Clergy complain about a club called The Church and a DJ called Jesus
It's fashionable, explains nightclub owner
A row has erupted between a town's churchgoers and a nightclub owner after he opened a venue called The Church which depicts Jesus as a disc jockey.
Church leaders were left disgruntled at the sight of a crucified Jesus silhouetted as a DJ outside the nightclub in Botchergate, Carlisle.
The club's landlord has further enraged believers by suggesting that a giant cross outside the building should not be deemed offensive and that he "could have had all the bar staff in nuns' outfits".
Church leaders in the area labelled nightclub bosses "Insulting and evil" after the popular nightspot was given a makeover last month.
Father Jim Allen, of St Bede's Church in Wigton Road, Carlisle, said: "Usually, the Evil One does things behind closed doors but it seems that he's getting more daring and is no longer hiding."
Landlord Ben Read, 29, described religious iconography as "fashionable" and said if owners had intended to offend people, they could have gone "to serious extremes".
He said: "If the name and cross have offended people I apologise but that was never my intention. I have to say that the cross has gone past being a piece of religious iconography. It's fashionable and it's a trendy thing to wear.
"If we'd wanted to offend people we could have gone to serious extremes. We could have had all the bar staff in nuns' outfits or vicar collars or we could have tried to have weddings done in the place but we respect people's religious beliefs."
The club has been open for five weeks and proved to be a hit with Cumbrian partygoers, who have refused to be put off by the religious-styled business.
Catholic priest Father Michael Docherty, who preaches at both St Margaret Mary's in Upperby and Christ the King Church in Harraby, admitted he was saddened by the nightclub's use of the cross.
Father Michael said: "We need to be sensitive to religious symbolism, particularly in the age in which we now live.
"This image has lots of symbolic value, and real meaning for people. If you look at war graves, you see row upon row of crosses, each representing a human life.
"Using the cross in this way corrupts that meaning. Something that should be a symbol of good and virtue is corrupted for material gain. But it doesn't provoke anger in me, it provokes sadness."
Club owner Ben has offered an open invite to those who had criticised the bar's new image, saying he would personally treat them to a night out at The Church, giving them VIP treatment.
Full Story: Row erupts over 'DJ Jesus' nightclub
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