Let Lady Gaga have Judas

Stephen P. Hale

Jude 23
May 6, 2011

If you worship Judas you are on a highway to hell. He is the Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness, the Anarchist, the Antichrist. Whether people comprehend it or not, that's what all the fuss is about.

May 6, 2011

What a shame!! Don't you have a better issue to real with than Lady gaga's deeds or thoughts? It's painful to read a theologian making a comparisson between Gaga and Jesus. If you are serious about what's the right and only way to access God read the Bible and follow instructions. Someone may be surprised to find out that Christ is the only way

May 6, 2011

Lady Gaga is a lewd, lascivious, gender-bending, hyper-sexualized, in-your-face propagandist for hedonism. She is extravagant, craving our attention and adulation. She loves controversy, loves being perceived as offensive and her focus is to empower (convert) teenage girls. Riding a motorcycle with Jesus, a crown of thorns on his head, and lady Gaga with her Tongue in Jesus ear. Jesus and Judas locked in a passionate gay kiss. Gee, why would Christians be so upset? I have to watch this in my gym as I work out. According to Hale, I and any other Christians who are offended are Pharisees. In fact he brings Serrano’s artwork, Piss Christ, into the conversation to...er,...piss us off and reveal our narrow mindedness. Because “we don’t own God, God owns us”? I’m glad there are theologians to straighten us out. Bob Dylan constantly appropriated Biblical language and iconography before his conversion experience and yet no one complained. Wonder what the difference was?

Todd Hertz
May 6, 2011

Great perspective, Stephen. I am always glad when Christians are able to get past the culture wars and see art as art. I actually love some of the artistic choices in this video and am really attracted to this stanza: "I wanna love you / But something's pulling me away from you / Jesus is my virtue / And Judas is the demon I cling to."

Daniel Kirk
May 6, 2011

Great write-up, Stephen. Well done.

May 6, 2011

@26a7e9742dbc2a2a8cc5c7e8434ab074:disqus Sure she's dancing around half-naked, but really as far as the imagery and lyrics go, she's actually reinforcing Christian ideas by saying that she shouldn't be (and wishes she weren't) in love with someone like Judas. Also, I hardly call a reverent peck on each cheek a "passionate gay kiss."

You think Lady Gaga revels on being perceived as offensive. I think you relish being offended.

May 6, 2011

What is it with the culture wars comment? Anyone who has a problem with Gaga’s video is a Philistine who can’t see art as art? I've spent my whole life in art. My College degree is in art, I have been a painter for most of my life exhibiting and selling work and in business life am an art director. Isn’t it entirely possible that some art might be patently offensive and hateful? It would be offensive to put Michele Obama’s photo in a jar of urine and exhibit it, it would be offensive to put Muhammad’s picture in a jar of urine and exhibit it. Would you defend the right of Lady Gaga to create a widely broadcast video of her riding half naked with her tongue in Muhammad's ear? In music, the difficulty to discriminate pitch is called have a tin ear or being tone deaf. Gaga is hardly an artist, she is a multi-millionaire huckster who gets rich by being outrageous and now has millions of 13 year old girls who don’t get the finer points of “art” or theology crooning, “I’m in love with Judas, Judas, Judas”. Thanks Gaga.

Brianna Kocka
May 6, 2011

Stephen, I think this is a great blog post. While some may not see the validity in posting about Lady Gaga, I believe that those of us who hold a predominately Christian worldview need to better understand the cultural climate we are living in; this is a great place to start.

I have started to think that it is wildly important for those who are followers of Jesus to understand that they do not hold the 'rights' as it were, to Jesus. Meister Eckhart said it well: "God, rid me of God." I believe that we as Jesus followers must also say, "Jesus, rid me of the little jesus-idols I make of you," meaning that we must move beyond the pharisaic legalism and objective fact that claims to know everything there is to know about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Scripture and theology. These things are of great value, but our epistemologies of such concepts are merely what come in the aftermath of experiencing God. Thus, non-Christ-follower and Christ-follower alike, we do not have the right to judge someone who chooses to use Biblical imagery to convey a point.

I am no big Lady Gaga fan, I do however appreciate her level of shock value. North American's are far too apathetic. So many of us (myself often included) are satisfied to do nothing to change our societies. Gaga evokes a sense—whether positive or negative, I cannot say—of urgency to do something different. To be 'other' and move beyond the status quo and system that keeps us tame and tied up in a bow. In my estimation that is what makes art, well, art.

Of course, this is all coming from a women who also doesn't buy into biblical inerrancy.

Stephen Hale
May 6, 2011

@26a7e9742dbc2a2a8cc5c7e8434ab074:disqus : I went and rewatched the video in case I had not noticed something. The only kiss between Judas and Jesus is when Judas kisses Christ to betray Him. This is straight from the text of Scripture. The fact that you immediately selected the most offensive interpretation of this, even calling two pecks on the cheek "a passionate gay kiss" makes my point beautifully. ;-)

People automatically jump to the worst interpretation of her, when truthfully there's a lot to celebrate here. Not everything, but there's a lot.

As for Piss Christ: Serrano said back in '87 when the painting was debuted that he was surprised by the backlash against it. He made the picture to show how Jesus is treated in modern America.

I hear about two dozen sermons a year making the same point, and I think it's awfully hard to be offended by the message that Jesus needs more respect.

My thoughts.


May 6, 2011

I'm not one to judge but i do feel some kind of way that she is making a mockery out of our lord and savior Jesus Christ because the one guy that is in her video is wearing a crown with thorns in it like Jesus did when they crucified him to the cross to save people like all of us as a whole...Another thing I feel like she is mocking Jesus mother Mary with the way that she is wearing the nuns covering on her hand and they they sing about judas.. it is kind of conflicting the whole perspective about what message she is sending out to the world an especially the younger generation in this new age era in God's grace amen.

May 6, 2011

Is that really what you think this song is about, or are you just offended at any non-literal use of religion in a pop song? I wasn't aware that any cult actually worshiped Judas, and even if they do that isn't the message here.

While the chorus does literally say "I'm in love with Judas" there is a lot more to this song, and it is clear that the 'Judas' figure symbolizes an unhealthy relationship that she regrets. I agree with
's choice of thought-provoking lyrics,"I wanna love you / But something's pulling me away from you / Jesus is my virtue / And Judas is the demon I cling to." Like a lot of music, a careful reading of the lyrics can yield many interpretations. By just listening to the most shocking or prominent phrases, you can end up with a totally different meaning than is actually intended.

May 6, 2011

With or without tongue, that close-whispering-Devil imagery is not new. Its most blatant use was back in July 2007 with Annie Leibowitz's series of covers for Vanity Fair, featuring Bono and Barack Obama.This word-in-your-ear pose harks back to the central scene in a Renaissance artwork, Luca Signorelli's fresco The Deeds of the Antichrist. The Beatles, in Hey Jude (Hey Judas), gave that same image a nod when they sang, "The movement you need is on your shoulder."(Earlier on this thread I used the tag Jude 23. Unwise perhaps. Nevertheless, Jude (not Judas) 23 was the Bible verse which immediately sprang to mind: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.)

May 8, 2011

I'm not offended, I'm excited -- but not by Lady Gaga. As each day passes and this world gets more vile, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ gets that much closer.

May 8, 2011

I think it's great to point out that: "
MacCallum played a clip of the song in her interview, but then admitted she had no idea what it meant." Do we understand what Gaga is saying with this song, in this video? If not, I think there are a number of reasons (religious affection, sensitivity to vulgarity, inexperience with avant garde art, beliefs about morality of nonbelievers...) it will be easy to take offence and miss the good in this.

Speaking of taking offence, I'm surprised there haven't been more comments on these lyrics from the song:

In the most biblical sense
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offenced
Or wear ear condom next time

She knows people take offence at her lyrics. She has said herself that this song is "a cultural statement. It's a metaphor. It's not meant to be a biblical lesson" (http://www.mtv.co.uk/artists/l.... Her own statements help clarify how the song is meant to be interpreted. This reminds me of an important principle of biblical hermeneutics: let the text interpret the text. I think if we are willing to engage with Gaga's music, then we can find meaningful ideas in what she's presented.

Josh Benton
May 8, 2011

After seeing the video, I scratched my head wondering 1) why were people so upset by it and 2) what in the world was going on in the video, it didn't make sense at all. Lady Gaga is known for pushing the envelope and trying to needle people and push their buttons. Was she using religious themes as a way to convey a message? yes. Were they overtly Christian themes and images? Yes. But to call those who object to it Pharisees is going a bit too far.

There is no gospel in her message. To call those who object Pharisees merely because they object to the imagery being used isn't balanced nor respectful of their views. Furthermore, the reason why Jesus blasted Pharisees was because they were stiff necked, refused to hear the good news of the Gospel and follow Christ. She is not calling people to the kingdom of God, she's singing about a bad romance (couldn't help it). Just as she is entitled to her free speech, so are those who object to her song and music video. And anyway, to call them Pharisees, doesn't that place you in the same category as they?

May 8, 2011

"Thus, non-Christ-follower and Christ-follower alike, we do not have the right to judge someone who chooses to use Biblical imagery to convey a point." Umm, excuse me? Matthew 7:6 " Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."
By giving Lady Gaga, or anyone else for that matter, carte blance to use biblical imagery in whatever manner they chose, we give them free license to profane the sacred. Thereby trampling us under their feet and tearing us to pieces. Sin is still sin, and when we loose our willingness to declare tthat, to say that some things are simply unacceptable, we become just like everyone else, Christ was just another good man done wrong and the Cross was just another hunk of wood.

Autum Rose
May 9, 2011

Is she really trying to say that this video has nothing to do with the bible because all her key points in the the song lyrics and video she is all over the bible, I have one thing to say to this She will pay for her mistakes when she sees our God! here is a link to an article that i found this morning similar to this one but more in depth about this video....http://bit.ly/k84o44

May 9, 2011

It's helpful to ask "what's the question?"

1. Why are religious people offended by her?
2. Should Christians be offended?
3. Should Christians try to enforce IP rights on Christian imagery or on God himself?
4. Is it good art? How do we evaluate art?
5. Does Lady Gaga have a nose for getting attention?
6. Is it good music?
7. Does this give us an insight into Gaga's religious worldview?

And we can go on. Evaluation requires a metric through which to evaluate.

I think the article deals with 1-3. Comments are getting into other areas.

I see it more as the perpetual need of youth culture to appropriate a lot of stuff they want to figure out and make their own and so they're exploring it. That's a necessary stage in the process of assimilation. Sometimes dealing with it in a clumsy way is better than not dealing with it at all. pvk

May 11, 2011

Hale says, ". . . the video beautifully narrates what can only be called a conversion experience . . ."

Hale's article is full of Christ-hating, ecumenicism. It is this kind of worldly tolerance that will lead many people who THINK they are Christians into apostasy and will help keep unbelievers in the dark.

The whole song is about NOT having victory over sin. The last scene in the video implies she chose Judas over Jesus. Am I wrong in saying that rather than witnessing a 'conversion experience,' we all are to come to the understanding that choosing Judas over Jesus is okay, and instead of stoning her for it we should celebrate her choice?

Her choice of using the imagery of being stoned at the end by those evil Jesus followers is just an artsy over-the-top swipe at true Christ-followers. Hale's implication is that they are narrow-minded haters who would dare suggest that Jesus is the only path to heaven. Hale calls it "pharisaism in the moral fiction."

To call this video Western art is like telling viewers that Judas is an option for salvation. In this article Hale actually does both. Shame on you "Think Christian" for posting this, and the Christian university setting is not the place for Hale's skewed theology.

Romans 1:18-32

May 11, 2011

There is a reason we call it BIBLICAL hermeneutics. To "engage with Gaga's music" is where anyone remotely interested anything biblical goes wrong.

May 11, 2011

Great article.

Brooklyn Cravens
May 11, 2011

I find Gaga's use of imagery to be offensive and morally backwards in many of her songs, but this song Judas is obviously used to show something not religious or political as in her other works.

What this post and some people's comments below show is a lack of contextual understanding (for MacCallum and Donahue, not you, Stephen). And when we reject context -- which has happened in our society that no longer takes the time to read -- meaning becomes quite relative. No matter how wrong or stupid some people are with their interpretations, it all becomes relative. Context is objectivity in most cases.

What a great post here. It's sad to see the Pharisaic cannon backfire on Christians at times.

May 11, 2011

The text is able to interpret the text because there is a consistent and coherent message to discern throughout the whole of the account. Gaga's message is consistent and coherent, so the hermeneutic principle applies.

May 11, 2011

RT @cc44b7b2719e2d0d89f0643c26623b80:disqus "

Sure she's dancing around half-naked, but really as far as the imagery and lyrics go, she's actually reinforcing Christian ideas by saying that she shouldn't be (and wishes she weren't) in love with someone like Judas."

Yes! Precisely right.

May 12, 2011

Can we stop calling Christian brothers with whom we disagree Pharisees? Whether Lady Gaga appropriates Christian images for art (She's an artist now?) or for secular non-religious love songs, it is still offensive to see Jesus on a motorcycle wearing a crown of thorns and Mary Magdalene on his back half nude with her tongue in his ear. Simple. It is OK to be offended. Not calling for banning, anything else, just grieved. And I hate the fact that little girls across America are singing "I'm in love with Judas". Am I a Pharisee for thinking this way? I am not holier than anyone, Jesus forgave me a huge load of sin that I think is probably larger than Lady Gaga's. Sippolito is like the little boy watching the parade saying...but...but...the emperor has no clothes. Amen.

July 30, 2011

I don't think that's what Stephen want to point out in this article. Please, before getting angry, reread the article and find out what the author truly want to say; otherwise, you only make yourself look foolish.

February 7, 2017

Jesus allowed the prostitute to pour an entire jar of scented perfume on his feet, as she washed his feet with her tears, and then dried them off with her hair.

Those criticizing Lady Gaga are the same hypocrites that Jesus soundly condemned again and again!

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