Anger over female Jesus in new Bella Thorne movie

Paris Jackson as Jesus in "Habit"(Photo: Voltage Pictures)

Thousands of people have signed petitions criticising Bella Thorne's new movie, Habit, which portrays Jesus as female.

Paris Jackson, daughter of the late pop star Michael Jackson, has been cast in the role of Jesus for the movie about a girl who masquerades as a nun while trying to escape from a violent drug deal.

But Christian and conservative groups are angry about the depiction of Jesus as a woman.

Over 130,000 people have signed a petition on CitizenGo calling the movie "disrespectful" and "blasphemous". 

The petition says the indie movie, directed by Janell Shirtcliff and also starring rock singer Gavin Rossdale, should not be released.

"This blasphemous content should not be tolerated," reads the petition, started by the Christian Film and Television Commission.

"For Christians around the world who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, portraying him in this manner is deeply offensive.

"We are bringing public attention to this blasphemous film about Jesus. We need to work hard on dissuading any studio from distributing it."

A separate petition started by the One Million Moms campaign group has been signed by over 66,000 people. 

"This sacrilegious movie Habit mocks Christianity and ridicules people of faith," it reads.

"Elevated Films represents the US rights to the project. Elevated Films has obviously gone too far.

"The company would never, in a million years, produce a film that defamed Muhammad in a similar fashion.

"One Million Moms needs to make sure this film is not released. 1MM needs your help to convince Elevated Films not to release Habit – not now, not ever."