There were three very distinct reactions when Madonna wheeled out her giant glittery cross, put on a thorny hat and crucified herself during a concert on her tour earlier this week.
Christian groups got all angry at Madonna for seemingly taking the piss out of Jesus during the show, while the majority of sensible people saw it as a welcome respite – it is, after all, the first Madonna publicity stunt for ages that didn't involve seeing an old lady rolling about the floor with her fanny hanging out. But what did Jesus think of Madonna's stunt?
He's OK with it, apparently, and not mad at Madonna at all. That's according to Madonna, at least.
Madonna is a woman fully in control of her public image. She knows that when she falls off a horse, horsey groups will be outraged. She knows that when she marries a fat mockney who couldn't direct traffic, she'll look more creative and brilliant and more in control, and she knows that when she has a hernia operation, everyone will realise how old she is and feel vaguely repulsed every time she come on TV wearing her gynotard. OK, maybe not that last one.
So of course Madonna knew that by singing a song while being crucified on her tour, all sorts of religious groups would flip their wigs in an explosion of outrage, before turning the other cheek like good Christians. Already, various churchy leaders have described Madonna's stunt as "dangerous," "an abuse," and "offensive". But it's OK, Madonna says, because Jesus has given it his go-ahead:
"I don't think Jesus would be mad at me and the message I'm trying to send. Jesus taught we should love thy neighbour."
Quite what loving thy neighbour has got to do with a middle-aged woman singing a rubbish song on a cross is beyond us, but we haven't really read The Bible in a while. And the message that Madonna was sending probably wasn't what you thought – a kind of "Look at me! I'm still as famous as I used to be, honest! Don't make me get my minge out again!" message, but an appeal to encourage the audience to donate to Aids charities.
Apparently, while Madonna was singing on the cross, images of poverty were shown on giant screens accompanied by some ticking numbers to represent the 12 million African Aids orphans. But the fact that the 'message' needs to be explicitly explained, while Madonna monging about on a giant cross doesn't probably gives some idea of how effective it is.
[story by Stuart Heritage]