Dancing to the gods beat: Madonna poses as mystic

madonna_vogueOhmygod, Madonna is on tour again (Or is it Ohmigod or Ohmagod? Google isn’t sure) and the pop press is treating it like the 12th coming.

I was reading the massive New York Times feature reviewing the first show on the left coast when several questions hit me at the same time.

* Have we really reached the point where we need to send trained religion writers to cover Madonna shows?

* If a teen-ager wore a T-shirt from this show at her public school, would it violate the separation of church and state?

* What does Dr. James Dobson think of the fact that one of Madonna’s jobs right now is writing books for children? Turn, turn, turn.

* I realize that Madonna is a major artist, so to speak. But can anyone imagine anyone else getting away with this kind of religious content in a show without being attacked for it? Imagine if POD went this far with Christian content.

* How can anyone on the cultural right continue to believe that they are caught up in a debate with secularism?

I gave up trying to count the religious references in the New York Times review. It starts slow, on the gods angle, but then gets rolling. Here is the first wave:

The night began with an ominous recitation from the Book of Revelation, and then Madonna emerged in a sparkly bustier for “Vogue,” a tribute to New York night life that now sounds more like the soundtrack to an instructional Pilates video. “Strike a pose,” Madonna sang, and then she did, supporting herself on her forearms while her booted and stockinged feet kicked the sky.

Madonna’s old infatuation with decadence has largely given way to an obsession with physical and mental health: her Web site, Madonna.com, reports that she requires “25 cases of kabbalah water provided backstage nightly,” and she paid cheerful but earnest tribute to her new favorite spiritual beliefs throughout the show: near the end she sang “Papa Don’t Preach” while wearing a T-shirt that read “Kabbalists Do It Better.”

There was post-disco gospel music, kabbalah, mini-burkas, more kabbalah and a dancing Catholic Cardinal.
Anyone else want to try to count them all? How many doses of religious language or symbolism do you see in here?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Molly Douthett

    And there’s something wrong with this?

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