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May 4th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

Prisoners play Jesus and disciples

(CNN) – A cast with an armed robber as Jesus and a convicted murderer as the disciple who betrays him takes the stage in a production of "The Life of Jesus Christ" at the largest-maximum security prison in the United States.

Prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola have been working on the play for more than a year with inmates from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. The play runs through Saturday at the Angola prison.

Bobby Wallace, who has been behind bars for 21 years as part of a 66-year sentence for armed robbery, has the title role, reports CNN affiliate WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge.

"To try and be like Jesus is an awesome task, because none of us are perfect," Wallace told the TV station. "We're all sinful, and if we stay focused, we can be the best people we can possibly be."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Levelle Tolliver, who plays Judas, told WBRZ that he identified with his character because "I was a bad person, I was a thief, I was a liar."

Tolliver, who is serving a life sentence for murder, said no else wanted to play the role but "I wanted to show a different ending, a different outcome of Judas," according to the station.

"Judas begged for mercy, but he didn't believe God forgave him of his sins," Tolliver told WBRZ. "I believe God forgave me, and I'm going to have to show you with my actions."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Manoj

    OOh such a good post. Not for your pain, but the PTSD. I read a lot before and after my pcnmeleat and PTSD was mentioned. I am actually surprised that I found it mentioned but then again I did a LOT of work trying to find or read about other birthmothers' pcnmeleats and experiences so I knew what I was in for . That is a fear that I have for the future, if I have more children. That my experience with my first pregnancy, birth, sort of but not really bonding with my child, is going to happen all over again. I'll either become smothering mommy or a mom who is so afraid to bond with her child that I am cold and distance. Sigh. Yet another wonderful thing to add to the now that I'm a birthmom . check list.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  2. Shadowcandy

    Jesus was an awesome guy. I don't care what religion claims him, it doesn't change the fact that he was awesome.

    May 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Sarah

    Having a play about "The Life of Jesus" is one of the best ways to learn and teach the Word of God. I wish I could come see your play.

    9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Philllipians 2:9-11

    May 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    May 6, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • danielwalldammit

      Molly-gunker Bing-Foddles!

      May 7, 2012 at 4:36 am |
    • Forest Gump

      @danielwalldammit
      Stupid is as stupid posts

      May 7, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  5. HeavenSent

    Jesus was white. This prisoner isn't worthy of playing Him.

    May 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Moon

      ... Jesus was arabic. It was white artisians probably under the instruction of white religious leaders hundreds of years ago who first depicted Jesus as white probably to make catholics/christians feel better about worshipping a jewish man. However this is just supposition based on where Jesus lived. Other than the bibles description of Jesus which was translated from a dead language into another dead language so only educated men (ie priests) could read it there are no other descriptions telling us what color Jesus actually was. But in all probability Jesus was most likely arabic.

      May 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Jesus was a Hebrew and most likely no different in appearance than any other 1st century Jewish man. If Jesus had been a 6' blue eyed, blond, white man there would have been no reason for Judas to have to identify Him with a kiss.

      May 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      Lol, I expect you are used to getting things like this wrong.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Shadowcandy

      Bro.. Jesus was a Jew.. not arabic..

      May 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Research Maven

      You've got to be kidding....go back to sunday school my friend.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  6. Lol

    When you think about it, a prisoner is, on average, a better-educated and more productive member of society than schizo Jesus and his half-wit coward disciples were. And that says much.

    May 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Bootyfunk

    Atheists make up about 8% of the American population but only 0.2% of the prison population.
    However, Christians make up about 80% of the American population AND prison population. About 90% of prisoners are actually Christian when they enter prison, but they lose some to Islamic conversions.

    These statistics show that if you are an atheist, you are much more likely not to commit crimes. Conversely, if you are a Christian, you are much more likely to commit crimes.

    May 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Lol

      would you care to purchase a delicious and healthful bean pie today, my brotha?

      May 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      In prison, believers have a better chance for parole. All convicts are innocent and Christian. Atheists lie all the time, it does not come as a shock that an atheist prison population would "use" religion to increase their chances of release. That is why your"numbers" appear skewed. Most so called atheists have had some religious affiliation in the past and since an atheist has no moral compass there is no reason for them not to lie to improve their life situation.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Inconvenient truth.. Atheists have morals.. you only claim the contrary to booster your own position. You are actually showing lack of a morality in your claim.

      May 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • nope

      @evolveddna
      nope

      May 7, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • WASP

      @inconvenient and nope: humans evolved a moral compass through the millinea. we know what is correct social behavior and what isn't; question is whether or not humans choose to follow it. if atheists have no moral compass then why is it all the extremeist groups and militants in america are religious affliated? none not one claims to be athiest. why is it all the cults like the one in waco, texas amoung others are always religious; if it is we atheists that lack a moral compass. what bootyfunk states is correct, the majority of prisoners and felons are religious. if you walk down the street and identify your street dealers, they are normally wearing chains with a christian cross on them......hmmmm so i guess those guys are pretending to be christian faith so when they go to prison they are more believible; those ingenious atheists always practicing to be convincing of something they totally don't believe. lmfao

      May 7, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Statistics also show that if you are an atheist in America, you are most probably a white male.
      Statistics also show that as an atheist you have a difficult time finding a mate.
      Also, childless (no mate).
      Also, significantly higher rate of suicide.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      @wasp
      If what you claim were true man would be improving in the areas of sin, moral failings and yet the opposite is true, greed ,lust, lying, theft, murder, se xual immorality etc. etc are just as bad if not worse today than they ever were.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Research Maven

      I agree with Rational Liberatarian. Exactly what "study"are you referencing?? Did you know that 85% of the stat's non-researcher individuals provide are incorrect. They are skewed for shock value...

      May 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  8. Henry

    What is truth?

    http://whatistruthhnrast.blogspot.com/2012/05/while-being-questioned-by-pontius.html

    May 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Henry

      Oh just watch this.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&w=640&h=390]

      May 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Henry

      Your problem is that you confuse God with George Carling!

      May 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  9. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things..

    May 5, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • old golfer

      And I suppose you think that religion is??? Hardly.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Christ ? Yes !

      May 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things"

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.~

      May 7, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  10. AGuest9

    Moon over Parma bring my love to me tonight.
    Guide her to East Lake, underneath your silvery light.
    We're goin bowlin,
    so don't lose her in Solon.
    Moon over Parma, tonight.

    May 5, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • AGuest9

      WordPress issue with Reply this AM?

      May 5, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  11. Loose Dollars

    Anyone ever pay attention to the chemtrails from commercial airplanes? Ever ask yourself why there are so many sheeple voting for crooked politicians? DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE. YOU ARE BEING DUPED WITH CHEMICALS. Those trails you see all over the sky from airplanes are chemicals that are being sprayed for MIND CONTROL and to turn people into SHEEPLE. This is how the history books have been REWRITTEN with little to no notice. You are being CHEMICALLY DRUGGED to not notice! You are being COHEARSED by these chemtrails to believe in GOD and the MAYAN CALENDAR. Only a small group of people are not ALTERED chemically by these sprays and that is why there are only a handful of non-believers. The CATHOLIC VATICAN has been in bed with the world government in the OLD WORLD for NEW REFORM. You are being groomed!

    May 5, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Could you please provide proof or peer reviewed references for your claims?

      May 5, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • gager

      This is the kind of thinking that results from failure to wear your aluminum hat protection.

      May 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • jt

      Ummm.....you mean CONTRAILS? Unless you are Steinbeck or some other literary great, poetic liberty comes off contrived.

      May 7, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  12. Mark from Middle River

    Did all of the atheists die in a bus wreck yet?

    May 5, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Did all the theists die of mental retardation yet?

      May 5, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Ellie

      @Rational Libertarian
      That really was kinda weak

      May 8, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 5, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.~!

      May 7, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  14. The Phist

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt7dK62QdLM&w=640&h=390]

    May 5, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Frank Bund

      HOLY christ and all things unholy look at that moon face!!

      May 5, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Please provide proof or peer reviewed references for your claims.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Sorry, wrong thread.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:29 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.