Deadpool spoof of Adventist's Jesus painting now subject of LDS discrimination petition

New Deadpool poster resembles LDS-commissioned painting of Jesus Christ (20th Century Fox, LDS Church)

The painting recently spoofed by forthcoming film "Once Upon A Deadpool," commissioned by the LDS Church decades ago, was painted by Seventh-day Adventist painter Joseph Harry Anderson. It is now the subject of a petition that states the poster should be changed "to not mock the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

Anderson, who didn't use his first name since it was shared by all of his brothers, is a famed painter well known for his devout religious Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and his works. He is in the Illustrator's Hall of Fame both for his religious paintings and his works that appeared in American weekly magazines in the 1930s and 1940s in the style many associated with Norman Rockwell. Anderson died in 1996.

The petition opposes the social media poster for the film “Once Upon a Deadpool,” which it says resembles "the sacred picture" painted by Anderson as a commission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It can be viewed at LDS.org.

The petition says:

This is a form a religious discrimination. We ask that the picture be not used or posted in any manor. That they find another poster to represent their movie.

Close to 22,000 had signed the petition at the time of this report.

The Deadpool film is a toned-down version of the franchise's second film, but the first not to have an "R" rating. It will be more family friendly and also has Fred Savage, looking a lot like his character in "The Princess Bride," with Deadpool, instead of his grandfather, reading him a story. It officially hits theaters Wednesday, but a number of theaters, including Utah's Megaplex chain and Cinemark Theaters have evening showings on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen if Utah audiences will embrace the film or if they are alienated by Deadpool-as-Jesus imagery.

Anderson's faith is no secret among LDS faithful as the organization's Church History Museum hosted an Anderson exhibit in 2016 and 2017. The exhibit was celebrated by the Adventist Review, that used many of his paintings as well. It says Anderson converted to the Seventh-day Adventist faith in the 1940s, and never stopped working for the Adventist movement’s periodicals.

The controversy isn't Utah's first brush with the Deadpool franchise.

The state tried to enforce a law with the first Deadpool film, that prohibited full-frontal nudity or simulated sex scenes in films screened at places that serve alcohol. Brewvies in Salt Lake City mounted a legal challenge after it was told selling alcohol during the film was prohibited and it would be fined $25,000.

Ryan Reynolds, the franchise's star and titular character, even tweeted about the legal action.

A judge eventually awarded Brewviews $474,000 in a free-speech lawsuit.

The LDS Church has not commented on the poster.


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