For the very first time, Madonna will perform in Singapore on 28 Feb 2016. Understandably, this is a big deal for her fans, and the music and arts industry. But not everyone is necessarily as excited.
Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour has been labelled as “demonic” and “satanic”, the most controversial piece being “Holy Water”, featuring scantily clad dancers dressed as nuns and Madonna herself pole-dancing on a cross. To meet Media Development Authority’s conditions of approval, this song and segment will not be performed in Singapore, thankfully. However, the exclusion of one song does not change the heart of the matter or what Madonna stands for. And from the title of her album, Rebel Heart, there is no need for any second guessing here.
As in the case of having heard that Adam Lambert would perform at the SG50 New Year’s Countdown Show, Christians have been praying fervently for the authorities to change their minds, or that Madonna will somehow not make it to our sunny shores, that the show will not go on.
Yet, more than just pray and petition the authorities, I hope that church and ministry leaders will do their part to provide clear direction and guidance to their members. To this end, I am encouraged to see a very clear statement from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, Madonna’s Concert: What about it? In this statement, Archbishop William Goh discouraged his members from going to the Madonna concert:
“There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness. Obedience to God and His commandments must come before the arts. As the people of God, we should subscribe to authentic Arts that lead us to God through the appreciation of beauty, harmony, goodness, truth and love, respect, unity and the transcendent; and not support the ‘pseudo arts’ that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography, contamination of the mind of the young, abusive freedom, individualism at the expense of the common good, vulgarity, lies and half-truths.” (emphasis mine)
Whilst this has been done for the Catholic community, it is not quite as straightforward for the Christian community, given the numerous denominations and diversities. A quick check of a few church websites revealed no such statement or position. I can only hope and pray that a stand has not only been taken by leaders but also clearly communicated to their members at worship services, right through to cell groups; and especially to the young adults and youths 18+. [Parents, please take note.]
If this has already been done at your church, that’s wonderful! But if not, and if you concur with what is written here, feel free to share this article to guide and direct others.
If it is agreed that this concert is blasphemous, satanic and demonic, then to be present is to participate in a satanic ritual. Why would any Christian want to have any fellowship in that at all? In plain English, “Don’t have anything to do with this. Don’t be there! Don’t go!” Even so, we cannot presume anything as some will still choose to see this as an expression of art, as some rationalise that yoga is merely a form of exercise. At the end of the day, it is a heart issue, is it not?
Together with fellow ministers who beseech and implore, we know too well that all we can do is present the Truth. That’s our responsibility and we must discharge that faithfully. The final decision, however, rests with the individual. And we must accept that there will be Christians who will consider this too old-fashioned, too narrow-minded, too judgemental, too legalistic. There will be some who will go because their friends are going and they don’t want to appear as prudish or conservative. There will be some who have already booked and paid, and are unwilling to forego their investment, preferring to help defray this S$14 million production by sowing into a satanic venture than to count their tickets as loss for the sake of their testimony.
Whatever the reason or justification, actions will reveal the position of the heart. After all, if after hearing and knowing the Truth, one still persists on rejecting it, there is only one word for such a response: rebellion. These will have absolutely no problem with worshipping in the sanctuary of God on Sunday morning and then worshipping (yes, worship) in a different sanctuary on Sunday night. Or more significantly, could there be some who rallied at Jubilee Day of Prayer now revel at the Madonna concert in the same National Stadium? In that case, Madonna has reached the right audience through her album and tour: Rebel Heart.