Church voices regret over transgender Jesus Sunday school poster

(Photo: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland)

Iceland's national Church has expressed regret after portraying Jesus as transgender in a Sunday school poster. 

The cartoon-style poster shows Jesus with breasts, a beard and make-up, and wearing a dress while leaping in front of a rainbow. 

The message on the front welcomes children to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland's Sunday school. 

It was displayed on the Church's website and Facebook page on September 11, as well as buses around capital city Reykjav√≠k as part of a marketing campaign. 

After a backlash, the Church removed the poster online but it is reportedly still being displayed on buses. 

The Church's media representative Petur Georg Markan, told the Daily Mail that the Church supports diversity and that it was "okay" to depict Jesus as transgender. 

"We're trying to embrace society as it is. We have all sorts of people and we need to train ourselves to talk about Jesus as being 'all sorts' in this context," he said. 

"Especially because it's really important that each and every person see themselves in Jesus and that we don't stagnate too much. That's the essential message. So this is okay. It's okay that Jesus has a beard and breasts." 

The Church has since apologized for the "hurt" caused by the poster.

It said in a statement: "The 2020 Assembly of the National Church regrets that the picture of Jesus in a Sunday school advertisement has hurt people. The goal was to emphasise diversity, not to hurt people or shock them."