Thursday, August 03, 2006

This Week in Blasphemy

A TWIB moment from Madonna -- would it be possible for one person to be more desperate for attention? I remember, back in the 80s, the best description I ever read of Madonna. She's like a little girl who stands in the middle of a room and holds her dress above her head.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."

Religious leaders protest Madonna's glittery concert crucifixion.

Ever controversial pop icon Madonna has drawn the condemnation of religious leaders in Rome just ahead of a weekend concert.

Roman Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders have united to protest an element of her Confessions Tour concert: Madonna wears a fake crown of thorns and is suspended from a massive, mirrored cross, as images of child poverty flash on screens around her.

Madonna had already drawn criticism for the concert segment in the U.S., where her Confessions Tour kicked off in May. Now on the European leg of the tour, the 47-year-old singer is set to perform Sunday at Rome's Olympic Stadium, located near the gates of Vatican City.

Catholic priests in the Italian capital are calling her performance blasphemous.

"It is disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative," Rev. Manfredo Leone told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Being raised on a cross with a crown of thorns like a modern Christ is absurd. Doing it in the cradle of Christianity comes close to blasphemy."

Others have added their voices to the protest.

"I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home," said Mario Scialoja, who heads Italy's Muslim League.

The singer recently won a battle to keep the controversial crucifixion routine in an upcoming TV special based on the concert. The program Live to Tell is scheduled to air on U.S. network NBC in November.

Past protests

Madonna, who was raised Catholic by her Italian-American father, has a reputation for controversial behaviour, including simulating masturbation on stage (for which Toronto police threatened to arrest her in 1990), publishing her explicit 1992 book Sex and for some of her music videos.

Last month, the video for 1989's Like a Prayer topped MTV's list of "videos that broke the rules." Condemned at the time by the Vatican, the video featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing an actor portraying a black saint.

Her videos for Justify My Love and Erotica were blasted for their sexual content, while more recently, What It Feels Like for a Girl was attacked for its violence.

She has also drawn criticism for her latest religious belief, the mystical form of Judaism known as Kabbalah.

Madonna's Confessions Tour concerts also include costumes inspired by bondage gear and the lithe, muscular singer gyrating on stage, on a motorized saddle and on top of a giant disco ball.