Madonna's Confessions Tour stunt
After offending Christians in Africa, the United Kingdom and Europe, Russia and Australia with her Madonna-on-a-cross concert stunt, the rock star is working with NBC to reach the United States with a taping of her performance sometime this fall.
But it will be over objections from the American Family Association, the nation's largest pro-family organization, which has launched a drive to send a million e-mails to the network expressing outrage.
Donald E. Wildmon, the chairman of AFA, also wrote to NBC Chairman Robert Wright, asking him to cancel the scheduled November airing of Madonna's Confessions Tour concert.
"I write to ask you to cancel this program, which makes a mockery of the crucifixion of Christ," Wildmon told Wright.
"Making a mockery of the crucifixion of Christ has been a trademark of Madonna for many years. I am sure you recall that in 1989 she had a video for the hit song 'Like A Prayer.' The video featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna – representing Jesus – freeing a saint from his sexual repression by seducing him.
"This is the same Madonna who once said, 'Crucifixes are sexy because there's a naked man on them,'" Wildmon said.
Kevin Reilly, an executive at NBC, told reporters that the rock star considered the mockery the highlight of her show.
"We (NBC) viewed it and didn't see it as being inappropriate," he said in a report on AFA's website, which also contains a request for Christians to contact the network or their local NBC affiliate.
The National Clergy Council also asked NBC not to broadcast what President Rev. Rob Schenck called an "obnoxious spectacle."
The group represents church leaders of Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions.
"By sponsoring Madonna’s mockery of Christ, NBC will insult the majority of Americans and millions more around the globe. The entertainment elite are so very bothered over America’s image in the Muslim world, but what about in the Christian world, some two billion people? I must wonder if NBC would approve of Madonna’s mocking a major event in the life of Mohammed?”
"NBC should do the responsible, civil thing and retract its permission for this obnoxious spectacle. All of human civilization will benefit from one less spasm of Madonna’s excesses,” Schenck said.
Wildmon also told the network there are millions of Christians who believe the crucifixion of Christ was the supreme act of a God who, because of His love, was willing to endure that for the forgiveness of sins.
Randy Sharp, who directs special projects for AFA, told WND that in America even if people are not Christian, or particularly religious, many still have an abiding regard for the symbol of the cross.
"NBC is putting their local stations in jeopardy. The consumer does have the option of filing a petition to deny, when a station license comes up for renewal," he said.
But he said the airing plans were not a shock.
"NBC has a history of airing content that they know is very indicative of being anti-Christian and Christian-bashing," he said, citing last spring's "The Book of Daniel" and a "Saturday Night Live" program over last Christmas that also made a "mockery" of Christianity.
"We don't see this animosity toward other religions," he said. "They're antagonistic toward people of the Christian faith."
"I think NBC is going to feel the wrath of the righteous right," he said.
The AFA, which considers Hollywood and the entertainment industry part of the reason that crime has increased and moral values have fallen in the United States, has run other campaigns against "Ellen," which later was cancelled, and the Howard Stern Radio Show, which has lost advertisers because of its efforts, the organization said.
A report from Rome when Madonna took her tour there cited a denouncement from the Vatican.
Jewish and Muslim leaders also had no praise for Madonna when she was in Italy.
"I think her idea is in the worst taste, and she'd do better to go home," said Mario Scialoja, the president of the Muslim World League in Italy.
"It's a disrespectful act," said Riccardo Pacifici, of Rome's Jewish community, "and to do it in Rome is even worse."
U.S. Catholic priests earlier said the same thing, and Father Manfredo Leone of Rome's Santa Maria Liberatrice church said it's not only in bad taste and provocative, it "comes close to blasphemy."
In Moscow, Madonna defied the Russian Orthodox Church in putting on her show and when she appeared in Los Angeles one church leader was prompted to ask, "Is Madonna prepared to take on everything else that goes with wearing a crown of thorns?"
The show that is to be televised was recorded earlier this year at Wembley Stadium in London.
Related special offers: