Lady Gaga: a good Christian? Or a great Christian?

After viewing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” music video (dir. Francis Lawrence) for the first time, I’m not sure of how to precisely describe the experience.  It was artistic, full of imagery, and sexually explicit.

Beyond Gaga’s characteristic “†” and a brief crossing of herself while dancing, my curiosity of how this video was directly related to the “Christianity” part of “Christianity and Popular Culture” was only satisfied when professor Harris informed us that Gaga is a self-proclaimed Christian.

But seriously.  Gaga.  A Christian?  

This Gaga?

 

 

 

Or This Gaga?

When seeing images like these and scantly clad in her music videos, I question how “Christian” she actually is.  American Christian values promote modesty and censorship of sexual content, especially in movies and on television.  I struggle with labelling Gaga a Christian because much of what she produces could be considered soft-core pornography.

In my search of a quote to confirm her Christian-ness, I found Gaga’s thoughts on religion in an interview with Larry King.  (Interview clip)

“I’m very religious, I was raised Catholic, I believe in Jesus, I believe in God, I’m very spiritual, I pray very much. … At the same time, there is no one religion that doesn’t hate or speak against or be prejudice against another racial group or religious group or sexual group.  And for that I think religion is also bogus.  So I suppose you could say I’m a quite religious woman who’s confused about religion.” – Lady Gaga

Never once does she say she’s a Christian.  Her struggle with being religious and hating the bad things religions do, is something that resonates with many people – myself included.  I wonder though, if she’s playing a part.

In the same way, Johnny Cash was a musical legend (which Gaga is in the making), and he embodied being a: rock star, country boy, folk hero, preacher, poet, drug addict, rebel, sinner, and saint?  I thoroughly appreciate what he has to say for himself:

“I’m still a Christian, as I have been all my life,” … “Beyond that I get complicated.”

and,

“I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist who is a Christian.”

In the “Bad Romance” video we see Gaga wanting the love of the world (the music industry and/or fame), struggling when taken, offering herself up, her ‘baptism’ into that world (drinking the vodka), and forced to dance in slavery.  We see her overcome “the man” and literally burn him.

But we also see images of her weeping – a terribly sad and repentant Gaga?

In “Judas” we hear:

Jesus is my virtue/And Judas is the Demon that I cling to

Therefore: Gaga is both fond of and despises religion.  She preaches a gospel of extreme inclusivity.  She, “Dream[s] of and envision[s] a future where we have a more peaceful religion, or a more peaceful world.”

If Gaga purported herself as a Christian – already believing in Jesus and God, promoting peace, and loving others – would she be a good christian? or great?

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7 thoughts on “Lady Gaga: a good Christian? Or a great Christian?

  1. The quality of Gaga’s christianity is possibly a sidenote. What seems more important is that she IS a christian while also a huge pop culture icon.

    As I discussed in my latest post (http://smc305christblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/gays-christ-and-pop-culture.html), christianity and pop culture have changed one another. Popular culture now embraces christianity a lot more often; being a christian isn’t the ultra “lame” thing that is used to be. In turn christianity has accepted popular culture. This new christianity we have with Gaga involves sex and nudity (which have long been staples of popular culture – they sell very well). It’s also more human as the Judas quote illustrates; Jesus can be our virtue while we all accept that, as humans, we’re more like Judas.

    Johnny Cash fits in well here. He is a former pop culture icon who is, as you quoted, “and artist who is a christian”, exemplifying the separation that existed when he was at his peak.

    It seems logical that the more (positive) a presence christianity we find in popular culture, the more (positive) a presence of pop culture we’ll find in christianity.

    While she likely refrained from using the term “christian” in favour of “religious” with Larry King to avoid alienating her religious fans who aren’t christian, it also could very well be the case that Gaga is playing a part. She’s a very clever woman, so even if she’s only pretending to be christian, the act itself just as faithfully reflects the new relationship between christianity and popular culture.

    • Great reply,
      The intersection of Christianity and Pop Culture today is indeed fascinating – as they intertwine closer and closer in so many ways.

      I think, as a Christian, I fear a “new popular Christianity” that involves sex and nudity. Avoiding sexual immorality is easily a tenet of Christianity. The humanity of the ‘new christianity, also diverges, as clinging to Judas (even though he’s more human) is by no means ‘repenting and believing’ to Jesus.

      I suppose I was just looking for more concrete evidence for a claim to be a Christian – her differentiation of Religion and ‘The Church” in the interview was also something she noted that I enjoyed. Certainly, her avoidance of the word ‘christian’ was intentional to not offend others.

      Gaga is indeed a clever woman, I do indeed wonder if she is pretending to be a Christian. I also wonder too, if she is a Christian and is legitimately struggling with a ‘Bad Romance’ (with a lot of things: fame, mostly), and is fully aware of Jesus being her virtue while clinging to Judas on an epic scale for the world to see. An interesting thought at least.

      The title of the post makes an allusion to Stephen Colbert, who often in interviews asks, “George Bush: great president? or greatest?”

  2. Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge fan of christianity. Growing up gay in a small, white town in rural Ontario the Church was always the enemy. But this new Christianity is hopeful.
    I’m an atheist and I’ll always be, but I can’t deny the potentially beautiful thing that is Christianity. At it’s core it’s an agreement to love your neighbours like you love yourself and that can be an amazing thing.
    A Christianity that (via its intersection with popular culture, surely) can evolve to embrace sexuality (and nudity), among other things, is really a step in the right direction. All people have bodies, and all people like sex, and neither need be shameful.
    So kudos to Gaga.

  3. I’m not religious and I really don’t care what Lady Gaga believes. But I find it funny when a supposed catholic like her supports left-wing politics. It’s like being a catholic and a communist at the same time. Those two things just don’t mix very well. Lady Gaga will probably be destroyed like the Kennedy’s. Unless she’s half Jewish. In that case she could be spared. (Btw I’m not saying there is some jewish conspiracy to rule the world or that they had anything to do with the death of J.F.K.)

  4. Even satan believes in Jesus he has known him personally but turned and betrayed him. This woman is not a christian she is what is called a double minded person and sends confusion to others and confusion is from satan.

    • Tia, I wasn’t really sure what to reply to this comment at first. But Sean said something, so I’d like to bring clarity to what you’re saying.

      Yes, it’s true that in James 2:19 it says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
      But I think the words “belief” or “believe” in Christian jargon sometimes are confused with the actual meaning of the words belief or believe. To believe that Jesus existed as a person is certainly something that “Satan believes”, and indeed something that many people believe – indeed, even Lady Gaga.
      I think in the world of Christian jargon there is much confusion with the word “believer” compared with “follower”. Believers in Jesus, or Followers of Jesus? I think there needs to be a more clear distinction.

      Therefore, I don’t think that we can argue against Gaga’s own words of: “I believe in Jesus, I believe in God.”

      However, you can certainly argue that she doesn’t act like a modest and conservative Christian artist, that wouldn’t be a hard argument to make. To say that she is double-minded, in that she says she is a Christian and she acts very promiscuously, yes, I can agree with that from a Christian perspective.

      I would like to have hope for Gaga though. I would like for Christians to pray for her, and to love her as Christ would love her. Because I know that as a Christian, I am also a sinner, and therefore, in many cases a hypocrite. And when I say and do things that aren’t very “Christian”, I suppose that you could call me a double-minded person as well. This concept is much like the apostle Paul’s distinctions between desires of the flesh and desires of the Spirit. See Galatians 5. Or specifically Galatians 5:14-17:

      “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

      I hope that I apologize for my sin, and that I don’t send such confusion to others.

      If the “Bad Romance” video is autobiographical in any way – which I suggest in my post – I hope that she can overcome the world of “fame and sin” that she was (or is) “baptized” into. I hope she can be a very positive and Christ-like influence on the world, that she can be a follower of Christ, not merely a believer. That she can begin to cling to Jesus and have Him as her virtue, as opposed to clinging to Judas. Much in the same way that I strive to cling to Jesus and not to “Judas”/Sin/Satan.

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