Auckland bishop labels Madonna material highly offensive

The Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, has described some of pop-singer Madonna’s performances as ‘highly offensive to Christianity’.

Bishop Dunn’s comments, made to the New Zealand Herald, came ahead of performances by Madonna in Auckland.

“There is no question in my mind that some of Madonna’s material is highly offensive to Christianity and will be found just as offensive to the majority of people of religious faith, as well as many cultural sensitivities,” Bishop Dunn said.

For her Auckland concert, Madonna’s stage will be at huge crucifix that will span the arena, with a heart-shaped “Rebel Heart” logo at the end.

The performances are said to feature a “holy water” segment which would feature dancers dressed as bikini-clad nuns performing on cross-shaped stripper poles.

This segment of her show was dropped from a recent concert in Singapore, after authorities deemed that it breached local guidelines.

Singapore’s Archbishop William Goh said Catholics had a “moral obligation” not to support those who “denigrate and insult religions”.

Bishop Dunn said he concurred with the comments made by his Singapore counterpart, but stopped short of asking his flock not to see Madonna.

He said the archbishop made a valid observation, especially in times of heightened religious sensitivities, that people could not afford to be overly permissive in favour of artistic expression at the expense of respect for one’s religion.

“Here in New Zealand religion is not always taken very seriously, yet in addition to Christianity there are people of many other faiths, all together representing over half our population,” he said.

“In a multi-cultural and multi-faith society like New Zealand, it is imperative that entertainers not presume their own cultural perspective is that of the majority. Often it is not.”

In an interview with Radio Live, Bishop Dunn said there seemed to be greater licence to be offensive to Christians than to other faiths or ethnic groups.

“I’d bet every penny I’ve got that Madonna dare wouldn’t use lyrics as offensive to Islam as she feels free to use with regard to Christianity. That’s just a fact, that people would respond with outrage,” Bishop Dunn said.

The bishop said he didn’t want anything that denigrated Muslims or Maori or any value that people hold dear.

But he confirmed to an interviewer that he was effectively saying that Muslims and Maori seem to be better protected from insult and offense than Christians.

Bishop Dunn said he was calling for good manners and respect.


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