It’s time to ignore them. This Easter season seems to have brought forth its usual (perhaps a bit more than usual) number of attention seekers hoping to use the holy day to piss off Catholics (and Christians in general) and, thereby, promote themselves into the ranks of so-called edgy artists.

But the routine is getting old and starting to appear more pathetic than bold. Hence, The Wrap headlines:

Lady Gaga’s Easter Marketing Plan for ‘Judas’: Tweets, Leaks, Sacrilege

From the article: “Judas,” with its release originally scheduled for the Tuesday of Easter week until the leak accelerated its release by four days, is provocation on a different level.

A love song of sorts to the man who Christians believe betrayed Jesus … sitting at number one on the charts this week… and accompanied by a video in which Lady Gaga plays Mary Magdalene …  Well, it’s all but designed to draw the kind of attention it got from Catholic League president Bill Donohoe (sic), who said (before he’d heard the song or seen the video), “She is trying to rip off Christian idolatry to shore up her talentless, mundane and boring performances.”

Some music critics weren’t much kinder — Caryn Ganz calls it “a noisy, directionless collage of half-finished ideas” — but Lady Gaga’s not selling to the Catholic League, or to music critics.

She’s selling to her 10 million Facebook friends (she was the first living person to hit that milestone), her 9,458,015 Twitter followers, and the YouTube fans who made her the first artist with one billion views.

And for those fans (monsters, she calls them), a little controversy only serves to stir up attention and rally the faithful.

But Lady Gaga’s not the only one with the M.O. of fueling her career with Christian anger.  Hence headlines:

Hollywood & Religion: More Controversy To Come If New Films Anger The Faithful

The trend, if that’s the right word, has understandably aroused the ire of Media Research Center President Brent Bozell who, in noting Showtime’s heavy promotion of its new series The Borgias made this observation:

The spirit of Lady Gaga also came alive in April in “The Borgias,” the new Showtime miniseries that dwells playfully on an adulterous, murderous pope – a Spanish mobster in papal vestments. (It’s what Showtime considers “religious” programming.) There’s no historical doubt that Rodrigo Borgia (who became Pope Alexander VI) was flagrantly immoral, with seven illegitimate children, one of whom he named a cardinal. He was a terrible pope and a medieval Judas – and the perfect vehicle to sully today’s Catholic Church.

By contrast, Showtime had too much reverence for the Kennedy family to accept the miniseries “The Kennedys.” New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley joked “fortunately for Showtime, there don’t seem to be any thin-skinned Borgia descendants with powerful friends who can lobby network executives.”

But, of course, The Kennedys (while focusing on a famous Catholic family) did not become a television hot potato because it might offend Catholics.  The icons being skewered (and protected) were not religious but political.

In any event, it’s become pretty clear that offending Catholics, Christians and believers in general has, as The Wrap headline suggests, become part of the marketing strategy for some in the media — who spin such anger into supposed proof of hipness and a supposedly cutting-edge willingness to push the envelope.  We believers, unfortunately, too often play into the strategy.  There’s genuine wisdom in turning the other cheek. It really is time we stop playing the game and, in fact, change how the game is played. Some thoughts on that tomorrow.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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