USA: Singer’s religious imagery censored



Singer’s religious imagery censored

Crucifixion scene in a performance by American superstar Madonna is censored from NBC’s airing of the concert on 22 November 2006.

During a passage in Madonna’s ‘Confessions Concert, she ascends a mirrored cross, dressed as Christ and wearing a crown of thorns, and then sings the song ‘Live to Tell’. Photos of impoverished toddlers and statements like “In Africa, 12 million children are orphaned by AIDS” flash before the audience. Madonna then descends, removes the crown of thorns, and prostrates herself.

Religious leaders in the United States say that these actions are insulting, even blasphemous, just like religious groups in Italy, Holland and Russia did when Madonna toured Europe with her show earlier this year and refused to remove her crucifixion scene. 

When the show was about to be aired on NBC in USA, religious leaders there put the tv-network under pressure, saying that they would organize a boycott of one of the concert’s commercial sponsors if the scene appeared. When the American Family Association and the Parents Television Council joined the religious groups in demanding the crucifixion scene censored, NBC agreed and cut it out. Or rater, they didn’t cut it out. They will still show ‘Live to Tell’, but will use different camera angles so that Madonna isn’t seen until she gets off the cross.

NBC also refused to air the Danish cartoons that Muslims objected to earlier in the year.

Other performances using crucifixion scenes such as ‘Godspell’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ have not been similarly criticised.

“I think the arguments issued by authorities are theologically weak, and if religious or media moguls want to present ethical and spiritual justifications for editing the concert, then these need to be better conceived. Otherwise, these leaders metaphorically crucify by censorship,” writes Danielle Tumminio, a fourth-year student at the Yale Divinity School, in a comment in Yale Daily News.

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Latest on Google News:
Search ‘Madonna’ + ‘NBC’

USA Today – 20 October 2006:
‘NBC: Special won’t show Madonna on cross’

Yale Daily News – 14 november 2006:
‘Madonna’s Jesus act raises ruckus’

Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia:
‘Madonna’s controversies’

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