Lady Gaga and the fundamentalist Christian protester
After a two-year break, Lady Gaga resumed her YouTube video diaries on Wednesday entitled GaGavision no.41, drawing much attention to her confrontation with a fundamentalist picketer outside her recent show in Anaheim, California.
While en route to her concert, she noticed a protester holding a sign declaring “Trust in Christ or end in hell”. He also passed out “Get out of hell free” cards, which were apparently a time offer.
Stopping her car directly in front of the man, she rolled down the windows and said, “Hi, I’m Lady Gaga.”
The man’s response was a cold and indifferent “So?”
“I was thinking to myself, you obviously do care a little because you chose my concert,” voiced Gaga in her video.
Handing her the “Get out of hell free” card, the protester told Gaga “that’s going to happen one day darling”, only causing the pop star to respond, “Well they better open up the gate.”
Explaining that she and her fans really believed in God, the man brushed off her comment and said that her “pervert ways don’t quite equate to what God is all about”, referring to what he later identified as “the homo stuff”.
“Don’t you think it’s hurtful,” Gaga started to say, but was interrupted by the man who added, “It’s in a black book, with gold edges, a little ribbon.”
When Gaga tried to defend herself by saying that she attended a Catholic school for 13 years, the man only further insulted her by retorting, “That’s probably most of your problem that you got raised in a screwy religion.”
Driving away, Gaga took note of the thousands of people standing in line for her concert while no one stood behind him, asking the camera, “Who’s going to hell?”
Disturbed by the confrontation, the songwriter back at her studio could not understand why the man was handing out “Get out of hell free” cards in the first place.
“If it was that easy to get out of hell, why don’t we just print up a bunch of these guys?” she expressed. “It just makes me sad that my fans have to see that. But I know it’s just part of what I’m supposed to do.”
Immediately, a message appeared on the screen reading, “If you have revolutionary potential, then you have a moral imperative to make the world a better place.”
Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, whose ministry helps people struggling with homosexuality, has responded to her message.
He said: “It made me think that she has a very high view of herself … I think she’s trying to set herself like a revolutionary figure. That’s a dangerous place for her to be in.
"She’s a natural talent but she’s using that talent for her own benefit and not for the glory of God. I’m really concerned that when she starts taking on that mantle, is that a mantle she really wants to take on? Because it carries with it heavy spiritual consequences.
“I hope that she would see her fans for who they are and not try to bend them towards some overestimated view of who they are and who she is. One day I pray that she would use her gifts for the glory of the Lord and bless her fans and not try to conform them into ‘little monsters’ but point them to a holy Saviour.”
When asked to comment on Gaga’s confrontation with the protester, Thomas revealed a genuine sadness over the entire situation.
“What grieved me the most was the protester’s flippant and angry response towards [Lady Gaga].
"It’s obvious he doesn’t like her and his dislike for her overrode any kind of compassion that might actually lead people to the Lord. His anger overrode the lovingness of the Gospel."
So is Lady Gaga’s 'love all, accept all' mantra – which her new album promotes – more closely related to the core message of the Gospel than that of the hateful protester’s?
“Of course I believe that Lady Gaga has a definition of love and acceptance that is more defined by the world that she was raised in, and not truly biblical,” Thomas clarified.
“Biblical love points to how God defines love. Christianity 101 says we’re all sinners in need of a Saviour. I think that Lady Gaga’s version downplays the need for salvation from sin.”
But that didn’t justify “beating her over the head with truth” and reacting angrily, he said. “Unrighteous anger always breeds more unrighteous anger. And I believe that man was operating in unrighteous anger.”
And that was exactly what resulted when Gaga aired the clip in her YouTube diary, sparring a slew of angry and hateful comments from her fans and her critics alike, who added more nasty retorts.
Some of the comments included: “Even the ‘Get out of hell free’ card wont help him;” “You go Gaga, I see idiots like him all the time, he has to live with himself, hopefully not too long;” “That man shouldn’t be wasting his time preaching to liberated free thinking fans of GaGa’s;” “She could be leading her fans to destruction.”
Even Christians themselves responded by saying they were ashamed of the “stupid people” in their religion. “Gaga is literally so much more like what the not exactly smart Christians should be. She’s loving, kind and doesn’t hate on people for what they are, who they love or anything.”
Not surprised by the outrage and indignation of her fans, Thomas too wished that Gaga’s fans did not have to witness such an event.
“I would hope that her fans would be exposed to a loving witness. I’m all for people who feel they need to be publicly witnessing but there’s one way to do it, which is humbling and righteous – like if people were handing out water to those standing in line and offering to pray for them instead. I’m sad for her fans to watch an angry Christian abuse her like that.
“God is his own person. He’s not someone made in our own image, we’re made in His, and we can point to the truth that we do need salvation from sin but we don’t have to get into flippant arguments holding up signs while protesting on the streets.”
Standing at opposite extremes, Gaga and her protester represented completely different views of what was supposed to be the same God.
Thomas identified two types of Christianity at work - legalistic Christianity versus liberal Christianity. While the former is illustrated by many of the extremist protesters, the latter surmises that all paths lead to God, an attitude Gaga is known to embrace. Both, however, paint a picture of an incomplete God.
Accusing Christian protesters like Fred Phelps of Westboro Church of portraying only half of the message, Thomas explained that the Gospel was based on truth and grace. “Truth that doesn’t show love and mercy is only half-truth.” And vice versa is true as well.
“God does not deal in half-truths. The Gospel cannot be divorced from grace and compassion and love.
“I’m all for telling the truth but if grace, love, and mercy is not a part of the full package then we’re not presenting the Gospel the right way and we’re doing more damage than good,” he shared, echoing what seemed to be the current state of many countries.
“I’m hoping that [Lady Gaga] will put her own version of cultural Christianity [aside] and come into a true and dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. There’s a reason why he went to the cross.”
For pop stars like Lady Gaga and even for protesters like the man pictured in her diary, salvation lies in knowing the true complete Jesus Christ and the redemptive love of the living Gospel.
“He is forgiving, he reconciles, he redeems, he doesn’t compromise his own truth, and instead of condemning people and treating them hatefully he died for them.”
The date of release for the famous pop singer’s second single “Judas” was also announced in the same video – April 19, which also happens to be the start of the Passover.
“Let the cultural baptism begin,” Gaga concludes.