The Passion of Gaga

She had all the makings of a one-hit-wonder. Exotic flare, dance club style, and a larger-than-life ego have launched her into stardom. In record speed, she solidified her identity as the leading lady of pop culture by attracting millions of fans who memorize her lyrics, emulate her style, and imbibe her passion.

Lady Gaga is not just a stage name; it’s an alter ego, a tool the 25-year-old uses as she masters the art of fame. While she claims music is her first passion and eccentric style her vehicle for expression, consistency in playing the part enables her to continuously shock the world.

The loyalty of her fan base makes Lady Gaga’s reign unlike any other. She refers to them as “Little Monsters.” In return they call her “Mother Monster.” It’s a mutually beneficial relationship because millions of people—who vary in age, gender, nationality, socio-economic standing, and sexual orientation—cling to her words and yearn for her presence, as she responds by praising them for their individuality and exhorts them to unleash the superstar within.

“Tonight I want you to let go of all of your insecurities,” says Lady Gaga, offering redemption to her devotees from middle school heartbreaks, confusion about self-identity, and mid-life crises. “I want you to reject anyone or anything that ever made you feel that you don’t belong. Free yourself of these things tonight!” As she imparts these words and soothes her Little Monsters with song, they claim freedom from angst and awkwardness. Like a nursing mother, she promises them solace.

Such a close relationship with fans has never been seen before. Even Madonna’s followers lacked the identification with their pop-star hero that Lady Gaga has secured in a fraction of the time.

The Art of Fame

How did this modern-day heroine reach this place? Like many celebrities, it began with a childhood dream and dedicated parents. Stefani Germanotta grew up in an affluent area of New York, attended Catholic schools, and began studying music and dance when she was 4.

Today, she is a classically trained pianist with a powerful voice. But, according to Lady Gaga, this isn’t the only art form she has studied. In an interview with Anderson Cooper she offered this insight: “One of my greatest artworks is the art of fame. I’m a master of the art of fame.”

This is evident in her similarity to pop-icon Madonna, whose notoriety was largely due to her ability to reinvent herself. However, Madonna did this with different fashion trends every few years or so; Lady Gaga changes her appearance on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, Madonna pushed the envelope in many regards, especially in terms of sex, helping make it “acceptable” and even normal for young women to engage in premarital intercourse. Lady Gaga takes this one step further; she not only flaunts her own bedroom activity, but one of her public platforms is homosexuality.

In a recent number-one hit, “Born this Way,” Lady Gaga sings, “It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H.I.M.” The song emphasizes the need to love oneself at all cost. She promotes self-love despite nationality and disability, but most of all, with reference to sexual orientation.

The basic argument runs this way: “I’m beautiful, ‘Cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track, I was born this way.” The song has a catchy beat that masks its ideological edge, but the real shock value is in the music video. The pop diva splits her physical appearance in two; half of her is dressed like a woman, the other half, a man.

This is the Lady Gaga the world has come to expect. This, apparently, is how she has mastered the art of fame.

Who Are Her Fans?

It’s also why her fans adore her. One of Lady Gaga’s reasons for her behavior is “vicarious eccentricity”: if she is weird, it takes pressure off of others who are seen as weird. She attracts the alienated. This is why social outsiders, in-the-closet college students, and underappreciated housewives all gravitate to her.

It’s also fascinating to see how Lady Gaga appeals to society at large. She sold 1.1 million records in the first week of album sales in May. Such an accomplishment bears testimony to the sweeping scope of this “fame-monster.” She speaks to virtually everyone with her message of love and understanding. “We are all born superstars,” she exclaims. But if her fans truly believed and adopted this doctrine as their own, would one of her young fans recently commit suicide because of cyber bullying?

Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old from Buffalo, New York, took his own life this September. His last words were sent in a tweet to his idol. He wrote, “Goodbye, Mother Monster. Thank you for all you’ve done. Paws up forever.” Jamey had been mercilessly taunted on account of his homosexuality. Unfortunately, his heroine and her promise of deliverance couldn’t save the sorrow that plagued the young boy. He thanked her anyway.

Will the Real Deity Please Stand?

Can someone like Jamey Rodemeyer, whose life is ridden with rejection, be redeemed from self-hatred? Why didn’t Jamey’s inner-superstar emerge to save him as Lady Gaga had promised? Jamey needed a Savior who loved him to the point of death, even death on a cross.

A parody of so great a salvation took place at MTV’s 2009 Video Music Awards. Lady Gaga ended her performance by being raised above the stage, drenched in blood. Her body hung there like an icon who had been murdered, dying in the midst of those who both loved her and scorned her. When asked about this she explained, “Everyone wants to see the decay of a superstar.”

This is where Lady Gaga’s philosophy gets seriously twisted, even damning. In proclaiming the message of redemption by inner illumination, she also promotes death as a spectacle. In this vein, she exploits Christian themes of redemption, only to mock and denigrate them as meaningless. For those who have eyes to see, this messiah complex is a common thread to much of her work. Its expression is profuse and explicit, including her recent song “Judas,” in which Gaga sings about her ongoing love for Jesus’ betrayer.

Lady Gaga, a mother to her fans, claims that she loves her Little Monsters. While exhorting them to break the shackles of self-imposed weakness, she performs in the foreground of the cross. When viewers try to peek around her theatrics to behold the man with outstretched arms wearing thorns upon his head, she reclaims their attention with provocative display of eroticism. “Keep your eyes on me all you who are rejected, ridiculed, and out of place in society,” she cries. “I am your Mother.”

But that Man will not be silenced. His love is too broad to be concealed. His redemption isn’t a performance. It was a real cross, with real nails, in real time. Truly God and truly man, he died a physical death for actual sin resulting in genuine redemption. This one Savior, truly rose from the grave and really lives. Therefore, his promise is unyielding: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). He is the Savior of the world; his name is Jesus.

  • Stephen Charles L.Wen Thanabalan

    Brilliant article, Chris!! Really glad I came across it whilst watching Dr Carson and Dr Mohler and Pastor Driscoll randomly at a conference talk. Really glad to come by…a Fantastic read, but more importantly, very important message for many swept up in pop culture, as at times the ability to discern material is watered thin by either narrow casting or overlooking, or horror of horrors, getting “used” to the artists like Lady Gaga and failing to note the very ostensibly childish or masked imagery involved, and dismiss it as mere cultural confetti. I like how you brought it back to the one truth that never ever will change – Jesus Christ on the Cross was not fiction or fantasy, it was real time, and it was real!

    This is the one truth that never changes and it is interesting how so many still bother to sell false idols and connect their imagery to it or bother to make reference to it either to insult or even just flashpan it as mock culture- it makes no sense how much the Cross is satirized and blasphemed, in fact, it is that very fact, that almost makes me believe that that alone should compel people to see Christianity is unlike anything else because of its draw, or rather, because its draw for us to mock or satirize it on instinct is so raw and voracious!

    I mean I find it hard to believe I’m saying this, but Lady Gaga’s persona is a marketing and publicity prostitution style scandal in and of itself, Pied Piper eat your public relations heart out- yet, she speaks in almost completely religious terms – thus proving that the very commercial secular system that prides itself on markedly breaking from “religion” and promoting free love and “oneness/unity” as well as atheism, tends to crumble onto its own hypocrisy- I mean, self love and ‘one-ness’ and self derived pleasure of hedonistic idealism and escapism (no matter how trashy) is sold as fun, and it is, but in and of itself is a RELIGION of the highest order. I think your article really shows that- especially with the imagery of the “little monsters” quaking at ‘mother’s words’. Creepy to say the least hahah? But that is not the worst bit, the worst is that that kind of devotion is not the actual meat of the religion, it is the deception involved from the other end, through agenda setting and hidden iconography that makes it that much more clandestine and ridiculously devious in a twisted, PR ‘trinket of advertising fodder’ kind of neon saccharine kind of way. Now, that, to me, That is the true deception- to make you believe, to make fans believe, that they are in control and that they are the centre of their destiny- where the self love and hatred collide in a kaleidoscope of self actualisation, and dare i say it, gives them a sense of stiff necked stubborn de rigeur power of sorts- to tell the world to sot off! I mean self love and touchy feely false security of acceptance from rejection and drowning pain with blood and self hurt through self love has been around since the 1950s (Elvis) and grew through Incense and peppermints at Woodstock, thru Kurt Cobain and the 1990s grunge rebellion. Man, that game, is age old, but here’s the thing: not everyone can spot its modern day manifestations, let alone stay alert to its modern day manifestos. This is one game to which there can be no end, as the self is a bottomless pit of deceptive emotions.

    As the prophet Jeremiah says in the Bible, the heart is deceitful above all else. And that’s the religious diatribe being pedalled here, and not to anyone like you or I Chris, I mean, think of your teenage daughters man! That’s who this gamesmanship is targeted at. Devious. The Church of Gaga is barely underway; its just a cover for the game of deception that is based ostensibly on financial gain (profit margins statistics anyone?), but that is only the half of it, cos, like any soft power movers and shakers, it also has the power of mind control. There, right there, yeah, there then is the true religious monster mantra. That is the real monster of deception that I think truly has sold the little ‘monsters’ one gargantuan counterfeit. And here’s the thing, those who dismiss me for saying this and making it a “big deal” are the same ones who can’t notice that whether Madonna or Gaga, the culture prompter has always been turned on only thing is the awareness volume nob has to dialed not down, but called out, by people like us ‘boring Christians’. WHy? Because our daughters need to know the lies they are being sold that’s why. For all the theatrics, the insecurity driving at the heart is bittersweet; almost feminine, almost pseudo female relational and sisterly. It claims to nurse complicated hurt and emotions, but more importantly, playing on the xylophones of teenage hearts and lonely people (you mentioned under appreciated Moms)…it therefore then follows, and thus, does not surprise me that Gaga’s fruit is emblematic of her own idols- pride, fame and idol worship – borne out of roots of escapism into hedonism and reverse abuse in order to spite back and scorn at the very power factions that cast her out; the irony being that it is all conducted completely religiously from start to finish- just as you brilliantly point out. Like a Church of Gaga. Complete with followers.

    Its almost like a giant worship praise session to “an unknown God” (Acts 16-17)..I’ve seen this Gaga for years, I myself am a huge fan of the dance music and indie dance scene, but hers are on another level of agenda setting. I mean, yeah some say, there’s no difference between satanic imagery and the imagery used by DIsney to sell their cute dolls, but, I think intentionality and intensity do carry ramifications. Gaga- i mean, her concerts and music videos are laced with double meaning and entendre and hidden agendas and iconography…embracing many symbolic notions many young viewers have no clue about. She extols bondage, sado-masochism imagery and incorporates sexual routines into her dances (not like any other stars dont) but there is an intensity here (e.g. enjoying being choked while getting full frontal french kissed whilst hanging from a balcony- it was in one of her videos i saw in a dept store- case in point at how pervasive her content is and how ‘mainstream’ it has become, etc). I do realise I mean, I risk getting the whole of the pyjamahadeen and blogosphere saying that I’m going into a “degrees of moral badness” debate here, so yeah I will leave it at that. I mean, Underoath are a Christian metal band but no one has a go at the imagery do we…contextualisation we call it…but for me, Gaga is different- this is flat out marketing campaign with full media assault coverage to target young minds and twist it- I don’t even necessarily blame Stef per se, i blame the corporate bigwigs and moneymen (as usual its time to lay it on the Johns!) and these are such crafted and deliberately pornographic limit pushers, they are designed to normalise codes of behaviour modification and gender ideals and roles. Its kryptionite to the “religious fundamentalists” but its like dopamine to the idle minds…the sale of a tragic heroine? Not that noble I’m afraid. I simply think “Tragic”, simple as that.

    You know, I kinda…yeah, well, I feel for Stef. She’s been played, and is being played no matter how she thinks she’s got the art of fame down pat. She’s someone’s dollar blaze, plays the flute for someone’s tune, and is on someone’s pie chart, not to mention, on someone’s end of bargaining brokerage. She’s someone’s marketing pawn (probably at the hands of rich record tycoons and evil power brokers- I blame some of those suits and their hidden agendas). Stef Gaga is being pornified, she’s just 25 I feel for her as a younger sister, let alone a daughter, I mean the whole art of the fame game is that you get played as much as you play it. If she sold her soul in the process, what profit is that? Jesus Christ said, “what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”

    Especially considering she would not even have gained the world? Just the hurting and disenfranchised? Again, the beauty there is that in your article, you bring it back to the real Messiah, on that Cross, who truly conquered, Sin, Satan and Death, and who was obedient to His Father, having found Himself in human likeness, he humbed himself (not paraded himself), and was obedient, even to the point of death, even death on a cross. As you said so well, His name is Jesus. Even Lady Gaga can come to know this Jesus if she wanted to, and certainly, I wish Jamey did.

    I thank the Lord Jesus for His life, death, and resurrection and work on the Cross. I thank Jesus that anyone who wants to turn to Him can, and that at anytime that if anyone wants to repent and turn to Him, they always can! And when they turn to Him, He gives true life, and they can and will find a true Saviour, not a pied piper PR monster, but the true saviour who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:26). And I thank the Lord Jesus for the Gospel Coalition and pastors like Dr Carson and Dr Mohler, and Dr Tim Keller, and Pastor Mark Driscoll, going out into culture. I thank the Lord also for you Chris, and for this fantastic article. It needed to be said and it needed to be written.

    In Christ
    Stephen Charles L.Wen Thanabalan

  • Pingback: What I Read Online – 11/08/2011 (p.m.) | Emeth Aletheia()

  • Don Sartain

    Wow, just absolutely fantastic…

  • Pamela

    Chris’s blog post: 1209 words
    Comment #1: 1656 words

    Hmmm…. maybe Stephen should have his own blog? Just wonderin’…

    • Griff

      Did not read!

    • David

      @Pamela, YES! If this were Facebook, I would have “liked” your comment.

      @Stephen Charles L.Wen Thanabalan, really bro..? C’mon…you had to have known that was overkill…

      • KRC

        Stephen Charles L. Wen Thanabalan…..

        5 Names: 1 Man

  • We Are Of Peace, Always.

    The effect Gaga has on her followers is eerily similar to the mind-control technique known as “bliss” that Anna imposed on the Visitors in the hit TV series “V.”

  • clint regen

    Great article and a fascinating read. I would love to forward this to a relative who is gay and a Gaga fan, but i can’t because of the part about Jamie Rodemeyer. I get the point that Gaga’s message is woefully insufficient for someone like Jamie, but there is no word of condemnation about the kind of hate directed at Jamie because of his same-sex attraction. So all the great points get overwhelmed by a perceived insensitivity toward the plight of Jamie and others who are victims of very real hate and bullying.

  • Kayla

    To be transparent, I am a Christian and an admirer of Lady Gaga’s work. (It is possible.) I’ve actually attended a concert and seen Gaga perform. There were moments I saw empowerment in her fans and moments I felt terrified that the Lord would return and find me there. It was quite the experience. I was impressed by her ability to captivate an audience, and how much her message resonates with her fans.

    I think my main issue with Lady Gaga’s theology (if you can call it that) is that she isn’t clear about what she believes. She is always behind a veil, not allowing her fans to truly understand what her personal beliefs other than love. That’s a popular ideal to push, but not a complete one without Jesus to back it up.

    I find your one case of the young boy that committed suicide not convincing. Presenting only one case – and one where he gave his last words to someone comforting him – doesn’t show that she isn’t helping. There are countless people who have been hurting and found comfort in Gaga’s words. Countless people who have forgone suicide and opted to live because of her encouragement.

    I also wanted to briefly talk about her Judas song. I think Gaga challenges the Church in ways we’ve never been challenged. One of the most troublesome stories in the Bible to me is that of Judas. It absolutely breaks my heart to read of his betrayal of Jesus. And every time I read it, I hope that the ending will change and he’ll realize who Jesus really is. But when I look at that story in a broader sense, I think that it so embodies our struggle as humans – to constantly choose sin (Judas) over Jesus. Sure, Gaga presents the idea in a provocative way, going so far as to place the 12 disciples in leather jackets and motorcycles, but weren’t Jesus and the disciples rebels of their day? It’s interesting to think about what they would look like in our modern-day society.

    Do I think Gaga has the right words or message? Mostly not. I do, however, think Gaga is doing more for those hurting than many churches. She’s taking up causes that the Church doesn’t want to talk about – causes that most of America and the world is struggling with and Christians want to ignore. And for that, I can’t fault Lady Gaga. I can only see Lady Gaga’s love for people and raise her the love of Jesus for people.

    • Nate

      it’s also important to remember that it’s not like the church is doing nothing for those who are hurting. in fact, i feel like we throw that kind of rhetoric around as a de facto accusation against the church. When in reality, I feel like most of my relationships and those around me are believers trying to really reach out to those who are hurting. I’m not saying this is always what happens. However, I think Christs’ power in us is greater than we give it credit for.

      The reason we don’t always notice the effects of this reaching out are often because the message of love we bring, though as loving as it could ever be, qualifies people. Especially in this society, people do not want to be qualified. They do not want to be told “no, you cannot have and you should not do”. Yet, with the love of the gospel, there is a real sense that in order to deny yourself and take up your cross you will have to say “no” to yourself.

      Gaga does not do this and as a result has lots of fans. Who doesn’t love someone that says, “endulge, take all that you like! it is all yours! live as you please” however, most of us have seen charlie and the chocolate factory. You saw how it ended for those kids! For those who follow the Gospel of Gaga, the ending is no different.

      Not that I think her music is bad. It’s interesting to listen to for sure. I just don’t think her message is really as loving as you’re trying to make it seem. Is it really so loving if you let a child continually touch a hot stove? Just because the child wants to touch it so badly?

    • KeRc

      You must understand that this “empowerment” is not from Stephanie aka Gaga… the draw and lure that you see and Feel.. is a satanic force.. and he is who lures and draws you to the music.. lucifer was made and musician created.. he was created for that.. it unfortunately was corrupted.

    • Chad

      It’s a fools errand to label Miss Germanotta’s brand of crass sentimentality as love. The word and the concept deserve better.

      • Melody

        I’m confused when did selling something to people become the definition of love? It seems to me that even the most secular definition of love would involve some kind of personal cost to the giver, not personal gain. In what way do her fans benefit? When I watch tv sometimes I’m very entertained by the commercials. They can make me smile and they can make me cry. Does my momentary emotional response mean they are loving me? Telling people to continue in their self-destruction with a beat is not loving.

  • Colton


    I agree that Gaga does a great job of loving her fans. That is very clear. And yes, she challenges the church to love as much as she does, but the difference between the church and Gaga is what kind of help we can provide. Gaga may be doing “good” in the fact she is building self-esteem, but she cannot offer anything that can withstand death. From my understanding, She is encouraging her fans to focus on themselves, to pursue whatever they feel is right. Her intentions may be great, she wants to help her fans, but in the end she is pointing her fans to look to Gaga as their savior, not to Christ.

    In the end, this “help” is only leading people away from Christ. She’s making herself an idol.

    The only lasting help, the only true savior, the only person who can redeem is Christ and Him alone. He can provide all the love, security, self-esteem, and confidence that Gaga can provide and more.

    I don’t say that you cannot like Gaga, but she’s not helping her fans. Only hurting them. Only pointing them away from the True Helper, the True Savior, and the One who doesn’t just love but IS love.

    • justin

      you do realize that self esteem is just another name for pride right. there isnt anything good about anyone of us thats what the fall did. thats why we go out to Jesus not in to self. that part of gaga isnt good either shes just another idol with promises she cant deliver on!!

  • Melody

    and she is getting really rich while doing it

  • Squeezles

    This was a very good read and I’m really grateful a friend shared this. I’m writing a paper on how music and it’s artists affect and influences a society and generation. My main 2 artists that I’m comparing are the band Switchfoot, and Lady Gaga.

    It has been interesting to read about the opinions of not just the author of the article, but even of those who are commenting and I have to admit that I’ve been given new insight and perspective to this issue, many thanks once again.

    I would just like to offer my small, 2 cents worth of thought in relation to what Kayla (comment above) mentioned.

    I agree that Lady Gaga is reaching out and ‘touching’ the lives of many people, the ones that Jesus came to save and love, more so than the churches are doing. No doubt that people have been ‘encouraged’ and ‘empowered’ by her lyrics, songs, and her ideologies. However, let’s not discount the fact that she uses MASSIVE amounts of semiotics that have a direct relation to Biblical values/themes and she spins it very cleverly to give it a new and fresh meaning to the audience. Countless articles have been written about her music videos that speak more that just flashing images and other things in the name of ‘art’. Yes, I would have to agree that some of the articles read perhaps a little too deep into every single detail and thing that she does, but with that many things being picked up, is it not clear that she has a darker meaning to her ‘empowering’ messages?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that also not a way that the Enemy is using to reach out and control this world’s generation of youth? Sugar-coating and making it seem positive. Encouraging. Empowering. Redeeming. It all seems very ‘good’. Lady Gaga mentioned in an interview that she ventures between darkness and light to find herself. I personally believe that if what she was standing for was in all honesty and genuinely, ‘good’, there would be no element of controversial sexual representations, dark symbols and what not.

    In this post-modern age, the Enemy isn’t going to come along and make it obvious. That’d be too easy. Of course, we still have ‘celebrities’ like Marilyn Manson and others parading darkness, but let’s open our eyes to the bigger truth. The truth that this new generation of youth want acceptance. And the Enemy knows that and is more than happy to accept it, and even encourage them to live as they wish. Covering it up with a positive message, it’s a no-brainer that people from all walks of life are drawn to Gaga’s beliefs.

    I admit that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. As a Christian, I believe that as much as we should not accept everything Gaga stands for, it would be unfair to completely disregard everything that is said. ‘Born This Way’, as much as I disagree with it, serves as a reminder, a call to churches and Christians to step up in their love for their neighbours. Cause if they don’t do it, someone else will. Someone who wants to have their souls forever, in the pit of fire down below. Extreme? Probably, but here’s to saving a generation from being led astray.

    As a 19 year old male, I know that I’ve got not much experience in this field and probably have gotten some things I’ve talked about mixed up or wrong, but yeah. Hope I made sense (:

    God bless!

  • Kelly Keith Dunn

    Great article… I have been observing this young woman from afar. I am often shocked at he omni-behavior aimed at “shock and awe” of the public of the world.

    I would like to caution those who are enamored by her – be careful of idolatry…

  • R.

    I met a man last year, a devout Christian, who taught Stefani in high school in New York and shared the gospel with her many times, personally. Pray she’ll remember his words.

  • Lee

    I agree with the theme of your article wholeheartedly; however, one of your comments stuck out from the rest and really bothered me:

    “But if her fans truly believed and adopted this doctrine as their own, would one of her young fans recently commit suicide because of cyber bullying?”

    Forgive me, as my thoughts take the discussion outside the topic of this article, but it seems you’re implying that if Jamie truly believed in Christ and his teachings, he wouldn’t have committed suicide. Thus, those who commit suicide aren’t believers. Just to make it clear, I do not believe that suicide implies that one is a nonbeliever.

    I’d appreciate others thoughts on if I’ve misunderstood the statement or if my logic is flawed.

    • Chris Castaldo

      Thanks, Lee. The death of Jamey Rodemeyer is a terrible tragedy. I am not prepared to take your logical leap… that those who commit suicide are ipso facto outside of Christ. The point of difference between the gospel of Jesus and the message of Gaga is that the former provides eternal, life-changing liberation from despair, while the latter doesn’t. This was the idea that I was trying to communicate, which I didn’t do very well, obviously.

    • Kelly Keith Dunn

      I also echo what Chris has said…

      I would add that there other “reasons” for people who murder themselves. Depression, I was told once by my doctor “depression can be fatal, sometimes depressed people kill themselves.” I also think an alarming aspect is that this young man thought of Lady Gaga prior to ending his life – – that, indeed, is disturbing.

      Obviously suicide is a lose-lose proposition and a complete waste of someone created in God’s image.

  • slprindle

    That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    (John 3:6)

  • Jon

    I appreciate Kayla’s comment, so I won’t write all I was going to.
    I will say that using the suicide of this young man in this way seems to me to be a bit opportunistic. As a pastor, I hope the sins or tragedies of my congregation would not be thrown back in my face as an example of my faulty teaching. In fact, speaking of Judas, would we say that his suicide was a result of Jesus’ faulty teaching? Let’s use the same measuring stick on others as we would want used on ourselves.
    I read a lot of blogs, and try to refrain from being too nit-picky and critical. And as a blogger/teacher myself, I confess to having used illustrations to make a point without considering the implications of them. But I thought it needed to be said that as much as I appreciated some of the points here, I think the mention of the suicide in this way was irresponsible.

    • Chris Castaldo

      Thanks Jay. I wasn’t thinking of the incident in those terms. My point in asking the question about Jamie’s tragedy was to illustrate the vast disconnect between Gaga’s promise of deliverance and the earnest devotion of her followers. Gaga’s message of liberation fails to reach beyond this life, and therefore it deprives her followers of the spiritual resources required to rise above pain and sorrow. Only Jesus can do that. Only the gospel has that quality of power.

      I once had a pastoral colleague who saw a person whom he was counseling commit suicide. I would not for a moment suggest that the congregant’s death was the pastors fault. It is hard to think of a more cruel accusation. But there is a fundamental difference between the ministry of this pastor and that of Lady Gaga. The pastor preached the gospel. Likewise, to your point about the culpability of teachers, there is a categorical difference between the teaching of Jesus (to use your example) and gospel preachers, compared to someone like Lady Gaga.

      If I were to preach a message that was fundamentally different than Jesus crucified, and the consequences of my ministry were destructive, I would deserve to have the outcome thrown in my face. Surely, this is why James writes, ‘Don’t let many of you become teachers.’

      In my humble opinion, the take away ought to be a sober awareness of our responsibility to work out our prophetic call with fidelity, not exoneration of those who preach a false gospel.

      • Jon

        I agree with your assessment of Lady Gaga’s teaching and comparing it to Jesus’ gospel. I just disagree that this boy’s suicide should have been applied as part of your argument. I don’t think it added anything, and may have subtracted, especially for those who may be reading your blog without as much rootedness in the gospel or the Church.

      • Ryan

        Gentlemen, I wanted to recognized the fine etiquette you have shown in this discussion. While disagreeing you have both maintained a level of respect for one another. Well done, and thank you.

        Chris, as I’ve been studying Matthew 9:35-38 this week I have been reading “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” This article moved me as I’ve thought about all those that are ready to find the truth but have settled for the next thing they think may give them hope. But, that hope is so fleeting. May the Lord help us to move with urgency to reach those searching for the true Savior, Jesus!

  • sw

    I think we all should reread 2 Peter 2 to clear up any confusion. Yes, we must pray for her soul but sometimes you have to call an apple an apple.

  • nicky

    I Love Lady Gaga!

    • KeRc

      and thats fine.. you should but also realize what is behind her.. it is satanic and demonic. she is being used as a tool for satan, and you should be praying for here salvation if you love her that much. k
      God bless.

  • david bartosik

    To Kaylas point that Gaga is simply encouraging us to love ourselves is not a positive thing, but rather has dangerous implications that I think someone pointed out (Kayla too said that Gaga’s picture of love is good, ” but not a complete one without Jesus to back it up.”)

    Gaga is an example of egocentric thinking and encourages us to love ourselves above other things…

    It seems to me that the example of the suicide is the perfect example to use.

    Suicide is the climax of self love that we can show to ourselves.

    The thought process could go something like this….”Life sucks, I want out. There is no other way out than killing myself. So out of love (may not be the word choice, but rather an insight into the frame of thinking) for myself to make myself feel better, I don’t know what death will bring, but it will at least get me out of this hell hole of my current circumstances. Let me escape this misery…”

    It reveals the human heart when pursing satisfaction apart from God.

    Love apart from an understanding of Christs love for us is worthless.

    • slprindle

      David, I agree and let’s balance this with the truth that God loved Jamey as much as he loves His only begotten Son. He mourns his death and we should as well.

      Even those who are born again can still wallow in the old man if they never learn how to put off the old and put on the new. It’s by faith, everyday. The new man in Christ is our true identity. Paul calls it walking in the Spirit.

      Gaga appeals to the flesh. Jamey was a tragic example of what works of the flesh end in- death. The good news is that those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh. Praise God there are more examples of Christ’s redemption saving the Jamey’s of the world then of those who meet a similar fate.

  • EstherProject

    Fantastic post.

  • Megan

    The Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” was written about Elvis Presley, a man who, like Jesus, rose from the dead and was spotted by many of his fans after his death. With rare exception, male musicians are far more idolized than females. And yet, when a woman like Madonna or Lady Gaga does come into prominence, she’s roundly excoriated by male religious leaders.

    Come on! Lady Gaga is far from the only artist who’s used religious imagery or made a spectacle out of the death of Christ for personal profit! Try watching Nirvana’s “Heart-shaped Box” video. Or Marilyn Mansfield’s “Personal Jesus.” Or for that matter, Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

    • Josh

      I don’t think her being female has anything to do with it. While most of the other artists you’ve mentioned did in fact use religion in a provocative way, their entire careers weren’t based off of it. The exception is Marilyn Manson. But even he didn’t always promote himself as someone so self-important as L.G. does. And I think anyone that payed attention when he was still big on the scene will know that he got his fair share of attention from religious leaders in his day.

  • Bob

    Hi Chris —

    Thanks so much for writing this. It is one of the best pieces of communication criticism I have ever seen done by a Christian, and it is a powerful rebuke to one of the stranger cultural phenomenons in America. Thank you also for standing by your comments on suicide. Even as it has become more of a common occurrence in the US, it seems that we are more and more unable to talk about it as anything other than an unpreventable tragedy caused by people’s social circumstances. I take your point to mean that Gaga promised her followers that her message would deliver them from any evil by simply believing in themselves and “freeing their minds”, but it hasn’t and doesn’t, as that poor boy’s life shows. Rather, her words only become a justification to pursue any course that pleases the self, which for Jamie was to kill himself. Asking hypothetical questions about whether Jamie would be alive now if he were a Christian is a disturbing adventure in missing the point, which is that if Gaga’s theology of self-love should do anything, it should protect its adherents from self-mutilation, but it has failed and will fail again. It is not that Christians do not struggle with suicide, but that we have a hope that we can rely on that is greater than ourselves and is not a over-produced pop star. Its Jesus Christ, the God-man, the Uncreated and the Eternal, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    The only way out of the heart of darkness is to stare it in the face, and we need to be able to unmask the evil behind a quasi-religious figure like Lady Gaga. While her intentions may not be as sinister as her ultimate effect, it is the nature of the human heart to create idols, and it appears that the cultural forces of media, commercialism and the American social vacuum have propelled her forward as a cultural idol even as she has sought the fame herself. It is for this reason that we should pray for her and for her followers that God’s grace would open minds and deliver from bondage to death and sin.

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  • pete

    Don’t we find it amazing that during the National Emergency test yesterday, I believe, that LGs music shows up in many parts of the nation? Talk about strange phenom!
    Of all people!

  • Ramunas

    I like this article. But I don’t angree that Gaga is responsible for of young boys suicide.

    • Chris Castaldo

      Jamey caused his own death, provoked by taunting, in the larger context of hopelessness. Gaga had a hand in creating that hopeless context, but clearly she wasn’t the direct cause of his suicide.

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  • Kels44

    Thanks for sharing this, and more importantly, thank you for redirecting our attention to the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God!

    Your final words, God willing, will guide many eyes to look away from this corrupt world’s view of self-anything, and have many rely solely on Christ alone for redemption and a peace like no other, found in Him and Him alone.

  • Chris Gates

    Great article. I would be careful with what I said regarding Lady Gaga’s own sexuality. As I understand it she is the leading promoter of celibacy in pop culture today. She claims that she is celibate and tells her fans to be that way also. Just a note of caution. Thanks for the post.

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  • Tom

    If you want to understand Lady Gaga, you need to read the multiple analysis of her music and music videos over at Vigilant Citizen:

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  • Tim Ruffner

    Using the death of a young man as a platform for criticism of Lady Gaga or anyone else is cowardly and in poor taste, and unfortunately a hallmark of organized Christianity. One could argue just as easily that the boy’s faith, whatever it was, couldn’t save him either, and I would bet most religious scholars and those commenting on this blog would find that argument just as distasteful, or else try and couch it in some theory that the boy abandoned Jesus for Gaga. Bunk. In my estimation, anyone whom is a faithful person knows that only two entities know all that contributed to that boy’s death; that boy, and God. As always, the problem with religion is when it is used to baselessly pass judgment on others.

    The author certainly does a good job using sugarcoated compliments of Gaga’s artistry and career to try and lure the reader in before turning the article into a large and baseless attack on her.