Christian groups in the Philippines planned to protest Lady Gaga’s performances there Monday and Tuesday, just after Muslim protests have cast doubt whether she will be allowed to perform in Indonesia.
“This protest is not against Lady Gaga as a person but on her music and on how she declares distorted views about the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Reuben Abante, bishop of Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church and secretary-general of Biblemode Youth, which is leading the protests…
Of particular offense to the group is the pop star’s song, “Judas,” with lyrics like, “Whoa whoa I’m in love with Juda-as, Jud-as,” “Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to I cling to…”
When asked if Lady Gaga’s concerts could contravene Philippine laws, Loretta Ann P. Rosales, chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights, replied in an email, “The Philippines is proud of the fact that we do indeed have one of the best Bill of Rights in our Constitution that has the widest latitude as all other Constitutional democracies in protecting freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of religion.”
“I have heard raves over her concert by Filipinos who have watched her,” she added. “Maybe I shall have a chance to enjoy her concert too one day…”
For Lady Gaga, the protests in the Philippines are the latest in her problematic Asian tour. Her provocative lyrics and risqué costumes have prompted conservative Muslims in Indonesia to call for the cancellation of her upcoming concert in Jakarta.
As of Monday, her Indonesian promoter, Big Daddy Entertainment, was still trying to secure a permit, and the June 3 event was still on, according to its website.
When she opened her tour in Seoul, South Korea, last month, it was to concertgoers aged 18 and above after the Korea Media Rating Board banned the show for minors, even with an accompanying parent or guardian.
The world is a patchwork of beliefs and histories. It’s always a shame when a cultural expression is harassed by one or another ideology – or religion – that doesn’t believe in free expression. When the focus is simply a pop singer like Lady Gaga who is accepted by most young people as someone who believes in advancing freedom – it points out the hypocrisy, the limits that chain one or another True Believer into a sarcophagus of fear. Even the stodginess of some old cultures is hard to justify.