and tourist attraction it is building across the street.
The protest organized by the Citizens for Decency group and local religious broadcaster George Crossley ended when Crossley was refused admission to Universal's office and could not deliver petitions urging Universal to cut the offending scenes or not release the film.
"They said they'd closed Universal Studios for the day," Crossley announced to the cheering throng. "That's all right. If this movie comes out we will, within the law, close the entertainment complex for them."
Universal was not closed for the day, and spokeswomen in the office said all statements were coming from the Los Angeles offices of Universal's parent company, MCA Inc., which has labeled protesters' goals censorship and infringement on free speech.