BANGKOK, Thailand – A coalition of Christian groups in Thailand on Tuesday demanded that government censors cut the final 15 minutes from "The Da Vinci Code" film.
"If they are going to screen this, we asked that they cut out the conclusion of the movie that Jesus still has heirs alive today," said a group spokesman, Manoch Jangmook, of the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand. "We asked that they cut out about the last 15 minutes of the movie."
After viewing the movie adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel, leaders of the Christian groups on Tuesday asked censor board officials to fix subtitles that are disrespectful to Jesus and to show a message on the screen before and after the movie saying that the content is fictional.
"We are against the screening of this movie in Thailand because the content of this story defames the Christian God Jesus Christ," Manoch said. "If they really must screen this movie, we asked that many parts of the movie that disrespect Jesus Christ be cut."
Manoch said Monday that the church leaders worried the film could "cause misunderstanding among Thai people who don't know about Christianity." More than 90 percent of Thailand's 65 million people are Buddhists, with less than 1 percent Christian.
The censor board has not yet replied to the request, Manoch said.
The movie, scheduled to open in Thai theaters on Thursday, has sparked calls for boycotts and protests in other countries, mainly by Roman Catholic leaders who have criticized the book on which it is based as offensive and a distortion of the faith.
The film has upset believers around the world, with its plot revolving around Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and a conspiracy to cover up their relationship.
"We are against the content of this movie. If Jesus Christ had a child and a wife, then Christianity would be destroyed," said Thongchai Pradabchananurat, of the Thailand Protestant Churches Coordinating Committee.
The Thai church leaders met with police and Culture Ministry officials on Monday and urged them to ban the movie.
Several popular Thai Christian celebrities also attended the news conference, along with leaders of the Church of Christ in Thailand, the Thailand Baptist Churches Convention and the Seven-Day Adventist Churches.